‘Rock or Bust’ is the latest studio album to come from the lair of the hard-rocking AC/DC. With AC/DC, you know what you’re going to get: a thumping beat, raucous riffs and wailing vocals all coming at you like a rolling steam train. The new album is in much the same mould, with their take on heavy blues returning once more. The band have however made use of a slicker guitar sound on this album, and it makes the album much less raw than some of their earlier work. The tone that they used can be seen as a continuation of the sound heard on their previous album ‘Black Ice’, rather than a reversion back to the sounds of their earlier records.
The album kicks off with the title track, and it’s an AC/DC classic; a short sharp opening riff, followed by crunching guitar and a heavy yet lazy drum beat, over which Brian Johnson carries on in the same electric vein of the past three decades.
Other notable inclusions include ‘Play Ball’ for its sizzling breakdown and ‘Baptism of Fire’ for its great groove. ‘Rock the House’ is an exceedingly short song for AC/DC’s standards and has elements of Chuck Berry and a rockabilly beat nestled within it. The album seems to be a combine the very earliest roots of AC/DC with the new slim lined sound of their later albums.
With Malcolm Young now unable to play due to his illness, the band has been able to soldier on, and this is a fitting tribute to an original member who has been so instrumental to the feel of AC/DC over the years. Other troubles have also beset the band, as drummer Phil Rudd has been arrested for drug possession, though the other members of the band are keen to distance themselves from this, the general implication being that he is no longer a part of the band. Overall the album is a solid showing from the band, especially after the difficult period they have endured.
This article was written by Sam Brunt