Sunday, 6 December 2009

CD Review: For Those About To Rock, by AC/DC (1981)

Hard on the heels of the classic Back In Black, AC/DC return a year later under some pressure to produce a decent follow-up...and fail fairly miserably.

For Those About To Rock is filled with songs that were seemingly not good enough to make Back In Black. Bland, boring, forgettable -- all such adjectives apply. Apart from the title track and a couple of others, this is a CD that is almost exclusively filler. It's a piece of under-cooked steak that is mostly throwaway, inedible fat.

The band try to recapture the magic of Back In Black, but for the most part, the canon on the album is firing blanks, and the inspiration is shockingly lacking. Even the presence of Robert Lange as producer does not help. The songwriting fundamentally fails: the tunes are almost laughably simplistic, as if the band became a parody of itself overnight. It is interesting that Lange never worked with AC/DC again, perhaps sensing that the band had creatively peaked.

The worst comes in the shape of atrocities like Inject The Venom, Snowballed and Breaking The Rules: lazy, meaningless tunes that justify the existence of "skip" buttons on all music players.

The salvageable items are For Those About To Rock (We Salute You), which opens the CD so promisingly with the now famous thunderous canon fire. It has deservedly achieved timeless fame as a true heavy metal anthem. C.O.D. (referring to Care of the Devil) finds a rocking groove that reminds us what the band is capable of. And album closer Spellbound slows down the tempo and removes some of the poor taste with a strong finish.

For Those About To Rock confirms that with huge success comes heightened expectations. The CD suffers mightily in comparison with what AC/DC previously proved that they could achieve.


Brian Johnson - Vocals
Cliff William - Bass
Angus Young - Guitar
Malcolm Young - Guitar
Phil Rudd - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) - 10
2. Put The Finger On You - 6
3. Let's Get It Up - 6
4. Inject The Venom - 5
5. Snowballed - 5
6. Evil Walks - 7
7. C.O.D. - 8
8. Breaking The Rules - 5
9. Night Of The Long Knives - 7
10. Spellbound - 9

Average: 6.80

Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange.
Engineered by Mark Dearnley. Mixed by Dave Thoener.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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