Thu, Oct 23, 2008 (midnight)
It’s a little absurd to think that it took eight years for AC/DC to crank out Black Ice, since it sounds like it was created by a particularly adept AC/DC-simulating computer. The band’s umpteenth rewrite of Back in Black, Ice is smoothly competent and fun to listen to in small doses, while also being entirely forgettable and superfluous. At 15 tracks, it’s more mediocre AC/DC than anyone really needs, although hearing one isolated track on the radio will probably cause you to involuntarily pump your fist.
Which track? It doesn’t much matter; they all sound basically the same, although Angus Young does break out a slide guitar for “Stormy May Day,” which may well qualify as revolutionary in the world of AC/DC. The band’s blues-influenced hard rock hasn’t changed in decades, and that’s not necessarily a problem; certainly a wildly experimental AC/DC album would be a disaster.
But Ice is little more than an excuse for the band to hit the road again and play their legitimate classics (of which there are many). Produced by rock stalwart Brendan O’Brien, it’s a bit more laid-back and a bit less burdened by lame lyrical double entendres than the band’s last couple of albums. The best you can say about the album, though, is that at this point in AC/DC’s career, at least they’re not embarrassing themselves.