George Starostin's Reviews



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Philip Maddox (22.10.2000)

I've never bought an AC/DC album, and I doubt I ever will, but when, say, 'Hell's Bells' comes on the radio, I can't help but crank it up and bang my head (just a little, mind you). Lots of fun. Not much substance, but they're loud and fun, much more so than, say, Van Halen (whom I hate). That's about all I can say - really, how much can you wax philosphic about AC/DC? And hey, if you think AC/DC fans are rough, you should hear Insane Clown Posse or Limp Bizkit fans - not that i really like either of those bands (particularly the latter - at least the former is funny; I LOATHE the Bizkits), but I've looked up some fan ravings, and they will maim you and send you viruses for not liking the band in question. Yipes.
And hey, somebody else read Bored Of The Rings! And thought it was funny! I love Tolkien and all, but that book was hil-ar-i-ous! "Dildo" was a bit obvious, but who cares? Hee hee!

Rich Bunnell (23.10.2000)

Hey, does that mean that you can cure people of their love for AC/DC by freezing them with liquid nitrogen?

<> (24.12.2000)

what are you on about?? I suggest you think again re. AC/DC...they're full of humour but there's no joke... what are you on about??

Jeff Melchior (26.12.2000)

First of all, I think this MP3 section is a great idea. Frankly, it's a lot more fun celebrating the minor triumphs (and dissecting the mass of crap) of bands like Kiss and Uriah Heep than picking apart the few faults of bands like The Beatles and The Who and extoling their virtues once again.
AC/DC - if ever there was a band whose fanbase was its worst enemy, it's them. Everybody and their dead grandmama would be fans of AC/DC if not for the teeming throngs of close-minded, jean-jacketed inbreds that claim all other music sucks and only AC/DC ''rools".
The hell of the thing is that AC/DC DOES rule, at least when it comes to what they do. It took me a while to overcome my prejudice against their fanbase to pick up their albums, and now I'm a fan for life.
Prindle is way too generous letting all those morons demean the band they claim to love by displaying their own stupidity. To those who feel the same prejudice - PLEASE don't judge AC/DC by their fans. For that matter, don't think we're all chemically-imbalanced, high school dropouts either. There are intelligent AC/DC fans out there - they just haven't let the mania get to them.

Morten Felgenhauer (17.01.2001)

The biggest problem with AC/DC is that there is no collection containing their best songs in existence (except for the live one). The reason for this I think is that "all AC/DC fans have all their records anyway" (one of the band members more or less quoted in an interview I read somewhere). Of course the die-hards have all the albums, but there are lots of people who gladly would buy a "Best of", but would rather die a slow death rather than have their complete works on their shelf. I belong in the latter category (and I have made myself an AC/DC collection, but that doesn't help anybody). For they have an album or two's worth of good material, but NOBODY needs all their albums. I have heard all the Bon-albums and Back In Black and I would rate a lot of them with 4 out of 6 points, but none of them would recieve more. And for all those people who now have started shaking uncontrollably with desires of murdering someone, take comfort in the fact that I able to appreciate hard rock - both AC/DC and others like Deep Purple. But how many similar songs do you really need?

Brian Lindgren (24.02.2001)

George, I think you hit the nail on the head by defining AC/DC as a comic band, so over the top with their "evil" antics that it becomes laughable. However, I believe this was more the case while Bon Scott was living. Brian Johnson is a nice guy and a competent singer, but I believe Bon Scott had the real tongue-in-cheek touch that characterized the band in such early songs as "The Jack" (the original version with the card game lyrics), "Gimme A Bullet," and countless others. By and large, I think AC/DC was overlooked as a giant of 1970s guitar rock because of the presence of bigger bands such as Zeppelin. All in all, I think the Young brothers' riffs are very solid, though, and hold up favorably to any other hard rock (not metal) of our generation.

Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

I initially hated AC/DC, but about a year prior to this comment, I bought their latest album Stiff Upper Lip. And guess what ? I was blown away !!! Loads of fun all the way. Of course, they aren't exactly Led Zeppelin, or something like that, but they do hold their own ground. Now, Stiff Upper Lip was an amusing album, but it was just way too SLOW, and I've heard that they supposedly play fast songs. Then I decided to hunt down some of their older albums, and sure enough, they we're faster. Naturally, I noticed that all of their songs are constructed pretty similar, but why should that prevent me to headbang along them ? No reason, I guess, and it really didn't prevent me from doing so. I also noticed that their lyrics just scream COCK ROCK !!! at you, but I don't mind that. One more thing, their songs have a lot of real solid riffs and the melodies aren't bad at all. Hey, and why don't they have a "best of" compilation ? If it wasn't for MP3 and my AC/DC loving friends, I surely wouldn't have listen to all of their albums. I just don't have so much cash, people.
P.S. I know it's really dangerous to comment on AC/DC, since their fans would gladly kill anyone who gives the band less than the top rating for all of their albums, but I did managed to tackle that, so, my comments are ready for action. BTW, I think I gave quite honest evaluations of their albums, but if anyone doesn't agree with me, then they should write their own comments and prove me wrong.

Mauricio de Souza Fonseca (23.05.2003)

I keep thinking what Brian Johnson thinks when he listens to AC/DC most recent records (let's say, from FLY ON THE WALL till now) or when he watchs some DVD or video containing a live performance of the band. Does he realize that his voice completely sucks? That is completely gone? Has he ever considered to retire? Or maybe he thinks: "Well, I deserve to be here until the end. I worked a lot to be here, and that´s where I'll stay."
Listening to a new AC/DC record is real nightmare today, thanks to Brian's voice. One cannot even concentrate on the riffs or whatever, because his rotten voice is all over the place destroying the music. I think, if he really loves the band and his pals, he should retire.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

I am not a big fan of AC/DC at all, but I thought I would go through the majority of the early albums for the sheer facts that: a) I respect AC/DC a lot as being the most influential (and at times important) Australian band ever (not necessarily the best) and b) some of their material is very good. They were the pioneers of the pub rock scene in Australia and to this day are still the best of that rather small genre. I may be oversimplifying everything, but generally the quality of an AC/DC song is dependent on the quality of the guitars – riffs, solos, etc. The other aspects of the band (singing, drumming etc.) are peripheral. However, I don’t want to downplay the importance of Bon Scott, he was a fantastic frontman. I almost subscribed to the theory of “no Scott, no AC/DC” but I couldn’t after I heard Back in Black. I am not a huge fan of Back in Black but it was good enough for me to realise that perhaps Brian Johnson wasn’t so bad. This idea was shattered after hearing the lacklustre For Those About to Rock… and that is where I stopped. That might be a mistake considering that the albums immediately after For Those About to Rock… are said to be much better but there are too many great albums out there for me to be wasting my time and money on ‘80s and ‘90s AC/DC. For now I will just take a couple of good tracks that they did with Brian Johnson (‘Who Made Who’, ‘Thunderstruck’, ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ etc.) but I doubt I will buy another complete album. AC/DC are incredibly frustrating because some of their best tracks (‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ and ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ for example) are absolutely fantastic but they exist alongside garbage like ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’ and ‘There’s Gonna be some Rockin’’. If I had the power to highlight tracks red and blue, every AC/DC album would contain at least one blue track (well maybe not Let There Be Rock or Powerage) and that is a shame. The filler level is always incredibly high on AC/DC albums. Anyway, I found my way around this by making my own Greatest Hits CD, and although I hate the idea of compilations, I don’t want to have to listen to the entire AC/DC catalogue now do I?

Glenn J. Wiener (23.03.2004)

I find this band mildly entertaining at best, and slightly excruciating at worst. If I want hard core rock n roll, these guys will crank it to the max. The evil tones are a bit too much for me. But Bon Scott sure had an edgy style. And even Brian Johnson has his moments in between and sometimes including his shrieking. And the Young boys sure play some crunchy guitars.
Whereas Highway To Hell and Back In Black may be the best material by these guys, I truthfully would go with a greatest hits compilation if anything.

<> (10.06.2004)

I am going to minimalistic. Some great rock songs. A lot of crap. Angus loves the Yardbirds. Good enough for me. Way to go Angus!

Leeroy (11.06.2004)

I recently read your "Introduction to AC/DC". Read the part about posting comments too, and although I'm a big fan of their music I still feel the need to react. I'm not going to criticise your album reviews, that part is too subjective, and, frankly, I didn't even have the will to read it all. Since the site is yours, write what you will (the only thing that made me laugh was giving Powerage and Blow up your video the same rating). Still, there are parts I must comment.
You say AC/DC is an ultra joke and needs to be taken as such to be able to enjoy the music....then you say AC/DC fans are laughable for taking them seriously. I even kindda agree with the first part - most of their lyrics are certainly not seriuos; funny - yes...but I still think ultra-joke is a bit offensive and should be used to describe the circus or something, not them. Especially as sex, alcohol and rock 'n' roll are a standard theme in (hard) rock. They don't take it THAT much further.
However the part about fans.....yup, there are some narrow-minded people who have 89473827432 of their autographs and who act as if they wanna have sex with them, but that's SOME people.
While I love their music I'm not interested in them as persons (only as far as - be alive and healthy, make some more albums and go on tours) and think I didn't lose (at least all) of my objectivity (as you did with the Beatles). Be sure that ratings would be far from all-the-highest if I ever got to review their discography.
The point of this mail is not to put myself in the first plan and say "hey look at me, I'm not narrow-minded", but to point out that probably most of the fans aren't. It's true that DC has loyal fans but I feel it's in the sense of being able to listen to them (along with other music, of course :) for decades, get your kids to like them etc. without the music becoming boring. (and that is a thing to point out - especially today when kids grow with "instant music" and old dinosaurs are being laughed at) I grew up on DC, and although a younger generation and influenced by metal a lot too, I still feel the same flame when listening to them as I felt when starting 6-7 years ago......)
[Special author note: So? It's not people like you that I'm referring to in the intro. It's people who invite Mark Prindle to suck his mother's tits for daring not to like Ballbreaker, and it's an unfortunate, but not a purely coincidental, statistical trend that letters from such people are found on his AC/DC pages far more often than on his other pages. (Well, the Linkin' Park page got flames a-plenty too, but it's not very uplifting to see AC/DC fall into the same category as Linkin' Park even in that one respect). There's plenty of nice, intelligent people who like AC/DC, that's understood and you don't need to prove it to me. Hell, I like AC/DC a lot, and Blow Up Your Video is a pretty cool record. As for "circus", yes, AC/DC are a circus - what's up with the school uniform and the cannons and the bells and the, er, male striptease and the riding on Bon Scott's neck? - but there's nothing "offensive" about it; since when has the circus been offensive by definition? They're highest class circus. That's an honour. That's why I like them so much.]

Charlie Goodrich (29.06.2005)

AC/DC is my favorite band. I love the guys just as much as the next person. However, they do use the same formula for just about every album they make. But hey why change a good thing? I respect your thoughts and enjoyed reading many of your reviews. You obviously know what you are talking about and do a good job. I think AC/DC are better than a C but that is my personal preference and bias. Thank you for telling it like it is for everyone you review. Take care.

Linda (12.09.2005)

Boy, you really don't like AC DC? For someone who usually doesn't resort to personal remarks, you really hit your stride here.
I can agree to disagree with anyone about anyone's music. And what's up with people following AC DC around on tour. Is AC DC hard rock's answer to The Grateful Dead? I wouldn't follow either band around; I have a life, thank you very much. I am not a hard core AC DC Fan, but I really don't mind listening to them when my sons play their CDs. I'm not overly thrilled with Brian Johnson's vocals or onstage persona. He doesn't seem to have much of a personality. Oh, well. Why do I care? You probably don't really want to know this, but my favorites are 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap', 'Moneytalks' and 'T.N.T.' I realize this is extremely rambling, but I am tired tonight. I don't know why I decided to comment, I don't usually. I also do not have any ideas for you. Good luck on getting ideas from people.
p/s the Loch Ness Monster was proven to be a fake quite a few years ago.

Tim B. (07.01.2006)

I've heard the best albums from AC/DC, such as Back In Black and Highway To Hell. After some deliberation I've come to the conclusion that AC/DC were in fact the WORST band to ever come out of the 70s, and to continue wrecking music in the 80s. They are boring, monotonous, emotional-less, and they are so OVERRATED. They rival Led Zeppelin as the most overrated band in history. Both bands are rated astonomically by fans, but in reality produced some of the most dodgy music quality-wise. Deep Purple, Budgie and Black Sabbath TROUNCE AC/DC in every way (not to mention Led Zeppelin).
Budgie jumped on the AC/DC bandwagon, and being the awesome band they are managed to do exactly what AC/DC was doing but way better. Which isn't hard, cos I don't think AC/DC ever even did their unique brand of metal well in any sense. The only good mark they have is that Angus Young is good on guitar, but it's wasted with such inane, boring, pointless music.

Karl (15.02.2006)

I like ACDC I am a fan and not ashamed to say so. I have most of their albums bar a few and I think you nailed it with the reviews they have their good albums and their bad. But don't all bands? i.e. Metallica, Led Zep, Megadeth to name a few.
But over all I think ACDC have their style like all bands and they've done well with it. Gotta give credit where credits due they've been around for what? 30yrs where most bands come and go they've hung in and sold millions of albums and deserve every penny they've made, when you think of the manufactured bands on the radio these days it makes you gringe to think they re making money from lip sync, selling music with sex and promiscuity. But each to there own and everyone is entitled to their opinions.
Anyway ACDC have their fan base I'm one of them and another notch in their belt with me is that they ROCK live sound awesome. Rock on ACDC


Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

I agree that there isn't too much memorable riffs here, and the level of fun is also pretty obscure, but it's not such a terrible start. I am aware that all of their albums sound alike, but this one is just, well, rather forgettable. Of course, it has loud guitars, and I do mean LOUD. The songs are mostly tasty cock rockers (what a friggin surprise) and the ballad 'Love Song' doesn't suck ass at all, cause it's still better than Aerosmith's 'Seasons Of Winter', for example. The best song definitely is 'Baby Please Don't Go' and although 'She's Got Balls' surely isn't a masterpiece, it's kinda enjoyable, at least lyrically. And the rating? I think this album still deserves three stars. By the way, the American release of the album has only TWO songs from the Australian High Voltage, 'Little Lover' and 'She's Got Balls'.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

The first thoughts that come into my mind about this album are “inconsistent, extremely messy and at times generically dull”. For mind the first three songs on the album are the only songs I need from AC/DC, although I am probably alone in believing that ‘Little Lover’ is any good. Even if it isn’t that good I don’t think it deserves to be highlighted blue. I like the bluesy riff and there is nothing terribly offensive about it. ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ is the probably the highlight, and it is all down to the lightning fast guitar work. ‘She’s Got Balls’ features a plodding riff, that I suppose is quite generic, but I can’t work out why I like it so much. But after the first three tracks, the album gets really tedious. It would seem (for me anyway) that there is often a fine line between a good AC/DC riff and a boring AC/DC riff. For some reason I really like the one present! on ‘She’s Got Balls’ but the remainder do absolutely nothing for me. The majority of the tracks are overlong, but the biggest offender is ‘Soul Stripper’. ‘You Ain’t Got a Hold on Me’ just comes and goes leaving little impression. ‘Love Song’ is not that offensive. A long time ago I even liked it. I was still young and naive at that time though. Rightfully AC/DC realised this was not there forte and never tried it again. And last of all is the offensive ‘Show Business’. You can highlight this one blue all you like, but it won’t describe how generically dull the song is. I am fairly sure this type of song had already been done countless times in the ‘50s. What a waste of plastic/vinyl this track is. Overall an 8 is probably a fair rating because after all it does feature ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’.

<> (04.06.2004)

I also find 'Baby Please Don't Go' great and the best song on the album. Fortunately, it (along with some other tracks the American High Voltage left out) can be found on the '74 Jailbreak E.P. So the only two songs missing in my collection are 'Stick Around' and 'Love Song'. They might be completely underrated (or rather UNrated) hidden gems, but I guess not. Saying this, I don't feel like buying an imported copy. AC/DC doing a genuine love song? Let's better not even think about it. Otherwise, I very much agree with your review. Like some guy from Faith No More said, debut albums are often the equivalent of baby photos. An 8 out of 15 I would probably give too, if I would have heard the whole album.


Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

A very satisfactory album. Hey, I would be the first to agree that 'The Jack' isn't exactly awesome, but it's a good power blues song and it's hilarious in the same time. 'Live Wire' is a bone crunching masterpiece, just as 'It's A Long Way To The Top'. That song has it all, power riffs, bagpipes, classic AC/DC lyrics, and it's still quite underrated, which is totally UNFAIR. Other great songs include the thundering speedster 'The Rocker' and the powerful 'High Voltage'. And yes, 'T.N.T.' is also colossal, but I just don't like that "dynamite" solo at the end of the song. This means... four stars.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

The improvement of this album over the first is vast and obvious. Rather than only one good song (‘Baby Please Don’t Go’) I tend to break this album in the following way: three great songs (‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’, ‘T.N.T.’ and ‘High Voltage’), one good song (‘Can I Sit Next to You Girl’), one funny but ultimately stupid song (‘The Jack’) and the remainder being more or less reminiscent of High Voltage. ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ introduces the wonderful riff in each speaker trademark and it features an extremely catchy chorus (come on, everybody knows it) and a catchy bagpipe bit. This all results in AC/DC’s first classic. Not to be outdone is ‘T.N.T.’, and although it is not quite the best, it was a huge song for the band. That is another song in which almost everybody seems to know the words (no matter how idiotic they are). And whichever way you look at it, it would have been great for the drunkards to headbang and stomp their feet to at the pub. I admire the style of riff that is used on ‘High Voltage’, unfortunately it is overused by AC/DC. ‘The Jack’ is funny to an extent, but yes the music is mind-numbing to the extreme. On the Mark Prindle page there seems to be some debate as to whether the song really is about venereal diseases (specifically the clap) or not. AC/DC fans must be really thick if they interpret the song as anything else. And while we are talking about Mark Prindle, why does he praise AC/DC so highly? I almost died when I read his review of For Those About to Rock….
Anyway, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer’, apart from being yet another track with the word “rock” in its title, it just another no nothing track that AC/DC seemed to churn out with ease. ‘Live Wire’ would fall into the same category. ‘Rocker’ is incredibly fast and this would be its only saving grace. ‘Can I Sit Next to You Girl’ may seem much like the other non-classic tracks on the album, but for mind the track is a winner because of the punctuated bass drum and delightful guitar runs in the verses. And that would leave ‘School Days’ which is a completely superfluous track.


Jeff Melchior (20.05.2001)

It may be a little generic, even by AC/DC standards, but one cannot deny these guys' pure, youthful enthusiasm on this record. 'Rocker' is home to the same tired Chuck Berry-type riff that had been done and overdone ad nauseum throughout the '50s and '60s, yet AC/DC put enough energy into it to make it work. The great thing about AC/DC, as compared to their '70s cohorts, was that they were not afraid to play really fast. While much of the hard rock/heavy metal community was satisfied with mid-tempo beats and sludgy riffs, AC/DC recognized what the kids have liked most about rock 'n roll from day one: speed. It was something the punks were realizing at the time, as well.
Not even the Ramones have got this much mileage out of such limited playing experience. 'Ain't No Fun'... has, I swear, all of one, maybe two chords, yet it never loses its momentum over the course of six minutes. Other standouts include the title track, 'Problem Child' and - yes - 'Ride On' - the best example of AC/DC blues so far. Maybe Angus Young was no Eric Clapton, but he's Angus Young, and that suffices quite nicely.

Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

This is a MASTERPIECE !!! Why ? Well, because......... HA HA HA HA !!!! I'M GOING OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAIN !!!!!!! What the hell did I just say ? I wanted to say that the artistic value of this album is just astonishing. 'Ride On' is magnificent and I simply can't believe that it goes so damn fast. The title track is also excellent. Seriously now, I completely agree with you George that this doesn't deserves more than two and a half stars, cause aside of those two songs, this is most certainly their WORST album in the 70's.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

Much like the previous album this one is a mixture of classic tracks and ineffective pieces of filler. I have the Australian version (naturally) and so the classic tracks in this case are the title track and ‘Jailbreak’. You really have to review the Australian version because I think ‘Jailbreak’ might give it an extra point. Incidentally, I actually prefer the album cover for the Australian version. It is a great and funny vision of the Australian pub rock scene, but the American album cover is pretty good too. The comical piece on the album is ‘Big Balls’, but this cannot compete with ‘The Jack’. The lyrics to ‘The Jack’ were not straightforward and require a small amount of your grey matter to function correctly in order for you to understand what the song is about. I can imagine the most dead headed AC/DC fan listening to ‘Big Balls’ for the first time and saying “Hehe! , it’s about testicles. Hehe”. ‘Ain’t No Fun (Waiting to be a Millionaire)’ is so inadequately overlong it hurts. ‘There’s Gonna be Some Rockin’’ and ‘R.I.P.’ are additions to the long line of generic ‘50s AC/DC tracks. ‘Squealer’ and ‘Problem Child’ just sit there and don’t do too much for the listener (unless of course the lyrics and manner of singing ‘Squealer’ is offending which it almost is for me). ‘Ride On’ is much too slow and boring. The only way this album can be salvaged is by the title track and ‘Jailbreak’. I feel sorry for non-Australians who don’t have ‘Jailbreak’ on the album. Which idiot’s idea was it to leave off such a great track? He/she should be shot. It is much in the same style as the classics like ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’ and ‘T.N.T.’ featuring practically the same riff (or one that is very very similar). The title track is a much superior rewrite of ‘T.N.T.’ if only for the improved guitar tone as George mentions. In addition I also have the non-Australian only track ‘Love at First Feel’ which isn’t great, but is above the average level of most of the tracks on the album.


Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

Extremely solid, but not much more than that. Here we have quite a lot of blues, a bunch of stupid lyrics, and overall, just an gigantic quantity of regular, plain FUN. Hey, but that's exactly what people need!!! there's a fair amount of highlights here, including the title track, 'Whole Lotta Rosie', 'Hell Ain't A Bad Place' and 'Dog Eat Dog'. Other songs are also entertaining, but not so explosive and intriguing. And hey, the guitars are just great, especially the lightning-like solos. Four stars, again.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

I was interested in your first statement “Finally, AC/DC start becoming THE AC/DC as people know and like 'em”. I must say in my experience (which isn’t vast and is limited entirely to Australians) people know and like them for their bunch of classic tracks which appear on practically every album in the ‘70s and early ‘80s (except for High Voltage and Powerage). These tracks include ‘It’s a Long Way to the Top’, ‘T.N.T.’, ‘High Voltage’, ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ and ‘Jailbreak’. The point I am making is that AC/DC were already the band that the average person knew about, even if Let There Be Rock is a huge improvement as far as an overall album quality is concerned. In fact, this just might be my favourite AC/DC album. The filler is of a higher quality and the classic tracks aren’t just rip-offs of previous classic tracks. The classic tracks are of course the title track (as it almost always is) and ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’. These two tracks finally prove that Angus Young is a guitar demon with rip roaring guitar work all over the place, and guess what? A completely new riff! Your description of ‘Let There Be Rock’ is great. If you think the lyrics are funny, wait until you see the video clip. Bon Scott is impersonating a priest, bestowing rock upon the people. ‘Crabsody in Blue’ is the comical piece on this album. It is back to venereal diseases, this time “crabs”. And this one actually has a small amount of musical value as opposed to ‘The Jack’ and ‘Big Balls’ which have precisely none. But after that, the remaining songs are filler, but much better filler than the previous three albums. At least they are not churning out lame ‘50s rockers like we have all heard before. They also seem much “meaner and leaner”! . The riff to ‘Go Down’ seems like one they have done countless times before, but the tone sounds gruff and the song has a real powerful quality about it. The same could be said about ‘Dog Eat Dog’. ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ is fairly lame and ‘Overdose’ should be re-titled ‘Overlong’. That leaves ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be’ which is a good song but nothing earth shattering. I wouldn’t highlight it red, but that’s just my opinion.

Glenn J. Wiener (23.03.2004)

These guys would do better on later records. However, this one is clearly second rate. However, the last song, 'Whole Lotta Rosie' is a keeper. Super guitar riffs and edgy vocals make this the CD's prime cut. The title track isn't bad as are a couple other tunes. However, after a while it all sounds the same. These guys would do better with Back In Black and Highway To Hell.

Jean Marlow (17.05.2004)

AC/DC have always been a loud, fast, ferocious, but mainly FUN band, and I really don't think that they take themselves half as seriously as a lot of their fans do. (As an aside, one of the things that we Aussies take most pride in, is that we rarely if ever take ourselves seriously) And this is a fun album. Loud, and a bit raucous, and it really does rock.
When I read through the song list on George's review (before I had read the whole review, that is), I had a moment of panic, because on my copy, I don't have 'Problem Child', but I do have 'Crabsody in Blue'. Which is a really bluesy sort of a tune, with inane lyrics. And the first time I listened to it, I said to myself "where did this come from, and how come I haven't heard it before?" It's good.
The best tracks? 'Let There Be Rock', DEFINITELY; 'Whole Lotta Rosie', great; 'Go Down', 'Hell ain't a bad place to be', all good. Actually, there really isn't anything that isn't worth listening to; nothing I would skip.
They had good music before this, and they had good music after, but this is probably as good as they got. Bon Scott had the most amazing voice, the band are in great form, and I think this is definitely worth playing over and over again. I hope the neighbours like it too!


Jeff Melchior (21.01.2000)

I'm probably gonna get flamed here for in any way criticisizing the Holy Grail of jean-jacketed headbangers everywhere, but I think Powerage is a better-produced and just plain better album than Back In Black and even Highway To Hell. In fact, as much as I like it, I have some serious criticisms of Back In Black, but I'll save them for when George reviews it.
The production is certainly more raw than the Mutt Lange-era discs, but if any band is serviced well by rawness, it's AC/DC. I was actually surprised that George mentioned the bass on this album - actually (aside from a few very well-done visits to the forefront), Cliff Williams is barely audible in the mix. Normally that would be a severe criticism, but as compensation the guitars are so bright, crisp and even chimey (in a really loud way) that it's hard to mind, unless your name is Cliff Williams, of course.
I consider this AC/DC's "power-pop" album (well, many of their early albums could be considered such, but this is the first really well-done one). There's nothing self-consciously menacing here that would push it over into the realm of true heavy metal. The lyrics are more or less about the good and bad points of life on the skids but are more or less light-hearted. Faves here would include 'Rock 'N Roll Damnation', 'What's Next To The Moon' and - ah, heck - the whole thing rules. It's the first AC/DC album I ever bought and it really turned the tide of my opinion of the band. In fact, it may very well be a dark horse good start for many skeptics, especially those who would gravitate more towards the poppier side of AC/DC's sound.

Rich Bunnell (23.04.2001)

Most of the songs on this album follow the "hammer two riffs into the listener's head" a bit more than on the other AC/DC albums I've heard, but I still like it. "Down Payment Blues" and "What's Next To The Moon" are both absolutely terrific no matter what way I look at it - hey, if you're going to repeat one riff for the entire course of a song, it'd might as well be a really good one. The rest is pretty typical, especially "Kicked In The Teeth" and most of the rest of Side 2, but this is still a very enjoyable hard rock record and definitely the one to get if you already own the "big two." 8/10

Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

Yeah, this could be a step back, but still, it has 'Down Payment Blues' ! And 'Kicked In The Teeth' ! And 'Sin City' ! And 'What's Next To The Moon' ! Do I really have to continue? Awesome tunes. Energy level is so high that it seems to me that I'm sitting on a time bomb. An endless amount of beautiful guitar lines, aggressive riffs and, and, and everything! That said, most of the songs really are mid-tempo and kinda overlong, but still, this is very solid. I dunno, three and a half stars, but only because George is right, and there isn't a single 'Whole Lotta Rosie' type highlight here.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

It took me a while, but I finally worked out why there are no classic tracks on Powerage. They forgot to name any of the tracks after the title! Think about it. The previous four album titles (and countless subsequent album titles) have become classic tracks, even if ‘High Voltage’ appeared on a different album. Powerage is easily the most consistent album to date as there are no true classics, but there are no duffers either. The lack of classic tracks can really harm the album though as you can listen to the entire album and not much seems to stick in your head. I think you underrate the new bassist just a little as I see there is a definite improvement in this area, particularly on tracks like ‘Gone Shootin’’ and ‘What’s Next to the Moon’. These two tracks, along with ‘Riff Raff’ and ‘Down Payment Blues’ would be the highlights for me. ‘Gone Shootin’’ relies solely on the bass line, but I cannot complain when it is a really good bass line. In ‘Riff Raff’ Angus Young demonstrates some more inspired finger flashing heroics, but it doesn’t quite reach the level of ‘Let There Be Rock’ and ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’. It is also fast enough to stand out from the mid tempo “sludge” as is ‘Kicked in the Teeth’. ‘Down Payment Blues’ demonstrates some true grit as George said, but I’m not too big on ‘Sin City’. The worst songs would be ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation’ and ‘Up to my Neck in You’ I suppose, but there is nothing truly bad about them. The European version of the album also included a song titled ‘Cold Hearted Man’. This track is slightly slower than the remainder of the album and it is really uninspiring.


Francis Mansell (28.01.2004)

This was the first AC/DC album I got into, at a fairly advanced age (over 30?), and as you say George, it works well as a compilation of pre-HTH material. But I really don't enjoy their early stuff, as you say it tends to go on too long, and they just don't sound disciplined enough to my ears. So like most folks the earliest album that I like is Let There Be Rock. But those early albums did have some decent songs on them, just waiting for better performances, especially "The Jack" and "Problem Child", which are WAY better here than their studio versions. The former gets a slightly different lyric, and some excellent solos from Angus, much better playing throughout in fact ... and shows they actually CAN do a good slow blues (though one's enough, and it's totally inauthentic of course) and the latter, with the tempo and the temperature significantly raised, shows how much better it would have been if they had recorded it for Let There Be Rock, rather than DDDDC. "Problem Child" ROCKS, and Bon is superb, in fact I think this whole album is probably his finest achievement. I take your point about the shortening of "Whole Lotta Rosie", but in every other respect it's such a scorching performance that I can forgive them that. I don't personally think they've ever come close to making a whole album of top quality songs (Powerage, HTH and BIB are probably the best, but even these have obvious filler) but more than half of the songs here are among their best, and the blistering performances raise most of the rest - the only song here I definitely prefer in its studio incarnation is "Riff Raff" (one of their greatest ever) and even that's pretty good, while "Let There Be Rock" and "Whole Lotta Rosie" both achieve an honourable draw.


Rich Bunnell (19.03.2001)

Once you've commented on one AC/DC album you've pretty much commented on them all, but this is definitely one of their most consistent albums. It's the rare case where hiring a sleek heavy-hitter producer actually benefitted the sound of a band, and despite the commerciality, this was a really good send-off for Bon whether they knew it at the time or not. The title track's riff is lifted directly from one of the songs on Powerage, but it doesn't really matter because this one turned out to be a superior song, and AC/DC built an entire career around recycling their old riffs anyway. Not really much else to say - the album rocks, but yeah, it's supposed to, it's AC/DC, for crying out loud. It just happens to rock a little better than most of their other albums. 8/10

Anders Hedman (24.05.2001)

Your least favourite tracks on this album seem to be "Shot Down In Flames" and "Get It Hot", which you imply are more or less the same song. Actually those are two of the three tracks from this album that's being performed live on the current tour. The former pops up on a tour now and again, while the latter has never been performed live before this tour! You like the songs "Touch Too Much" and "Love Hungry Man", which are the band's own least favourites from the record. Malcolm Young thinks "Touch Too Much" was a good song until "Mutt" Lange destroyed it, and it's easy to imagine how "Touch Too Much" probably sounded originaly, as a normal AC/DC rocker. "Love Hungry Man" seems to be loved by none, and the band has said they regret putting it onto the album. Angus is quoted as having said he wrote it after eating a bad pizza, or something like that. Actually if you think some of the songs on this album sound the same, remember that the band actually wrote 40 songs for it and picked the ones that stood out as being most original!

Ratko Hribar (29.10.2001)

WE'RE ON A HIGHWAY TO HELL!!! Boys, but that's simply not true. You're really on a right way this time. This album KICKS such an spectacular amount of ass that I felt the bruises weeks after I heard the album. One of their best albums, period. BUT, the songs here still aren't smoking masterpieces like 'Whole Lotta Rosie'. Good, strong rockers ? Yeah, but nothing more that that. However, cause all of the songs are unbelievably solid, there's no filler here! That's a first. Best song? I dunno, probably the ever-enduring classic 'Highway To Hell', but that's just because it was such a big hit. FIVE stars.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

I used to have a prejudice against this album because I really don’t like the overrated title track. I was becoming disillusioned with everything AC/DC anyway by the time I acquired this album. I had listened to all their early albums, pulling fantastic tracks out of the disgusting sludge of filler, and I was really disappointed with Back in Black. After all the acclaim that Back in Black received I expected the second coming, but all I got was a slightly above average album. It was then that I realised the claim of AC/DC being a great band was probably a myth. Or it was just cool to call yourself an AC/DC fan even if you didn’t like the music (which was true when I was young) meaning that the amount of AC/DC fans out there is exaggerated. This is probably only isolated to Australia though and doesn’t include the diehards that will hate you even if you only make a negative remark about Brian Johnson’s hat. Anyway, this comment really has gone off the boil. I will get back to the album at hand. Highway to Hell just seemed more of the same as the earlier albums, but like Powerage nothing really stood out. I have decided to give it another go, and I will try to approach it without bias. The aforementioned title track just sounds like a prototypical version of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, a song I also dislike. It’s not hard to see why it’s popular though. It is the title track and it has a nice sing along chorus. ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’ is already an improvement of sorts. ‘Walk All Over You’ is overlong, and the stupid introduction that George mentioned doesn’t help matters. ‘Touch Too Much’ does indeed sound like a “corporate rocker”, but I actually like it apart from the chorus in which it goes too far. The chorus actually reminds me a lot of Bon Jovi (which is very bad). It is also overlong. ‘Beating Around the Bush’ is another track that I like apart from the chorus. Well it’s not really a chorus, but the bit where Bon Scott says the title. ‘Shot Down in Flames’ and ‘Get it Hot’ are both very… not quite boring, but we have already heard it all before (how many times can that be said about AC/DC’s catalogue?). ‘If You Want Blood (You Got It)’ would probably be my favourite track here (along with ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’ at least). But it doesn’t hold a candle to past classics like ‘Dirty Deeds…’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’. ‘Love Hungry Man’ has an interesting bass line but not much else, and ‘Night Prowler’ is well… boring. There, I attempted to give an unbiased analysis of the album and I am still disappointed. Give me Let There Be Rock anytime over this album.


Glenn Wiener (10.02.2002)

Whereas I would find it very difficult to listen to this recording in one sitting straight through, I do respect it as a quality sample of early eighties heavy metal. The screeching vocals of Brian Johnson do amplify the dark tone on this record. However, grinding edgy rocker after ax driving heavy song would have me running to the medicine chest for some tylenol. I do like 'You Shook Me All Night Long' and 'Shoot To Thrill' a good deal though and some of the other songs are goofy fun every now and then.

Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

The introductory paragraph to your review on Back in Black is great. I felt much the same about the album, and in particular the sexist lyrics really turned me off. AC/DC have always contained sexist lyrics, but here they went too far. But I don’t feel so badly about it now because I can see that it is part of the AC/DC “joke”. At the time though I thought they were serious and it disgusted and embarrassed me. I wasn’t too impressed with Brian Johnson either but he does a good enough job to convince me that AC/DC still deserve to be an entity. The problem I have is that the album is much like what AC/DC have already released. Some great classic tracks, a couple good tracks and terrible filler is the description you would get for most AC/DC albums and this one is no exception. The two classic tracks (the title track which contains one of AC/DC’s greatest riffs ever and ‘Hell’s Bells’) are fantastic, ‘Shoot to Thrill’ is also very good, but the other popular tracks ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’ are absolute garbage. I can’t even enjoy these pieces of crap in a “so dumb, it’s great” fashion. The remaining five tracks are just standard AC/DC filler quality, even if it is more diverse than usual. Sorry if my tone sounds more aggressive than normal, but that is mostly because this album is gruesomely overrated. It was actually voted the greatest album of all time recently here in Australia (Dark Side of the Moon came third so I wasn’t too unhappy). Much like how George sounds very critical towards bands like Pink Floyd and Yes, but still gives them pretty good ratings, so would I towards this album. Actually the highest rating I could give to this album would be an 11 even if I am tempted to give it a 10. That is only fair considering Wish You Were Here and Close to the Edge were only given ratings of 11. Back in Black is still a pretty good album and I would say it is slightly better than Highway to Hell, mostly because of the quality of ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Hell’s Bells’. However I would rather listen to T.N.T. and Let There Be Rock.


Stephen Rutkowski (17.02.2003)

Now this is really bad. There are ten completely repetitive and unmemorable tracks including the horrendous title track that still became a hit because it is the title track after all. Oh and it’s anthemic. AC/DC fans seem to like that (or AC/DC forced them to like it, I’m not certain). George’s description of the song is perfect, I’m not too sure what else I can add. I am tempted to say that I would prefer to listen to High Voltage rather than this album, but that might be considered harsh. At least the band had the excuse that they were very young when they made High Voltage. The only excuse now could be is that they are too lazy. Almost all the tracks are mid tempo sludge much like Powerage. But Powerage had ‘Riff Raff’ and almost all the tracks offer something exciting like a quality riff rather than these tedious power chords. Or perhaps Bon Scott is better at bringing the mid tempo ‘boring’ songs out of the mire. ‘Put the Finger on You’ showcases AC/DC’s new found ridiculous power pop choruses. In fact, if I was a big AC/DC fan I would be cringing when listening to this track, but since I only have a passing interest in AC/DC there is no need for me to cringe is there? Instead I can just sit there and poke fun at it. If I had my own review website I would get flamed like hell, but I don’t have to worry about that. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, stupid power pop choruses. ‘Let’s Get it Up’ has one too, as does ‘Inject the Venom’ although this one is lesser on the pop side. It’s still annoying though. ‘Snowballed’ offers some respite with real grittiness and speed as George stated, but we have heard it all before. I don’t find ‘C.O.D.’ too gritty though. The verses remind me of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ (not good at all) and the chorus contains more banal and irritating background vocals. The remaining tracks that I haven’t mentioned are much the same as everything that preceded it. Apart from ‘Snowballed’ the first side of the album could be repeated and I wouldn’t even notice. (The only thing that I would notice is the “powerful” (aka anthemic) choruses would contain different words.) Steer clear of this unless you are an AC/DC diehard. (But if you were a diehard there would be no need for you to read this let alone actually listen to what I have to say. In fact who would have the need to read this?)


<> (14.07.2005)

Cocaine ruins your voice Too. No, Phil was NOT the only one smoking 'Pot' as they called it. There were many years Brian just wasn't 'There' Luckily, around the time Malcolm cleaned up his act, most of the band had as well- and Brian started kicking ass again. Live at Donington is as close to Flick voice as Brian could ever get again, as Songs like "Fire Your Guns" can show. It was pretty much done after that.
I've owned this one for years. Every time I listen to 'Flick of the Switch', it's very obvious to me that Brian sings "With a Lick of the Witch!" -Lick Of The Witch She Blow ya Sky High (yea) Lick o' The Witch! -With a Lick of the witch she can Satisfy -Give Ya Pain -Blow Your Brain...... So, Someone was lickin a Witch and she musta been pretty mean n' musky.

Eddy Faust (15.09.2005)

Great review, man. It made me buy the CD and it's blasting from my stereo for weeks. I actually like it better than Back In Black; it's sort of their Exile on Main St. It likewise has a B&W album cover, plus the raw, 'we-don't-give-a-fuck if it doesn't have a pop single' sound and attitude. I used to love AC/DC as a teenager, but as I got into my 20s, I became a little ashamed to love them and sold all of my CDs (with the exception of Powerage and Highway To Hell). In fact, I'm one those clever motherfuckers who used to say, "Bon Scott era AC/DC is all right, but Brian Johnson. No, no!" I even wrote a Powerage review for Stylus Magazine, which I think you might have been making fun of, because I was putting that album above their other albums, soley because it wasn't as "gross" and "lunkheaded". Although I still think you're not giving Powerage enough credit, you're right that people shouldn't justify digging AC/DC on any intellectual ground. Nor should they embrace Bon Scott and not Brian Johnson (at least before his voice was lost). Among the higher echelon of music critics, it's perfectly fine to say you love Muddy Waters and/or James Brown, who are just as musically repetitive and absurdly macho/libidinous in their lyrics. Yet liking AC/DC, probably because of the "Beavis & Butthead" factor, is seen as something only befitting of ignorant white trash. Well, why should roofers and riff-raff have all the fun? Every AC/DC album from Let There Be Rock to Flick of the Switch is worthy of rocking out to. And proudly at that!
By the by, after reading all your AC/DC reviews, it's clear that you think the band is B level. You can't mask the fondness you have for these guys. Hell, you like some of their later period albums, after Brian lost his voice. Just admit it: AC/DC is a great rock & roll band and so great at what they do, they deserve more than a C ranking. Even at their worst, they're not average.


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