Albums like LET THERE BE ROCK, HIGHWAY TO HELL, and BACK IN BLACK have long overshadowed POWERAGE in terms of overall sales and popularity. However, song-for-song, POWERAGE is the strongest collection, in my opinion.
Well, to begin with, LET THERE BE ROCK, may contain more well known classics, such as "Problem Child", "Rosie", and the title track. But, it also contains more forgettable material like "Go Down" and "Badboy Boogie". On the other hand, there simply isn't a weak cut on POWERAGE. Plus, the production is better.
HIGHWAY TO HELL and BACK IN BLACK are classics, no doubt about it. However, I feel that Mutt Lange seriously robbed the band of its power with his slick production techniques. Compare HIGHWAY TO HELL to POWERAGE and the songs are about as equally good. But, POWERAGE, while well-engineered, has a rawness and intensity to it that Lange's pop-friendly production does not. HIGHWAY may be easier to digest, but POWERAGE is tougher and more unrelenting.
BACK IN BLACK is automatically docked points in my book because Bon isn't on it. I mean no disrespect to Brian Johnson, but Bon was the definitive AC/DC frontman, hands-down. And, again, I think Lange drained much of the intensity out of some excellent songs in order to achieve a sound that was more easily accepted by the masses. I know, alot of AC/DC fans will argue that BIB sounds "HUGE". Granted, it's very well engineered and produced, but, to me, it sounds way too glossy. This sound may work well for Def Leppard, but it just neuters AC/DC's sound. I think that Young and Vanda had a better understanding of how AC/DC should sound on record.
So, there you go. Take or leave this review, but don't skip POWERAGE.