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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Dec 18th, 2014

AC/DC: Rock or Bust

ACDCAC/DC
Rock or Bust
(Columbia)

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Rock or Bust, AC/DC’s 15th studio album is actually their shortest…if that means much of anything. It opens with the flangy, go-stop guitar anthem title track, but the first single, “Play Ball,” fares better with its strut groove and roiling Cliff Williams bass (the unsung hero of modern day AC/DC, I feel).

There’s lots off singable stuff here, including “Miss Adventure,” with its quick picking from Malcolm and “nah nah nah’s.” Then there’s the leaden “Dogs Of War,” and the forgettable “Rock The Blues.” “Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder” features some inspired, soft, yet perfectly placed bass sliding and plucking from Williams, and one of the more distinctive leads here from Angus.

“Hard Times” is low, slinky AC/DC of old, with chunky, tight-to-the-ground, single-note riffing from Angus and a searing lead; it might be the best song for me here. “Rock the House” showcases Johnson especially in another very heavy outing. The last tune, “Emission Control,” is all Angus riffing, with yet another big, indoor arena, raise-your-hands singable chorus, but it’s a good end to the album.

Singer Brian Johnson sounds great, his regiment of drinking and smoking keeping his pipes rock-perfect and of course lead guitarist and half of the main songwriting team here, Angus Young is wailing. Unfortunately Angus’ songwriting collaborator guitarist brother Malcolm isn’t on this recording (for health reasons) and has been replaced in his rhythm guitar role by his nephew Stevie Young, who manages competent playing. And God knows with his recent legal troubles what the future of long time AC/DC drummer here, Phil Rudd, is going to be.

Either way, we have here 11 new tunes by AC/DC.

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AC/DC: Rock or Bust