There was a time when AC/DC used to be at the top of any list for a road trip soundtrack. The boys from down under could always spice up any hard rocking, driving playlist with songs that were simple yet intense, but now it seems like age has gotten the better of them.
Black Ice is the first studio album in eight years for AC/DC, but it doesn’t capture the energy of previous albums. Produced by Brendan O’Brien and mixed by Mike Fraser (who between them have major rock and roll credits under their belts, having worked with bands like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica and many more), the album falls flat.
The closest they come to recapturing their days of rock and roll anthems is the open track “Rock ‘N Roll Train.” Riffs galore from Angus Young and good bass lines from Malcolm Young make this song the only real standout track.
Although “Stormy May Day” is unique in that it’s one of the only times Brian Johnson sings any part of a song in his normal voice instead of the screaming falsetto he’s known for.
The rest of the album devolves into mediocrity pretty quickly. “Smash N’ Grab” is somewhat boring and uses what sounds like a metalophone during the chorus, which really just sounds like error beeps from a computer.
“Spoilin’ for a Fight” sounds like it could barely inspire anyone to get off the couch, let alone kick someone’s ass.
The ironically named “Decibel” seems pretty tame and quiet. With a name like that you’d expect it to be played loud, but it just gets more boring the louder you play it.
All in all the album doesn’t seem to have any variation between the songs. For the band that came out with iconic songs like “Highway to Hell,” “Thunderstruck,” “You Shook Me All Night Long” and many more, this album is a big let down.
If you want a rocking soundtrack for the road, your best bet is to just buy one of their pre-millenium albums and stick with the classics. Black Ice will just ruin the trip.