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AC/DC
Albums

  • High Voltage,
  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt
  • Cheap,
  • Let There Be Rock,
  • Powerage,
  • If You Want Blood,
  • You've Got It,
  • Highway To Hell,
  • Back In Black,
  • For Those About To Rock,
  • Flick Of The Switch,
  • Fly On The Wall,
  • Blow Up Your Video,
  • The Razors Edge,
  • Ballbreaker,








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    AC/DC

    Related Artists - Iron Maiden, Metallica, Invasion
    Related Genres - Modern & Classic Rock

    High Voltage 7 ( 1976 )
    It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) / Rock 'n' Roll Singer / The Jack / Live Wire / T.N.T. / Can I Sit Next to You Girl / Little Lover / She's Got Balls / High Voltage

    The first six songs are also the first six songs on 'TNT' with the remaining three tunes taken from the original Australian release of 'High Voltage'. So, not really the bands debut at all, but the first to gain an international release. It proves AC/DC have never really changed at all from when they very first crawled into the studios. The opening tune is as catchy as almost anything they ever did and 'Rock N Roll Singer' is almost as good a song as anything they ever did. With different production you can imagine these two songs opening up any AC/DC album. 'Highway To Hell' or 'Back In Black' could both accomadate songs of such quality. 'The Jack' though isn't half as good as the later live version and also sports different lyrics to that version. It's very blues and links the blues to what AC/DC later became. It's fascinating from a development point of view to compare the two versions of 'The Jack'. Back to the good old days though when AC/DC had a song called "Can I Sit Next To You Girl". So polite these boys! The actual song is a little too much pub rock for my liking, but what are you going to do?The drunken yobbish 'oi, oi' parts in "T.N.T." make me laugh and it's a spectacular song that livens up the album just as it was starting to lose its way a little. A nod to punk? Whatever. It also contains one of the finest vocals Bon gives on this album. He proves himself right away does that boy, oh yes.

    Let's not try to analyse AC/DC, though. I just wanna enjoy this record.... 'watch me explode!'. Following the not without, er, charm 'Can I Sit Next To You Girl' comes another blast of blues based rock with "Little Lover". The vocal here is sneering and 'She's Got Balls' contains the word balls. What more do you want? Oh, ok. A little glam-esque rhythm, riffing guitars, solos..... It's good! The closing title song contains all the swagger and confidence that would later make AC/DC truly famous and this is a good 'debut' record.

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    Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap ( 1976 )
    Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Love At First Feel / Big Balls / Rocker / Problem Child/ There's Gonna Be Some Rockin' / Aint No Fun / Ride On / Squealer

    Originally released in Australia before later being released in Europe, December 17th 1976. The album wasn't released in the US until 1981 after AC/DC had it hit it big with 'Back In Black'. Fans were clamouring for material featuring original AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott, so a reissue program was set underway. Anyroad, lots of lewd and rude lyrics are featured across this album and lots of riffing guitars, of course. A few catchy choruses, a few fantastic solos and it's done. It's pretty good, all told. The title song is stupendously entertaining with its sing-a-long chorus and 'interesting' lyrical sections. Pounding and primitive drums open the second song "Love At First Feel". The title says it all really. The lyrics are so funny though, especially when listened to in the 21st century with political correctness all the rage. No, these lyrics are not politically correct. How could they be, especially when "Big Balls" arrives???! 'I've got big balls, they're such big balls....' and so it continues. You may be saying to yourself, 'how silly and childish...' with your nose raised slightly in the air. Either that, or be thinking to yourself, 'FANTASTIC!'. Or, just enjoy the song and the experience. It's plain the group themselves hardly took this seriously, given the daft vocal performance complete with shouted 'we got big balls' sections. It's entertaining, though. Ah, but of course. You know, music is entertainment. If it suceeds at that, it's doing its job. "Rocker" is taken at a fair old pace with a fantastically exciting guitar solo and superlative Bon Scott vocal ensuing that this is a highlight of the set.

    Side two of the old vinyl version kicks off with "Problem Child". It points the way forward to the later AC/DC style of 'Highway To Hell'. It proves that AC/DC were writing commercially viable rock songs right from the start. "There's Gonna Be Some Rockin" introduces a blues element into the overall sound. It's a nice piece of variety here. "Ride On" continues from this, a slower song, a ballad, pretty much! The closing "Squealer" re-introduces the more familiar AC/DC rock and riffing style, and includes a great funky bass line and those drums. All is well, Bon Scott prowls through the song with power and presence and we come to a close. A hugely satisfying album that may not be quite as powerful as something like the later 'Back In Black' but remains pretty flawless within what it's trying to achieve and present to the listener.

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    Readers Comments

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    around the age of 14 or so, my mates and i started to grow weary with the a.o.r./american glam/cock rock that was the order of the day.it was the natural order of all things great that would draw us towards AC/DC. around the same time, kerrang [i think] featured a review of AC/DC albums to date. after reading this, "sos mc fee" [name changed to protect the guity....] decided that he had in fact, already heard big balls, that it was an uptempto song, and that the lyrics went along the lines of "big balls/walking down the street/big balls/stomping allover your feet".a BIZZARE man and a BIZZARE story, but 101% true, i swear!. deep purple's lady double dealer sounds like the work of tori amos or p.j. harvey compared to squealer, and the title track is delicious, recommended to be served cold. then of course we have ride on, bon's finest hour. in the words of smashie and nicey, "marvellous" 8/10.


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    Let There Be Rock 8 ( 1977, UK pos 17 )
    Go Down / Dog Eat Dog / Let There Be Rock / Bad Boy Boogie / Problem Child / Overdose / Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be / Whole Lotta Rosie

    Eight songs, forty one minutes of raw Rock n Roll, my friends. The band sound tighter here than before and it's clear 'Let There Be Rock' is another step forwards towards the bands peak. Actually, they are pretty much there by now. Right from the opening boogie of 'Go Down' through to the ACDC classic 'Whole Lot Of Rosie', this is a very strong album from the guys. Ah, something to point out. Reviews for 'High Voltage', 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap', 'Highway To Hell', 'Back In Black', 'For Those About To Rock' and 'Stiff Upper Lip' were written a good three or four years before this one and others on this page. Some revisions, rewrites and re-grading has gone on since the original reviews surfaced, way back when. Sometimes three/four years is too long to leave a page unfinished! Anyway, 'Go Down' is so infectious you really feel like you might want to 'go down' whilst you're listening to the song. Moving onto another classic, 'Problem Child' is pretty hard to resist, the lyrics sung with conviction whilst at the same time being very much tongue in cheek. Nifty guitar solo, solid rhythm section. You're there really, aren't you? Hell, yeah! Another two standouts then? Well, why not. Yes, the title track itself is wonderful, speedy riffing guitars, menacing bass lines and then proper show-off guitar solos as Bon Scott goes 'Whoa', enjoying himself. As well he might do, all things considered. 'Whole Lotta Rosie' finally then, before I unfairly cover the other four songs in a couple of sentences? Well, yes. AC/DC isn't about soul-searching, it's pure boogie, pure rock n roll and pure fun. The vocals are perfect, but then we knew that already. A real character Bon Scott, sadly missed of course. 'Whole Lotta Rosie'? One word will do. Perfect.

    Four classics then, how about those other four songs? Well, they are much in the same style and the difference in quality actually isn't that noticeable whilst the record is playing. It's only afterwards, when you try to remember the songs from the album, that you may find trouble picking out the likes of 'Dog Eat Dog' from your memory banks as a fine example of AC/DC at their best. Off the top of your head, you understand? Sat inbetween 'Go Down' and the title track, squeezing in another satisfying guitar solo, it works perfectly well in context. 'Bad Boy Boogie' is a great riff, 'Overdose' the albums weak link leaving just 'Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be', four minutes of prime riffery and prime vocals. Not that bad then? Well, no. Of course not. 'Let There Be Rock' is a regular AC/DC album, almost. A great gift to newcommers of the group, although not quite up with the bands very best long-players. I don't know why, but it's just not an album I pick up and listen to quite as often as 'Highway To Hell' or 'Back In Black'. Still, that makes it very good then, right? Right.

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    Readers Comments

    john, county kildare john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    8.5/10. i love this album. there is something so "pure" about it, which is a fucked up word to use in connection to AC/DC, but who gives a monkeys......


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    Powerage ( 1978, UK pos 26 )
    Rock N Roll Damnation / Down Payment Blues / Gimme A Bullet / Riff Raff / Sin City / What's Next To The Moon / Gone Shootin' / Up To My Neck In You / Kicked In The Teeth

    Malcom and Angus Young for years have been declaring that 'Powerage' is their best album. What about 'Back In Black' I hear you cry? Well, if you want to argue, argue with them, not me. They said it! Why is this record overlooked by everybody else anyway? No mention of hell in the tracklisting? Well, we've got a damnation and a sin city. Isn't that enough? We've got Angus being electrocuted on the front cover and some of the finest riffs the band ever put together. One song is called 'Riff Raff' for goodness sake. You know, get with the programme. Well of course though, 'Powerage' isn't great without reservations. The band didn't make any great leap forwards stylistically, or otherwise. They haven't invented anything here. The lyrics even lack some of the cheery novelty/toilet humour of yore. That's a good or a bad thing depending on your viewpoint. Point is though, just turn this mother up loud and let it wash all over you. It's damn nearly a classic. Note I said nearly. 'Riff Raff' for all a song with a wonderful title is a little too generic for my liking. 'Gone Shootin' also fails to continuously rock my boat. My boat of course isn't something I literally have. I live in a flat, what the hell would I do with a boat, anyway? Some people..... what was I saying? You see, I was just getting carried away listening to the magnificence that is 'Down Payment Blues', oh yes. You've got riffs that way, riffs the other way. Then both riffs on top of each other, which sounds great with the tasty guitar solo, too. I got holes in my shoes.... DOWNPAYMENT BLUES sings Bon. Well, i'm not about to argue with him over that.

    'Rock N Roll Damnation' kicks off the show. It's not a long show, incidentally. Nine songs, thirty nine minutes. Perhaps that's another reason along with the lack of major radio-hits as to why 'Powerage' has received less attention than a 'Highway To Hell'? Who knows. What I know is that 'Rock N Roll Damnation' is good enough to have people boogie in heavy-metal discos the land over. Do you remember heavy-metal discos? Frightening places to be, really. 'Gimme A Bullet' has more mean riffs and 'Kicked In The Teeth' is a truly stupendous album closer. Bon outdoes himself vocally, the bass is fantastic here. They had a new bass player for the album? Ah, you could have told me, already? Well, we wanted to get the important stuff out of the way first, like the songs. All but two of them are great. Not quite a classic LP, but damn near-enough in our house, anyway.<

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    andres andres_diaz1982@hotmail.com
    or me this is the better production with george as a producer,let there be rock have the hooks but powerage sounds better,the guitars are more refined

    David Armstrong kodiakdrummer@gmail.com
    Powerage has always been my fav ACDC lp, tis absolutely fantastic. Down Payment Blues was the first DC track I ever heard, way back when the lp came out, and it's as great today as that first listen. True brilliance!


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    If You Want Blood, You've Got It 8 ( 1978, UK pos 13 )
    Riff Raff / Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be / Bad Boy Boogie / The Jack / Problem Child / Whole Lotta Rosie / Rock N Roll Damnation / High Voltage / Let There Be Rock / Rocker

    Once upon a time I never used to be impressed with guitar solos. As you can imagine, the entire point of a live album by a rock band would therefore have been somewhat lost on me. Anyway, who wants to listen to often inferior versions of studio material? Well, live albums generally have a cracking selection of songs. The energy levels are usually higher and the material hopefully has been altered at least slightly to allow for indulgences. These indulgences are welcome and we trust include extended guitar solos. AC/DC provide us well here. Bon Scott does his job as vocalist and the audience do their job. ‘Angus! Angus!’ they chant. ‘I’m a baaaaaaaaadddddddd boy!!’ sings Bon at the end of ‘Bad Boy Boogie’, appropriately enough, to wild applause from the audience. ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ is exhilaratingly intense and exciting and suits AC/DC down to the ground. Breathless, Bon and band launch into a similarly impressive ‘Rock N Roll Damnation’ on this set heavy ( on the then newly released ) ‘Powerage’ album. That suits me well enough. ‘Riff Raff’ opens the set and those riffs are always welcome. ‘If You Want Blood You’ve Got It’ is one of those iconic live album releases. Even without being there or without the pictures, AC/DC have such a strong visual image anyway, it’s easy enough to imagine being in the audience and this is partly key to the albums success.

    If you’re slightly curious about investigating AC/DC, don’t start somewhere obvious. ‘Highway To Hell’ and ‘Back In Black’ are both fine albums, but leave those for now. If you want to know whether you like a band or not, starting with the best album is shooting yourself in the foot. If you’re not blown away, you’re less likely to bother with any of the other releases. Suitably lowered expectations for a representative but ‘lesser’ release, is usually more satisfying. Rounding up as it does the highlights of the pre ‘Highway To Hell’ era, you could have your Bon Scott and eat it with just this and ‘Highway To Hell’. Anyway, rounding up, ‘The Jack’ and ‘Problem Child’ provide the lull in this set for me personally. Luckily for us the storming ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ brings the energy and enjoyment back up to suitable levels. A good album? Oh, certainly. Fabulous album? Not quite, but an good one nonetheless.

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    Highway To Hell 9 ( 1979. UK pos 8 )
    Highway To Hell / Girls Got Rhythm / Walk All Over You / Touch Too Much / Beating Around The Bush / Shot Down In Flames / Get It Hot / If You Want Blood (You've Got It) / Love Hungry Man / Night Prowler

    Throaty, whiskey voiced vocals. Short repeating guitar riffs. Mutt Lange brought into shape the whole thing so AC/DC could finally get themselves played on the radio, although Mutt wasn't the household name back then that he is now. His work with AC/DC was one of the reasons he became a household name, whatever you think of him. Household name? What kind of house do I even live in?? Well, you know what I mean. Still, almost every song on 'Highway To Hell' sounds like a potential single smash, so Mutt certainly did his business. The sound is warmer and crunchier both than immediately previous AC/DC and apart from tighter arrangements, the material is much the same as before. So, no sell out for these lads, at least, not yet. It's always nice to breakthrough without compromising yourselves too much, although the decision to use Mutt was in itself certainly a compromise of sorts, but one the band had to make. This album also probably invented Guns N Roses, but we won't hold that against the guys, will we? Anyway, i'll begin at the end. Shortly before drinking himself to death in 1980, Bon Scott was living it up and on the final song on what proved to be his final album, doing 'Night Prowler' so proud it's hard to imagine any other singer being allowed near the song. Its not just his voice, its the attitude behind the voice, the utter menace he brings to the tune to take it to that other level it needed. Good stuff, sir. At the other end, a quintessential rock disco staple is born with the title track. Not only does it of course sport a wonderful riff, but the guys have an energy and sheer sense of enjoyment that also comes through the grooves. 'Girls Got Rhythm' is groovy and bouncy and lots of fun and a perfect one-two kicks off the album. Good stuff, indeed.

    There's no let-up here and it's not until the final two songs and ten minutes that the album even thinks about slowing down. It's a party album with feeling, a prowl around town on a Saturday night. 'Touch Too Much' and 'Walk All Over You' are both solid, 'Beating Around The Bush' has speedy little riffs and 'Shot Down In Flames' is simply superb Rock N Roll music and catchy and heavy enough to sink a battleship. Good as the music is though, a lot of the intent and heaviness comes not from the music but from the vocalist, who you simply just believe in. 'If You Want Blood' is a further highlight on a set packed with highlights and I may as well say goodbye now, because most people reading this will have the album already and will know how good it is.

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    Back In Black 9 ( 1980. UK pos 1 )
    Hells Bells / Shoot to Thrill / What Do You Do for Money Honey / Given the Dog a Bone / Let Me Put My Love Into You / Back in Black / You Shook Me All Night Long / Have a Drink on Me / Shake a Leg / Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

    Bon Scott lives on. Well, 'Back In Black' with its funeral black cover and opening with ominous chiming of bells? The lyrical themes remain much the same, sex booze and girls. The replacement singer is Brian Johnson and boy were these guys lucky to find him. His voice is a glorious approxmiation of the Bon Scott growl. Think of other bands replacing lead singers. Black Sabbath did it in 1980 and nowhere near as well as AC/DC. AC/DC were very fortunate in finding a guy whoose voice was perfect to sing the Bon Scott songs as well as continue AC/DC forwards. Much credit of course goes to the Young brothers who manage to craft what is arguably the finest set of songs of AC/DC's career. The album was a huge seller and is one of the biggest sellers of all time, in fact. Not bad for a fairly uncompromising heavy metal set. Sure, there are plenty of hooks here that thanks of producer Mutt Lange are thrust into your face rather than hidden away. Every band needs a good producer to help them make their magnus opus. It's as true for AC/DC as it was The Beatles. The band retain their rawness though, something that would gradually get lost amongst the rock n roll excess that only success only a massive scale can truly bring. One of my favourite songs here though, perhaps my favourite AC/DC song is 'You Shook Me All Night Long'. Suspend your disbelief and this IS Bon Scott. It's a song that he would have adored and perhaps if rumours are true had some hand in writing.

    The idea of including a song called 'Have A Drink On Me' can be seen as humourous, but when that's exactly how your lead singer ended up dead, choking on his own vomit and drinking himself to death, perhaps less ingenious that it first seems. Along with 'What Do You Do For Your Money Honey' which is generic AC/DC and forgettable, it's the only track here I could live without. You see, joining 'You Shook Me' is the classic, memorable riff of the title track. 'Givin The Dog A Bone' and 'Shake A Leg' are both superior songs, the latter enjoyably reminding me of 'Powerage' material. The closing 'Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution' is as much a declaration as the opening cut and a fitting way to close the set. The only other slight problem I have is Brian Johnson singing 'Let Me Put My Love Into You' and it becomes apparent here that he lacks the cheekiness of Bon Scott. There's no levity in the growling, screechy scream. I wouldn't even necessarily use the word 'screech' with Bon Scott. However, you must understand, I am looking to pick out any and every flaw. None of the three lesser tracks i've mentioned in fact are bad songs. They just ain't as great as the rest of the album. It's a superb album and that goes without saying, really. Every home should have one.

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    For Those About To Rock 7 ( 1981. UK pos 3 )
    For Those About To Rock / Put The Finger On You / Let's Get It Up / Inject The Venom / Snowballed / Evil Walk / COD / Breaking The Rules / Night Of The Long Knives / Spellbound

    Following 'Back In Black' AC/DC truly become a worldwide commercial force, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The bad thing is how aware of it they seem to be judging across this records ten songs. Well, AC/DC had never been the least obvious group from the very beginning - it wasn't ever really about originality -  more about power, energy and melody. I dig the album cover lots, by the way. A nice golden brown colour with a picture of a canon on it. Cool! And, "For Those About To Rock ( We Salute You! )" to give it its full title, is a decent opening song, I guess. It's not as ominous as "Hells Bells" however and lacks the pop hook of a "You Shook Me All Night Long". Its no bad song but certainly not a great song, even if we are only comparing it to past AC/DC songs, and nothing else. "Put The Finger On You" has a great energy about it with some accomplished but never showy or misplaced guitar work. It rocks and the vocals are super-fine as well. "Let's Get It Up" could be seen on the one hand to be no worse than "Big Balls" and the like from the past. AC/DC never were much on subtly. On previous records though the music overcame any lyrical shortcomings, and that's if they were any. The vocals were generally so tongue in cheek in terms of performance it just became entertainment, at the end of the day. "Let's Get It Up" simply lacks humour and has been taken very very seriously when perhaps it doesn't warrant such 'seriousness'. It's not exactly a bad song, it contains a decent hook and a good solo. It's just that, maybe....for me at least, a little magic has gone. 'Back In Black' was a tremendously atmospheric record. By that I mean that it occupied it's own little world. "For Those About To Rock" as an album is just accomplished. It's just an album, well performed and well done. Now, that should really be enough. To push this through to any sort of classic status however, it requires something else. At least something unexpected. We don't really get that. We get the fairly forgettable "Venom", although we also get the furious, pacey rocker that is "Snowballed". A seriously great rock n roll guitar solo enlivens this "Snowballed" no end and it works as a highlight of the set.

    Opening the second half of songs here we have "Evil Walks" which again adds nothing new to the AC/DC song catalogue, but does employ a certain AC/DC kind of groove to great effect. "C.O.D" is a better performance than it is a song, the melody is standard, generic stuff.  "Breaking The Rules" is forgettable, "Night Of The Long Knives" very definitely 'commercial' in its sound and intent in a way previous AC/DC material ( although often hook filled ) simply wasn't. It's just a little too obvious in terms of production and execution. The closing "Spellbound" has a good guitar introduction and sways and shakes in the best AC/DC manner. The vocal here is something to behold and we get treated to a great guitar solo! So...what does all of this amount to? Well, a decent record, ultimately. It isn't any kind of 'Back In Back' to be fair. It's hardly even a 'Highway To Hell', which certainly wasn't presented upon release as a major work or event. This album was. It was hugely successful, but the tide had turned.

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    Readers Comments

    Zach thedoors@msn.com
    im not crazy about AC/DC without Bon Scott, Angus Young lost his great, short note, choppy guitar, and where is the review for If You Want Blood, You've Got It?! THATS A DREAT ALBUM my afvorite by far, add a review for this album.


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    Flick Of The Switch ( 1983 UK pos 4 )
    Rising Power / This House Is On Fire / Flick Of The Switch / Nervous Shakedown / Landslide / Guns For Hire / Deep In The Hole / Bedlam In Belgium / Badlands / Brain Shake

    The only thing 'Flick Of The Switch' really suffers from is the fact it's 'just another' AC/DC album. For the record, this was the last album with Phil on drums for quite some time and it was a self-produced effort, perhaps trying to correct some of the mistakes the previous LP had given us. It's not quite a return to the rawness of old, the production seems somewhat dry for that, yet there are some decent tunes here in the old, proper AC/DC style. The pop hooks have flown out the window to be replaced by riffs and grooves. Oh, those riffs! Some people criticized the album for essentially being the same as all of their previous LPs, yet such albums as 'Powerage', 'Back In Black' and 'Highway To Hell' surely all have their own distinctive variations on the AC/DC rock theme? Curiously, the only song on this album I actually don't enjoy is the opening cut. Whereas previous AC/DC albums had all started off with a seeming slam-dunk, 'Flick Of The Switch' opens with a half-hearted, mid-tempo groove. The growled vocals aren't enough and suddenly you're also missing Bon Scott. It's not a good start at all. Things do quickly get better, fortunately. 'This House Is On Fire' not only has a growled 'We're gonna burn you' closing line yet also a wonderful guitar solo mid-way through. The title track again improves on even this, a solid song all the way through and easily equal to the bands finer moments of the past. It's all simple, boogie rock n roll, but what else did you expect from AC/DC in 1983? Synth-pop? Believe you me, all of this could have been far, far worse.

    Side two contains a real riff-monster in 'Bedlam In Belgium' and suddenly this album picks up again. I'm now placing it above 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' in my imaginary top AC/DC albums list. The chanted, shouted, anthemic 'Guns For Hire' is another top tune and i'm almost but not quite tempted to give the album 8/10. It lacks that one or two really special songs that a really good album needs. As it is, this can comfortably be filled under the 'solid' section on your AC/DC shelf. There's no need to be embarrassed just because some critics didn't like the album way back when.

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    Readers Comments

    zweljko99@volja.net
    Well, Flick Of the Swich is after my opinion first not really good DC album. And when I listening also Fly.., Blow Up.., Ballbreaker, then I notice how much I really miss Bon Scott. Yes, he was much more than singer.

    john.j.doyle@nuim.ie
    I'm glad to see what a slight hint of revisionism can do for an album's reputation...! No, "Flick Of The Switch" most certainly is not perfect, but nor is it the disaster most critics in 1983 were bleating about. Probably the most "AC/DCish" production since "Powerage", means the less than origianl ideas are at least presented in an honest warts n' all way, which gives the songs the opportunity to function on their own initiative. Another plus is the fact that the filler count is a lot lower that the previously mentioned critical voices would like to suggest. "Badlands" and "Guns For Hire" are both classic AC/DC, the title track is AC/DC's infectious groove #999, while for those a little unused to the group's particular breed of Rock N' Roll, "Nervous Shakedown" should knock them into shape. 7.5/10


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    Fly On The Wall 5 ( 1985 UK pos 7 )
    Fly on the Wall / Shake Your Foundations / First Blood / Danger / Sink the Pink / Playing With Girls / Stand Up / Hell or High Water / Back in Business / Send for the Man

    AC/DC self produce, replace drummer Paul Rudd with Simon Wright yet otherwise, remain much the same as before. Well, I say that, but this album has been mixed a little weirdly. You've got the drum sound pretty upfront, which is unfortunate as the drummer isn't actually doing anything that would rank much higher than solid. The bass disappears into the overall sound, subdued by the loud drums. The guitars are somewhere in the middle and the vocals seem a bit strange. Almost as if Brian Johnson is singing in the bathroom - we've got some echo on his voice but then the vocal levels are down. This mix of 'Fly On The Wall' does deserve some mention because it gets in the way. Other than the mix, as I said, we have business as usual for AC/DC. Spiralling, twiddly guitar solos abound, the lyrics are the usual bits of grin-inducing daftness. 'Sink The Pink' for example possibly not a song about playing snooker.We have to wait until song number six, 'Playing With Girls' to get a truly memorable AC/DC riff that doesn't sound like a watered down version of something they've given us before.

    The title track, 'Shake Your Foundations' and even 'Sink The Pink' are all catchy enough numbers, however. Terrible vocals throughout 'Playing With Girls' let us down, very pinched and distant and hiding behind the wall of guitar riffs. Meanwhile, songs like 'Hell Or High Water' and 'Back In Business' are about as surprising as discovering city-bankers are greedy. All in all, 'Fly On The Wall' showcases a pretty uninspired AC/DC who would have been better off releasing an album of guitar solos instead.


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    Blow Up Your Video 7 ( 1988 UK pos 2 )
    Heatseeker / That's the Way I Wanna Rock & Roll / Mean Streak / Go Zone / Kissin' Dynamite / Nick of Time / Some Sin for Nuthin' / Ruff Stuff / Two's Up / This Means War

    In the great rock'n'roll wars your grandchildren will ask you how AC/DC responded to hair-metal and MTV in the eighties and you'll reply they didn't really, they just kept carryin' on. Well, the album title is a nod to MTV yet AC/DC return to their original producers Harry Vanda and George Young and sure, the production is smarter than the self-produced 'Fly On The Wall' and the overall sound is satisfyingly un-dated for a metal album released in 1988. About the only 'concession' AC/DC have made is to turn up the bass guitar which in reality, isn't a concession at all. Even hearing a bass guitar properly played, eg, not in funk wank manner, was a rarity back in 1988. Indie music didn't have bass, hair metal had keyboards. Well, i'm being mischievous, yet there seems to be a ring of truth in what I say. Well, read between the lines if you must. Don't shout at me! Fact one - this was the biggest selling album of original AC/DC material since 'For Those About To Rock'. Fact two, four of the tens songs joined AC/DC's regular live set-list around about this time as these Australian misfits continued down their own personal highways to hell.

    The young brothers don't quite pack in too many classic riffs by their standards, yet to compensate we've got more intelligent guitar playing, if that's at all possible for an AC/DC album. We've got guitar lines that overlap each other and that more prominent bass surely helps, too. The lead track is also the best track, in keeping with several other AC/DC albums. Yes, 'Heatseeker' is a real thrillseeker, a typical slab of AC/DC riffage and hernia busting screams. Get ready to rock, get ready to roll? The message is no more complicated than that, yet with mentions of motors rolling, a great driving song! Well, many of their songs are, to be fair. 'Meanstreak' is another highlight, a purposeful driving mid-tempo riff pushes this one forwards. The album loses steam as it reaches the likes of 'Ruff Stuff' and 'Two's Up', riffs in search of songs. This is a solid AC/DC album though from a period much maligned in their history. It works on a very simple level, it's fun, party music with enough bite to last longer than a few months. Well, how about twenty years?


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    The Razors Edge 8 ( 1990 )
    Thunderstruck / Fire Your Guns / Moneytalks / The Razors Edge / Mistress for Christmas / Rock Your Heart Out / Are You Ready / Got You by the Balls / Shot of Love / Let's Make It / Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck / If You Dare

    Selling ten million copies worldwide, 'Razors Edge' saw AC/DC regain some commercial ground that the previous few LPs had lost them. It's the same old AC/DC though, a band not letting things like technology or dance/rock crossovers spoil the metal party. Where did all these mighty tunes spring from though? 'Razors Edge' is a real return to form for the guys. True, the singers voice is starting to creak, yet that merely adds to the charm - it creaked in the first place, let's not forget. Nifty solo's abound as do a menacing rhythm section - check 'Moneytalks'. Indeed, the first four songs mark the strongest beginning to arguably any AC/DC album, 'Back In Black' included. The title track charted top twenty in the UK at a time AC/DC had pretty much been written off. The album went straight in at number four in the UK and all was well. Even now, some twenty years later 'The Razors Edge' ranks high among AC/DC albums. Not much you can say about the tunes, yet 'Fire Your Guns' has an energy lacking from much eighties AC/DC material. 'Thunderstruck' was a fine single. Etc and so forth. 'Moneytalks' is the real classic, every IPOD should have it worldwide. The title track follows and wow, what an opening stretch. If i'm not really talking much about anything, this isn't really the kind of album to do that with - just sit back and enjoy - 'Mistress For Christmas' for instance is always played every Christmas Day in our house.

    'Rock Your Heart Out' features great bass playing, 'Are You Ready' would be the best track itself on most AC/DC albums and only really the final few tracks ease past without making you rock'n'roll. Quality stuff then and yes, right up there. Would be very much up there with a track as good as 'You Shook Me All Night Long' or the raw energy of 'Powerage'. Ah, you wanted some description of the tracks, the music of AC/DC, the goings on in the studio, some jokes?


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    Ballbreaker ( 1995 )
    THard as a Rock / Cover You in Oi / The Furor / Boogie Man / The Honey Rol / Burnin' Alive / Hail Caesar / Love Bomb / Caught with Your Pants Down / Whiskey on the Rocks / Ballbreaker

    For their first studio album in five years, AC/DC enlisted Rick Rubin for a no-frills set of down and dirty, straight-ahead hard rock. The sessions were difficult by all accounts, they moved studios and apparently didn't get on with Rick Rubin and at least one prominent band member didn't like the resultant album. It sold much less than 'Razors Edge' but still topped a couple of million worldwide, which is nothing to be sniffed at, obviously. My first impressions are that it sounds like a solid, no frills set devoid of humour. You can poke at the lyrics, which keep the usual AC/DC 'subtly' yet the music seems to be aiming to re-position AC/DC as a serious, critically acclaimed hard rock act. Reviews were largely negative and there are only a few stand-outs in terms of the bands great historyy - yet equally - relatively few low points. The album sounds exactly like AC/DC but a little polished in places you don't want to be polished. Here and there the guitars are let loose, the vocals are well-recorded and placed neither back or front - they sit proudly in the middle - the levels of the individual members are, well, equally level.

    'Hard As A Rock' kicks things off well - the bass throbs, the vocals shred and a guitar solo pops up in the mid-section. True, it's the kind of thing we've heard dozens and dozens of times before from AC/DC, yet nobody cares about repetition, or at least they shouldn't. AC/DC have built a career on variations of songs with 'Rock' either prominently in the lyrics or the title. 'Boogie Man' has a great mid-tempo guitar solo and 'Cover You In Oil' is a typical AC/DC shouting out the chorus at the top of your voice type moment. The closing sequence of songs is *very* typical of the band, 'Love Bomb', 'Caught With Your Pants Down', 'Whiskey On The Rocks' and 'Ballbreaker'. For AC/DC, such songs pretty much write themselves, yet Rubin removes too many rougher edges. 'Caught With Your Pants Down' possibly fares best in that it has more energy and pace than a majority of other tracks that do tend to get bogged down in mid-tempo respectability.


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    this page last updated 01/08/15


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