on April 25, 2011
This album is called "McHeadbanger: over 20 million served" for a reason. It's one of the all-time classics, no doubt. However my review is not for the album itself but rather this LP pressing. The LP is nice and on heavy weight 180g vinyl; something I'm glad to see the industry leaning towards. However, the surface quality of the LP is rather dubious. I fould the LP to have a lot of surface noise and light crackle. I have a $1000 turntable setup with a $500 stylus, so I know a good pressing when I find one. For example, The Van Halen I 180g reissue sounds absolutely dead quiet (another classic you should just buy now). So I think there is definitely room for improvement on "Back in Black".
Still, this LP issue does bring back the warmth and dynamics that are missing from the overly volume limited CD remastered edition. Unlike the CD edition, the only thing overdriven here are Angus's guitar lines! So if you can live with an more elevated amount of surface noise than you should get from a virgin 180g vinyl release, then this is the edition to get. It helps that it doesn't cost an arm and a leg either...
on April 28, 2005
Unfortunately, This is the best version of 'Back in Black' ever released. The DVD side of this disc is nothing more than a PCM stereo version of the album and a 23 minute documentary (not 30 minutes as advertised). There is also a discography but it is easily bested by many of those on-line like [...] So much more could have been done with this package, photos, lyrics, a digital version of the paper booklet that comes with the disc. Mind you, this is a review of the package. The music, as everyone knows, is some of the best rock ever written.
Don't shell out your hard earned dollars for a sub par product. Keep downloading until the music studios get a clue an offer a product that is both loaded with high quality content and offered at a fair price. Consumers deserve value.
on November 23, 2007
Back In Black was the AC/DC album to really put them on the music scene. After this albums release, the band was never the same. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't entirely thrilled with the quality of the music on the disc. Songs like "Hells Bells", the title song, "Shoot to Thrill" and a couple others were, without a doubt, solid classics that deserve all the exposure they've had over the years. But then you have some questionable filler tracks such as "Have a Drink On Me", the ever tediously dull "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution", and the moronic "Given the Dog a Bone". These tunes prevent the album from ever becoming one of the all-time hard rock classics, but for the songs that ARE good, the album is worth purchasing. A perfect release? No way. But it features some good songs. I highly recommend picking up some of the bands other albums, specifically ones with a harder and muddier edge (like Powerage, High Voltage, and Let There Be Rock). You can't go wrong with any of AC/DC's 70's albums.
on February 27, 2002
The album Back in Black was released by AC/DC in 1980. Ten tracks are included, and they are in a straight-ahead hard rock musical direction. The songwriting is good, the musicianship is taut, and the sound quality is pleasing. I think that Brian Johnson is a unique, gritty-sounding, high-energy vocalist; this was his first album singing with the band. Even though I find every one of the cuts to be gratifying, the ones that I like the most are "Hells Bells," "Back in Black," "You Shook Me All Night Long," and "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution." "Hells Bells"--the opening tune--is earnest and energetic in its delivery. The engaging, rousing song "Back in Black" sports a haunting and infectious main guitar riff. The well-written, brisk "You Shook Me All Night Long" features a strikingly forceful chorus and a cool principal guitar riff. The enjoyable, sprightly "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution," the disc's closing piece, displays a memorable refrain and primary guitar riff. The CD insert does not contain the song lyrics, but there is a black-and-white photo of each of the guys. The disc is just over 42 minutes. Back in Black is a satisfying, lively, no-frills, cohesive album from AC/DC.
on September 6, 2005
Although I didn't have the pleasure of growing up in the 60's or 70's, I'm a big classic rock fan and the majority of the music I listen to comes from those bygone eras. My favorites include Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Stooges, T Rex and Pink Floyd. AC/DC's Back in Black is considered bar none to be a classic among classic rock. While it seems silly for me to stand up to the massive legions of bands this Aussie quintet has had for several years, I still have to say that though AC/DC are good at what they do, Back in Black represents the peak of their enjoyable juvenille style, because afterwards things got a little tiresome.
Let's face it, Bon Scott was THE frontman for this band. He had great stage presence, charisma and humour and a likable smartassed vocal style. Brian Johnson has an even sharper raspy yowl that definitely grates the ears. He stands around like some pissed off bum at a London bus stop and yowls and yowls and YOWLS. Of course, the saving grace of this album was Angus Young's searing lead guitar work. I have to agree that these are some of his best riffs, unfortunately, he would beat them to death on later albums.
I definitely understand the meat n' potatoes appeal to AC/DC brand of juvenille bar hopper rock. They provided a welcome relief to hard rock fans after years of pretentious "progged out" nerd bands and even worse corporate arena crap like Journey and Styx. Its just that their greatest weakness, like those of punk rock bands, is their repetitive and samey style. Because this rock is so simple there's no evolution or variation on any of AC/DC's albums. This is why I prefer bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath and Thin Lizzy, because they had a wider range of influences and they liked to switch things up.
Still, if you're looking for a rock band that is short BS and big on drinking anthems and strong bluesy riffs, than Back in Black is for you.
on September 18, 2005
We all know the story. AC/DC released the "Highway To Hell" album in August of 1979, and it became their commercial breakthrough album in the US, reaching the top 20 and going gold before the end of the year. Then, in February of 1980, vocalist Bon Scott choked on his own vomit in his sleep and died, and the band quickly brought in Brian Johnson as their new lead vocalist.
Despite everything that the surviving members were going through at the time, AC/DC had a new album out at a startling rate. Less than a year after the release of "Highway To Hell" came its follow-up--"Back In Black"--released in July of 1980. It seems that this fast turnaround time was largely instigated by Malcolm Young's desire to keep on working, presumably as a way of working through the sadness of Bon's passing.
Unfortunately, the band clearly rushed into the studio too soon before allowing themselves enough time to build up an album's worth of quality material, and a majority of the album wallows in mediocrity. "What Do You Do For Money Honey", "Given The Dog A Bone", "Let Me Put My Love Into You", and "Have A Drink On Me" are all very much marred by perfunctory riffs. "Let Me Put My Love Into You" even has a devastatingly lame, cheesily-harmonized chorus and largely sounds like a reheating of the first song on the album, "Hells Bells". The chorus on "What Do You Do For Money Honey" is also startlingly tossed-off and uncatchy. The beginning of "Shake A Leg" sounds like a watered down rehash of the opening to "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". "Shoot To Thrill" sounds formulaic and is desperately lacking in catchiness, plus the extended mellow section, with ludicrously unimaginative eighth-note picking from Angus, is appallingly dull.
As for "You Shook Me All Night Long"... I certainly won't deny that the band's performance on this song is mind-blowingly tight, nor is it devoid of catchiness, but it's got an annoyingly smiley-faced, sugar-coated cockrock sound to it--to put it another way, it sounds way too much like Foreigner for its own good. Naturally, it became a big time hit, and in turn, played a major role in the huge success of the "Back In Black" album. And this commercial success seems to have brainwashed a huge number of music listeners into thinking this is AC/DC's best offering, when in reality, it ain't even close.
Sure, the chilling "Hells Bells" is a spellbinding classic with an unforgettable, doom-laden main riff, even though that main riff is very similar to the bridge riff on their earlier "Cold Hearted Man", and the chorus blatantly derives from Foreigner's "Head Games". There are also nice licks to be found on "Shake A Leg" and "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution". And the funked-up title track has ultra-catchy guitar riffery, but even this supposedly classic tune is marred by Brian just not knowing when to shut the hell up--he simply goes way overboard with his screaming; plus, that little snippet that arrives at 2:50 of the track is blatantly derived from Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion", which is a better tune, I might add.
Like the two surrounding albums, "Back In Black" was produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, and there's no doubt that he deserves at least some of the blame for leading the boys into dull corporate rock territory, as he had also done on the previous "Highway To Hell". The album just sounds too damn compromised and watered-down, sorely lacking the reckless abandon of AC/DC's best work--again, this points to why this album has had such big time commercial success, because of its appeal to mainstream wimps who probably wouldn't have given AC/DC the time of day otherwise.
The album really sounds forced. I mean, geez, just look at Johnson's corny, ham-fisted, awfully calculated spoken intro to "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" for an example. It's as if AC/DC were still mourning Bon's death and were trying to slog through the crisis by recording despite their hearts not really being in it--it sounds as if they'd have rather been elsewhere.
So, I know this sounds pretty harsh, but it's definitely high time for a reality check with this album. It's not THAT bad or anything, and it has its moments, but it's far from a masterpiece.