AC/DC – Rock or Bust (CD)AcDcGif
ALBUM OF THE MONTH – DECEMBER 2014

Label: Columbia
Released: 28.11.2014
Genre: hard rock
Grade: 8.5/10

After a highly successful, but not too interesting and powerful album “Black Ice”, which in 2008 made a comeback for the most successful world hard rockers from Down Under on the world scene, we waited another six long years for another, seventeeth, studio album. And here it is in front of us, “Rock or Bust” is all fancy-schmancy, from the 3D cover, thoroughly modernised look, all the way to the production, even though in the end it sounds like any other AC/DC album, and the sound is thoroughly modernised as well.
Truth be told, that’s about it when it comes to new things, but is it realistic to expect anything else from the popular rock dinosaurs, and in the end, do we even want it? Not really.
The album contains “only” eleven songs, and even though that number is more than adequate for old vinyl editions, unlike on “Black Ice”, this is a perfect number for “Rock or Bust”. If they placed even one song more, it wouldn’t be good. So, in front of us is perhaps the best AC/DC album in the last 20 years.
Concise, razor sharp precision in the dynamics section, and holding the attention of some listener who is not really a fan.
It is somewhat surprising that AC/DC could hit it with such an album: at the same time excellent and modern, while also unpretentious, without any effort to set the bar higher and make a great album when it realistically could have done: in the circumstances in which it was created and under the burden that hit the band, it could have transferred those experiences onto the album and create a masterpiece, a swan song of the band. The complete absence of the key member Malcolm Young, which in the meantime became permanent due to dementia – Malcolm’s progressive and too early illness, and the twisted situation in which the drummer Phil Rudd found himself, dragging on courts due to the lawsuit that he planned/ordered a murder of two persons, and for which it still isn’t clear if he’s going to be back in the band or will he be replaced by someone else next year.
Many would not have missed an opportunity like this for a more complex album, it’s a question what they would have done. But AC/DC never had an aspiration for something “truly great”. However, it doesn’t make them any less of a band, because in the given frames of rock accords, they succeeded in making an album that even younger and “harder” rockers wouldn’t be ashamed of.
For those true fans, this album should not be a disappointment, Angus still rips good riffs, and Brian still screams like in the best days.
The album is opened by the title song „Rock or Bust“, the first single and most certainly the strongest track of the album follows, titled “Play Ball”, but it is on the third one, „Rock The Blues Away“, that it is completely clear what kind of an album is in front of you. Not all songs are on the same level, but those less quality ones merge in so well, that in the end, you still get an impression of a well-rounded album, which certainly wasn’t the case with the already mentioned “Black Ice”.
Damn those AC/DC. Even when you don’t like them particularly, you cannot shake off the adrenaline which is pumped from one song to another. They pump you up fiercely. And when the timing is such that it can bore you, the album finishes with Emission Control“.
They start the tour sometime in May 2015 in the Netherlands, and they will roll down close to us in the Austrian Zeltweg on May 14th. Be there, their shows are a must visit!

Tracklisting:
1 “Rock or Bust”
2 “Play Ball”
3 “Rock the Blues Away”
4 “Miss Adventure”
5 “Dogs of War”
6 “Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder”
7 “Hard Times”
8 “Baptism by Fire”
9 “Rock the House”
10 “Sweet Candy”
11 “Emission Control”

Review by: Anastazija Vrzina, anastazija@venia-mag.net