Album Review of Rock or Bust by AC/DC
a review written by Cāngkù Shísān
After last time’s deviation with a review of 5 Seconds Of Summer’s Sounds Good Feels Good, this time I have decided to return to rock. But not just any rock, might I add, but to one of the greatest and most respected rock outfits of all time, AC/DC
In recent years, this bands output has been few and far between. It started with a five-year gap between The Razors Edge and Ballbreaker, then another five years between that and Stiff Upper Lip. Then they started taking the mickey, making fans wait eight years for the Black Ice album. Now, six years on (2014) we have Rock Or Bust (which I feel should’ve been titled "In Rock We Trust"). The album was plagued by founding member Malcolm Young’s diagnosis of Dementia, then subsequent departure from the band. But here we have it. The question is, does it live up to expectations?
The title track is a fitting opener, reminiscent of "Nervous Shakedown" (from Flick Of The Switch). From the start your speakers are rocking back and forth on the shelf and you start to wonder why it takes so long to put out such simple yet amazing music.
"Play Ball" follows next and continues in a similar fashion. AC/DC have never pushed musical boundaries, meaning that this track wouldn’t feel out of place on any of their previous records. Still hook heavy, still with that Brian Johnson growl, still with those killer riffs.
"Rock The Blues Away" and "Miss Adventure" have more of a bluesy feel, which works wonders on both. "Rock The Blues Away" is possibly my favourite on the album, and "Miss Adventure" shows that no matter how old this band get, they still appreciate some good lovin’.
"Dogs Of War" never appealed to me as much as I feel it should (it even was listed on the sticker on the front, as if it should have been a highlight). It’s not a bad track and is a lot better than some of the other stuff, I just feel it struggles to follow up those fantastic openers.
Next comes what is possibly the coolest title in the AC/DC catalogue: "Got Some Rock ‘N’ Roll Thunder." Brilliant, no, flawless guitar work. Another highlight.
"Hard Times" seems a little too bluesy, feeling at times forced. I would list this as the weakest so far. This one has very little replay attraction and it isn’t on my IPod anymore. I’ve heard people say this one is a classic too? Am I missing something?
We have classic ‘DC riffing on "Baptism By Fire," but the rest of the track lets it down. I feel the lyrics and melody is mediocre. Again, this one was raved about. Maybe I’m just weird, but I think they’ve done better. Also worse, but also better.
"Rock The House" and "Sweet Candy" aren’t bad tracks, they just pass. They’re part of the album, but neither stands out.
"Emission Control" concludes the album in possibly the worst way. After all that came before it, I honestly can’t understand how they didn’t have anything better that could’ve ended this. It isn’t their most terrible, I admit (see anything on Fly On The Wall, from track 3 onwards) but it just brings this album to a very flat ending. I feel that the title is some sort of innuendo but just makes them sound like environmental activists. Shame. Maybe concluding with "Hard Times" would’ve been better, despite its own faults?
All in all, this is a solid album. It doesn’t dominate, nor does it completely miss the target. Is it better than Black Ice? Yes, in places. But I feel that something, somewhere, is missing. I’d give it 3.5 stars, but I have to give a whole number on Movellas, so 4 will be my answer. It’s a fitting end if the band were to conclude here, which looks highly likely since the drummer has since been arrested and Angus Young has had issues with singer Brian Johnson. Check it out - it’s a good bunch of tracks with just a few duff ones in between – just don’t judge the whole AC/DC catalogue using it.
Rock Or Bust/Play Ball/Rock The Blues Away/Miss Adventure/Dogs Of War/Got Some Rock ‘N’ Roll Thunder/Hard Times/Baptism By Fire/Rock The House/Sweet Candy/Emission Control
4 out of 5