Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Renowned For Sound

For the latest music reviews and interviews

Album Review: AC/DC – Rock or Bust

2 min read

The monolith of hard rock that is AC/DC soldiers on despite the ‘strange situation’ it is in. Rock or Bust is the first AC/DC album without founding member Malcolm Young, who is sadly now in a special care home due to dementia. Drummer Phil Rudd, facing drug and ‘threatening to kill’ charges, may not even get to play on the band’s followup tour to the mammoth Black Ice World Tour.

Rock or Bust

This new effort, produced by Brendan O’Brien, was only recorded in four weeks. It is filled with more of the same simple slogans (‘in rock we trust, it’s rock or bust’ on the country-esque title track, ”picking up my girl tonight, everything will be alright’ on Rock The Blues Away).

Fortunately, the energy remains. Let’s also not forget how Brian Johnson’s voice still manages to pierce unrestrained through the din. Play Ball, despite being slightly repetitive, has swagger and great to strut to. With its memorable call and response chorus, Rock The Blues Away is just a ball of mindless, fun, old-time rock n’ roll. It is impossible not to smile and toe-tap to this, so it should go down well in the stadiums the band is bound to sell out when it tours.

As expected, the album drips with muscle and testosterone. The heavy, thick 1980s drums give a kick on the otherwise silly Miss Adventure. Dogs of War stomps like a soldier ready for battle. Listeners can’t help but think of Addicted to Love when hearing the opening drums and the swinging, seductive bass on Got Some Rock n Roll Thunder. Despite the lightening guitar solos in the bridge, this track is surprisingly not thunderous enough. Sweet Candy chugs along with a hard-hitting rhythm track somewhat reminiscent of Back in Black and a percussive ‘can-an-dy’ vocal hook in the chorus.

Led Zeppelin influences are there (Rock The House is Black Dog mixed with loud bombastic chorus chants), but this is hardly a shock considering how both bands have been heavily inspired by blues and soul.

Baptism By Fire is another energetic highlight built for beer slugging, thanks to its unpredictable yet charging guitar riffs courtesy from Angus Young. Closer Emission Control is another boozy affair, with more of Johnson’s high notes, Young’s adventurous riffs and an effortless chorus.

AC/DC’s first album since Black Ice may have arrived amidst a turbulent period for the band. It is no wonder that the mood of the album is to go all out or not bother at all. Luckily for fans, this full-length is more rock than bust.