AC/DC is like the Cal Ripken, Jr. of rock and roll: durable, dependable, and guaranteed to pack a punch. A lot has gone on with the band this year, and it’s sad to know that guitarist Malcolm Young won’t be able to play in the group anymore. His nephew Stevie has stepped in once again to handle family business and that’s that. So with that said, AC/DC is set to release newest album Rock or Bust on the masses on December 2. Does the band pretty much do the same thing on most of their albums? Yes, yes they do. But so what? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But here’s the thing. On this record the band has put out some of their best work in years. Don’t get me wrong, Black Ice was really good, just a tad long. Well, problem solved here. This album clocks in at 34:55 from start to finish; they get in, get out, and leave us wanting more.
The title track gets this party started and I gotta tell ya, the band has never sounded better, or more energized. I really think they needed to make this album. You can feel the energy coming off each and every track. “Play Ball” is next, a song designed for sports arenas the world over; it was actually used during the 2014 MLB playoffs. And I’m sure it will find a home in many more sports broadcasts. My favorite though is “Rock the Blues Away”, a total Friday night, get off work and go drink with the crew and girlfriends type of song. It’s been in my head for days and shows no signs of going anywhere soon. Singer Brian Johnson sounds terrific, not only on this but on all the songs. Can’t believe he’s nearly 70!
“Dogs of War” is another great, melodic track, sounding very much like the AC/DC of old, but with a juicy wallop. The same can be said for “Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder”, the twin guitars of Angus Young and Stevie meshing together beautifully. The blues-tinged licks of “Rock the House” just leap out of the speakers, begging you to rock out with them, and “Baptism By Fire” is sure to get the blood pumping, as is expected when this band plugs in and plays. One of the biggest choruses on the record happens during “Miss Adventure” which may have some of the naysayers shaking their heads in disbelief. No matter, it’s a great fucking song and that’s that.
Cliff Williams’ bass is the engine that makes “Sweet Candy” go even though the jangling riffs are there in full effect. It’s still his song, and it works. Closer “Emission Control” is one of those songs where you’re like, “Hell yeah! That’s AC/DC…BITCH!” And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. With Rock or Bust this band has delivered one of the best records of their career and I pray to the Metal Gods that they keep going for years and years, because it’s clear they still have a ton of rock left in them.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Rock the Blues Away”, “Rock the House”, “Play Ball”, “Dogs of War”, “Baptism By Fire”