on March 8, 2003
Released in 1980, "Back In Black" featured new lead singer Brian Johnson who replaced former singer Bonn Scott who died months earlier. With the death of Scott, there were sceptics that thought this was the end of the hard rocking Aussy band. But to their surprise "Back In Black" was a huge success with absolutely no filler tracks. The album produced a number of hits with the title "Back In Black", "Hells Bells" and "You Shook Me All Night Long". In my opinion some of the best songs on the album were not hits such as "Shoot To Thrill", "What Do You Do For Money Honey" and "Shake A Leg". With the addition of Johnson to the line up the band seemed to be stronger than ever, and Angus Young's guitar licks are absolutely amazing. Just listen to the lead guitar in "Shake A Leg" and I'm sure you'd agree. Numerous soundtracks have included AC/DC songs from this album, notably the Steven King film "Maximum Overdrive" which featured "Hells Bells" and "You Shook Me All Night Long". This newley remastered edition of "Back In Black" now on the Epic Label surpasses the older 1994 remastered version in that the volume is pumped up higher, there's definately more bottom end and mid-range. I actually listened to both versions of the disc and this new one blows the other away. The digipack that stores the new remastered version is attractive and there's an excellent booklet inclosed with color photos, etc. of the band. If you want to hear hard rock the way it was meant to be then pick this superb cd up and enjoy.
on February 18, 2004
In February 2003, the American distribution rights to AC/DC's back catalog transferred over to Epic, their new label. Epic then reissued the band's catalog as remastered digipacks containing lavish, expanded booklets with plenty of rare photographs, memorabilia and notes.
Although the digipacks may wear a little too easy, the sound is terrific, clean and muscular, enhancing the raw qualities of the original record. And "Back In Black" certainly deserves this kind of loving treatment; it is AC/DC's best and most popular album by far, having sold well over forty million copies worldwide, which makes it one of the ten best-selling albums ever, regardless of genre.
(AC/DC remains the single best-selling hard rock or heavy metal band in the world, nearing the 150.000.000 mark, and outselling bands like The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and even the mighty Led Zeppelin.)
"Back In Black" is one of rock's all-time classic records. Not a single weak track is included, even the lesser-known album tracks are strong, and it is filled with powerful riffs, huge hooks and tough, bluesy grooves.
The lyrics are a joke, of course, all booze and sex and rock n' roll, and Brian Johnson screams rather than sings, but AC/DC at the top of their game wrote the best, catchiest hard rock songs you can imagine, like the grand, anthemic "Hell's Bells" or the magnificent title track.
And AC/DC doesn't just thrash away or plod along like your average heavy metal band; they literally swing on "Have A Drink On Me", and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young churns out one sturdy riff after another. Just listen to the incredible groove he lays down on songs like "Given The Dog A Bone", "Back In Black", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and the slow, bluesy (and superbly sleazy) "Let Me Put My Love Into You".
Hard rock doesn't get any better than this. In fact, it barely ever gets this good.
on May 17, 2003
At this point, I really don't need to tell you the story behind "Back in Black." You already know that it's the first AC/DC album since founding member Bon Scott's death and the first featuring replacing singer Brian Johnson. You already know that it's one of the biggest-selling albums around the world. And you already know that it's the Aussie-based group's best album to date. What you may NOT know is that the repackaged and remastered edition is a must-have, even if you already own prior versions on LP, cassette, or CD. Re-released around the time the band received Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, "Back in Black" appears in a Digipak cover with cool photos of the band, as well as a nice booklet with more pictures and a well written commentary by Rolling Stone veteran editor David Fricke. And the sound quality? I personally listened to the previous CD edition and this version back to back, and not only can you hear the difference but also FEEL the difference. The new version projects with more force and clarity. The previous CD was okay as it was, but Sony really took it to a whole new level. You'll get to hear tracks like "Hells Bells," "Back in Back" and "Shoot to Thrill" like you never heard them before. So this review should end any speculation as to whether you should buy "Back in Black" again. You can never own too many copies of an album like this, and Sony gave it the upgrade it richly deserves.
on February 18, 2003
OK, firstly, AC/DC's catalogue is now going through Epic/Sony, after 20+ years of being in the Warner family. Now, hearing these new reissues, esp. "Back In Black", is like having a wool blanket removed from the speakers. These are taken from the original 2-track masters, first time ever, and the difference really shows!! This doesn't sound like an album recorded 23 years ago!! It sounds like it was recorded just yesterday!! As a result, you can file AC/DC's "Back In Black" under the category TIMELESS PURE UNADULTERATED ROCK N ROLL!!
Produced by UBERPRODUCER Robert John "Mutt" Lange, aka Mr Shania Twain, this album, and the 1 before + one after, are what gave him his reputation as a producer. As later with Def Leppard, Foreigner and especially Shania Twain, Mutt's trademarks are the boosting of the middleranges and emphasis on lead vocals + backing GANG vocals. This really shows on BIB, and you can hear this influence on those later records. Basically, the guy deserves his wealth, as he knew what he was doing, and this album is just very well-done, period.
The band is at the top of their game as well, which really was a miracle, considering the circumstances. The great Bon Scott dying tragically, and getting the whiskey-soaked Brian Johnson, formerly of Geordie, to take his place. This coulda been a disaster bar none, but Brian was a perfect fit, still with the band to this day, the album was a masterpiece, songwriting, performance-wise, and production-wise, and this all happened as their popularity just exploded!!
Every song is a gem, a perfect example of pure, pull-no-punches, back-to-basics, bluesy rock + roll. It seems like every song here was a hit too, as each one had it's share of airplay on rock radio, plus 2 singles made the US Top 40!! The songs never grow old either, don't sound dated or show their age. Every song works on their own as a single, yet flow masterfully from beginning to end as a complete work. Basically, the album was flawless, is flawless, and will continue to BE flawless!! It's one of those albums, where if someone asks you what rock + roll is, you can play him/her this album, and you can say "here's your answer". From the doomy opening "Hells Bells" to the catchy energetic "Shoot To Thrill" to the golddigger putdown "What Do You Do For Money Honey" to the raunchy "Givin The Dog A Bone" to the slow seductive "Let Me Put My Love Into You" to the classic 1-2 punch "Back In Black" + "You Shook Me All Night Long" (covered by Anastacia + Celine Dion??!!?? on VH1 Divas Las Vegas) to the cool "Have A Drink On Me" to the catchy "Shake A Leg" and ending with the statement of purpose "Rock + Roll Ain't Noise Pollution", with the line "It's Just Rock + Roll, yeah", it's just a perfect album, period!!
Buy it and treasure it. Guaranteed, in 50 years, it will sound shiny and new. Believe me, if you think pop music is all plastic ... these days, all manufactured and just junk, pop this baby on, and your faith in rock + roll will be instantly renewed.
May AC/DC keep on going and going and going....
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 October 3, 2001
When I'm writing a song, I'm trying to capture a single image or emotion and transfer that to the listener. Because I have a limit of only a few minutes and a few words, that concept must be simple. Another rule is that I usually don't want to describe the idea directly; I want to talk around it, to allude to it. The audience has to be able to make some contribution to the act of creation, and using too-literal lyrics defies that. You don't sing, "I had sex with her and I really enjoyed it"; you sing, "The walls were shakin', the earth was quakin', my mind was achin', and we were makin' it, and you...shook me all night long"!
I don't really think about it in such detail. I just rely on an instinct of what will work and what won't. The boys in AC/DC are quite aware of what they are aiming for, and their instincts in this regard are sensational.
On this album, AC/DC has captured and perfectly transmitted the idea of MASCULINITY. It's a man's record full of men's images and urges. Rock 'n' roll is basically a man howling about his desires, and he often desires women, liquor, and guitars that sound like sheets of metal being destroyed by power tools. It's a very simple thing, really.
Normally, live music loses its edge in the recording process, becoming more bland. To combat this, producers try to enrich the sound with effects like reverberation (echoes that create a sense of space), chorus (modulating the pitch to make the instrument or voice sound thicker) and equalization (boosting or cutting certain high or low frequencies). The equipment used to do this changes from year to year, and therefore the more effects are used, the more the recording sounds 'dated.' Reverb machines from the early 70's had a very different sound from those used in the 80's, or 90's, for example.
Back In Black has very simple production, with almost no discernible effects. But it isn't bland. It's savage in the intensity of its tone. How did they do that? (Gibson now produces a model of guitar pickup named after Angus Young. I'll be buying a pair.)
Angus and Malcolm Young have created a lot of the catchiest guitar phrases in the entire body of rock music. Their masterpiece is the collection of gut-wrenching licks on the title song here. These will achieve timelessness because the average guitar player can learn to reproduce them--but never with the Angus touch.
on August 6, 1998
AC-DC was in disarray when this album came out: The previous lead singer had died of alcohol poisoning. Most said the band's best music had been played. Nobody expected much.
This album was a monster. Considering the tired and irritatingly "artistic" sound of the Who and Led Zeppelin, Back in Black kicked ass. Listening to this album made you want to grab a stick and break something.
The opening riff of "Shoot to Thrill" can cause carpal tunnel syndrome trying to crank up the volume.
"Given the Dog a Bone" was a nightmare for English teachers and feminists, alike. Arguably, if the act was completed, then the verb tense of the title was proper.
Many complained that the title song was evil and anti-religious, that it was a poster child for reincarnation, that Brian Johnson was really Bon Scott, rising from the dead. Those people are now probably listening to Curt Cobain, and crying, while drinking cafe mocha.
Others com! plained that the music was just simple. So damn what. Ten songs, three chord guitar, screaming vocals. No "rock opera," no social messages, just drink, smoke, and screw.
Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?
on March 1, 2000
Over a 25-year long career (until now, that is) AC/DC has has quite a lot of good, average, great albums. This one, however, is usually considered their best. Why? Well, many reasons. First of all, the album itself shows the band in top form; never you will ever experience again such a monolithic rock album. From start (the dark intro of a bell leading to the "I'm a rolling thunder, a pourin' rain, I'm coming on like a hurricane" rising power) to end (the bluesy, free "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution") every single moment, every single song will keep you in tension; new singer Brian Johnson enjoys what is the finest moment of his entire career, delivering vocals from the unearthy-powerful, as in the hard rock classic "Shoot To Thrill", to the melodic chorus of "You Shook Me All Night Long", or even to the lower, bluesy feeling of the aforementioned "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution". With Angus Young playing two of his best solos ever in Hells Bells and the title track, and completed with the full-time force rock attack of the rest of the band, this album stands strong like a monument forged in steel. What makes this album such an unforgettable piece of rock history is however, other than the awesome song quality, the incredible "tribute to Bon Scott" (the AC/DC singer who died in 1980 and whom the whole album is dedicated) atmosphere you can feel through the whole thing. The atmosphere starts off dark and mournful, leading through a rock rebirth and paying the band's tribute to the old friend through the title-track words "Back in Black, I hit the sack, I've been too long and I'm glad to be back, yes I'm let loose from the noose that's kept me hangin' about, I keep lookin' at the sky 'cause it's gettin' me high, forget the hearse 'cause I'll never die, I got nine lives, cat's eyes, abusin' everyone of them and running wild"...
on April 27, 2001
1980 was a year when we lost some true music giants. John Bonham, the legendary powerhouse drummer of Led Zeppelin, died on Sept. 25, 1980 after an all-day alcohol binge. John Lennon would be shot and killed three months later on Dec. 8, 1980. But the first rock tragedy of 1980 happened when AC/DC's original lead singer, Bon Scott, died in Feburary the same way Bonham would die (drink too much alcohol, fall sleep, choke to death). A lot of people thought that AC/DC would just quit and vanish like thin air.
They thought wrong. The hard rock legends rebounded with raspy-voiced singer Brian Johnson (who sounds eerily similar to Bon Scott) and made an album that stands the test of time. The result? BACK IN BLACK, one of the best hard rock records ever made. What can I say that hasn't been said all ready? This album is an absolute masterpiece, 42 minutes of raunchy, bone-crushing, three-chord heavy rock that is one of only three albums I have that contain NO bad songs (the other two being Led Zeppelin's first album and the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band").
The reason this album is so brilliant is because of how mind-bogglingly simple it is! Even though Angus Young is only playing three chords, his guitar solos are so awesome that he sounds like he's doing a lot. Enough of that. Let's get to the album. It begins with the scary "Hell's Bells," an ominous track that starts with ringing bells as Brian Johnson's menacing voice and Angus Young's guitar riff slides in. "Shoot To Thrill" is the most energetic tune about violence ever written. "What Do You Do For Money Honey," "Given the Dog a Bone," and "Let Me Put My Love Into You" show AC/DC at their raunchy best, as Brian Johnson's humorous sexual metaphors set the tone.
"Back In Black" and "You Shook Me All Night Long" are the well known songs off the album (and two of the best rock tracks PERIOD). "Have A Drink On Me" and "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" are great as well, but the BEST song on the entire record is "Shake A Leg," a song that starts with a slow drum groove courtesy of Phil Rudd and then pauses and then leads into a driving, intense guitar riff that never stops until the song is over. This is an excellent pump-up song and the ultimate headbanger's tune.
With powerful guitar riffs, killer bass/drum rhythms, and the catchiest lyrics around, BACK IN BLACK is one of my favorite albums and one of the best rock albums ever recorded. Hey, it didn't sell 19 million copies and become the sixth best-selling album of all time for nothing!!
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.