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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on August 28, 2001
Welcome to 42 minutes of nonstop macho mood music. If the gods of Valhalla ever go on Spring break, their soundtrack is Back in Black: ten testosterone laden paeans to sex, booze, and more sex and more booze. Some listeners will stop at that: they'll either revel in this music, or they'll deride it as jock rock. True, AC/DC never were a complicated listening experience. Hey, more power to them. But this album's musicianship deserves special mention. Mid-tempo three-chord rock has to be played superbly, otherwise a band ends up in Spinal Tap territory. And AC/DC really is superb. After 20 years, Back in Black still sets the standard for perfection. You'll find no lengthy solos or other standard self indulgences. Instead, the playing is the tightest you'll ever pray for. Guitars, bass, and drums are fused into one fat shiny metal hammer, swung by Thor himself with gleeful abandon. And the sound's richness is to die for. The timbre of the guitars, the dense compact chords, the rhythm breaks ... everything, everything is calibrated and dosed to perfection. Only in the baroque music of centuries ago will you ever hear such awe-inspiring discipline and restraint, distilled into music that sounds deceptively simple. Back in Black's ensemble production means you don't get a lot of memorable individual solos, hooks, or lyrics (for that kind of radio fodder, certainly you should check out early Van Halen or Led Zeppelin.) Instead, AC/DC is a unibody rock machine designed to attack your senses as a single, ferocious, self contained unit. If you're in a macho, happy mood, and you need a soundtrack to sustain it, then Back in Black is definitely the album for you. Have a drink on me.
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on May 24, 2001
The essence of a great rock n roll band is the ability to drive a beat at breakneck pace,shatter the ear drums and create a sound that makes you think like every other act around is a copy of that particualr band...or simply put,the essence is to sound like AC/DC,pure and simple. This is one of the truely great rock albums of all time,and after 20 years it sounds as fresh today as ever.From the opening ominous toll of the bells in *Hells Bells* to the fading chords of the rock anthem,* Rock n Roll Aint Noise Pollution *this delivers near perfect guitar rock on all levels. From the spotlighted hard and relentless blues based power chords and frantic solos of Angus Young to the tight and machine gun like powerhouse rhythms of Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams providing the basis for the screeching vocals of Brian Johnston and rhythm guitar mastery of Malcolm Young..ever song is memorable.The production of Robert Mutt Lange was sharp and allowed this roller coaster of a band a free hand to rock on. I personally believe that this was the bands finest moment,especially relevant as it followed the untimely death of the former front man and singer Bon Scott.Most bands would have folded after such a disaster,but not the pub rock veterans..they produced this master piece. The three readily recognizable songs.*You Shook me All Night Long*,*Back In Black*and *Rock N Roll Aint Noise Pollution* are superb,but do not overshadow any of the other tracks.Each song flows into the next like the bullets emptying from a magazine and songs like*Shoot To Thrill**Have A Drink On Me*,and *Let Me Put My Love Into You*could easily have been singles and are as strong as they make this collection complete. Consistent,relentless,loud,aggressive,and primal describe this collection,and if *Thunderstruck* had of appeared on this CD,then it would have been the greatest rock album ever recorded. It stayed in the upper reaches of the charts for well over 100weeks..and somewhere in there ever since..It has stayed in my mind, the frontrunner of hard driving guitar based rock ever since.There is not a band pumping out three chord,ear shattering heavy metal music that doesnt owe something to AC/DC.They delivered in the studio on this one and have Live ever since.Buy the video of the Donnington Concert in 1991,and experience what tribal interaction is all about..Phil Rudds absence aside. The preceeding two releases *Let There Be Rock* and *Highway to Hell*were leading up to this masterpiece.To fully appreciate this CD,buy and listen to these,and then unleash *Back In Black*. AC/DC have remained fashionably unfashionable and fad free.Angus Young stood up to the plate after Bon Scotts death,they havent looked back since. This is the ultimate value for money CD,buy it at any price.Everyone needs this in their collection..put it on at a party at full bore ..and just let yourself go...a kicking [tail] recording...they are Australia's best musical export..5 stars easily.
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on April 30, 2001
This record (yes I bought it on vinyl in February 1981) changed my life. Listening to this album is almost like a religous experience for me. Before this my idea of rock'n'roll was Chipmunk Punk. I had never heard anything like this (and neither had my parents) and still haven't. Not a weak note on the album. Who are these people who try to sound so highbrow by claiming that AC/DC's music is simplistic? Some musicians even get on here and say things like "they only play three basic chords." Boy I'm sure glad they're here to explain these things to us. As if any of it mattered. How many albums have THEY sold? Have they released an album? Didn't think so. There are much more "talented" or "musical" bands out there but they couldn't write a kickass song to save their lives.
Guitar Player magazine named this album the 5th best album of the 80's and I think their review of it said it better than I ever could. Here is an edited version of the review, "Back In Black, performed by the brothers Young is a terrifyingly brutal metal record, containing some of the heaviest guitar sounds ever committed to vinyl. Songs like Hells Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long and the title track sound like they were performed by a pack of crazed wolverines touched by the hand of God. You've heard of rhythm and blues? This is rhythm and bruise." Nuff said.
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on April 27, 2001
1980 was a year when we lost some true music giants. John Bonham, the legendary powerhouse drummer of Led Zeppelin, died on Sept. 25, 1980 after an all-day alcohol binge. John Lennon would be shot and killed three months later on Dec. 8, 1980. But the first rock tragedy of 1980 happened when AC/DC's original lead singer, Bon Scott, died in Feburary the same way Bonham would die (drink too much alcohol, fall sleep, choke to death). A lot of people thought that AC/DC would just quit and vanish like thin air.
They thought wrong. The hard rock legends rebounded with raspy-voiced singer Brian Johnson (who sounds eerily similar to Bon Scott) and made an album that stands the test of time. The result? BACK IN BLACK, one of the best hard rock records ever made. What can I say that hasn't been said all ready? This album is an absolute masterpiece, 42 minutes of raunchy, bone-crushing, three-chord heavy rock that is one of only three albums I have that contain NO bad songs (the other two being Led Zeppelin's first album and the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band").
The reason this album is so brilliant is because of how mind-bogglingly simple it is! Even though Angus Young is only playing three chords, his guitar solos are so awesome that he sounds like he's doing a lot. Enough of that. Let's get to the album. It begins with the scary "Hell's Bells," an ominous track that starts with ringing bells as Brian Johnson's menacing voice and Angus Young's guitar riff slides in. "Shoot To Thrill" is the most energetic tune about violence ever written. "What Do You Do For Money Honey," "Given the Dog a Bone," and "Let Me Put My Love Into You" show AC/DC at their raunchy best, as Brian Johnson's humorous sexual metaphors set the tone.
"Back In Black" and "You Shook Me All Night Long" are the well known songs off the album (and two of the best rock tracks PERIOD). "Have A Drink On Me" and "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" are great as well, but the BEST song on the entire record is "Shake A Leg," a song that starts with a slow drum groove courtesy of Phil Rudd and then pauses and then leads into a driving, intense guitar riff that never stops until the song is over. This is an excellent pump-up song and the ultimate headbanger's tune.
With powerful guitar riffs, killer bass/drum rhythms, and the catchiest lyrics around, BACK IN BLACK is one of my favorite albums and one of the best rock albums ever recorded. Hey, it didn't sell 19 million copies and become the sixth best-selling album of all time for nothing!!
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on November 19, 2000
The boys from Australia have never disappointed an audience. When sriking the opening chords to a song from Back In Black, arenas explode. Angus stands front, center, with a single spotlight illuminating him as he creates raw energy. Back In Black screams to the world that AC\DC IS ROCK 'N ROLL! This album is one for the fans. Picking up after the devastation of Bon Scotts death; Angus, Brian, Malcolm, Phil, and Cliff, went on to take over the world. One nation under rock. They're final screaming words on this album tell anyone with a pulse that rock 'n roll is "never gonna die!" This album starts with a bell and ends with a bang. It's one gigantic party from beginning to end. An avid AC/DC fan, I find NO flaws on this disc. The success of this album is widely recognized. "You Shook Me All Night Long" was nominated on VH1's "The List" as one of the greatest rock anthems of all time. It also recently appeared in Rolling Stone and MTV's Pop 100 list. A list of the greatest songs in the last 4 decades. May Angus, Brian and the boys be praised. Brian had big shoes to fill and he did just that. AC/DC will always be divided between the Bon Scott era and the Brian Jonson era but, They picked up where the left of and never left our heads un-banging. AC/DC has bragged that they've got the biggest balls of them all. On Back In Black, they prove it to the universe. Come listen to the greates album of all time!
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on October 24, 2000
This is the album that launched AC/DC into mainstream success. "Highway to Hell" got em started, but this has all their big hits. It brought us songs like "Hell's Bells", "You Shook Me All Night Long", and the title track, all of which are great. There's nothing overly brilliant about this album, the music is not especially technical (although Angus does come up with a good solo now and then), the lyrics are pretty meaningless, and there's no melody at all, and yet there is something strangely irresistible about it. It's good to move around to, and it just fills you with energy. A little bit of melody would be nice, though, all the hard rock legends have melody in their music (Zeppelin, Sabbath, Aerosmith). But, oh well. Although I prefer "Highway to Hell" (the only other AC/DC album I have), and it's not the best album of 1980 (that would be Ozzy's "Blizzard of Ozz", followed closely by Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell"), "Back in Black" is still a sure thing for those who like their music heavy.
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on August 20, 2000
"Back In Black" may not exactly be the best rock and roll album of all time, but it is hands down the best album of AC/DC's career. That they cut it in the immediate wake of Bon Scott's death, while the band was well enough still in mourning, makes it even more striking an achievement. But - and I know, this will likely infuriate Scott's fans - as critical as Scott was to helping make AC/DC's reputation and niche, Brian Johnson, his reluctant replacement, is simply a better singer and a slightly less solipsistic lyricist. Factor in that the band consciously elected to make a kind of memorial to their late singer and you've got a powerhouse that clicked with people who probably never gave them a second thought previously. (Nearly every one of the band's previous albums caught a second wind of sales on the power of this one.) "You Shook Me All Night Long" cracked the Top 40 in the U.S. for the first time in AC/DC's career, and they earned it. The title track is wholly worthy of the best side of Scott; and "Let Me Put My Love Right Into You" is a masterpiece of schoolboy lust which immediately kicks the band onto the level Scott, vital as he was, only dreamed of kicking. Say if you must that they kept on improving but never say they got better: AC/DC just doesn't GET better than this album. Unless you've heard practically any of their live albums, and know that where these guys nail it best is in a concert performance.
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on August 5, 2000
After re-discovering this band with 1990 The Razors Edge, I dusted off this album (picked up in a bargain bin about four years ago) and gave it another listen. This time I've learned to disregard the very mindless nature of AC/DC's lyrics and simply listen to the guitars, and I was quite stirred. Beneath the party-band stylings lie darker touches: The ringing, signature riff of "Hells Bells" is almost melancholy, and "Back in Black" may be a classic anthem for headbangers, but there's an aggression in the way Brian Johnson's shouted vocals interact with the Young brothers' grinding power chords that suggests something more than just an energized romp. But it *was* "You Shook Me All Night Long" that became the band's biggest pop hit, a feel-good riff monster that became the album's flagship.
I believe that AC/DC could have retained its bare-bones basic approach to rock and roll without sacrificing the lyrical front the way it has throughout its whole career. But when Malcolm and Angus Young start pounding those catchy guitar riffs, I find it easy to overlook the faults.
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on July 30, 2000
If you haven't bought this record yet, then obviously you are new to rock. AC/DC's power chords have become their trademark, and with a large following in virtually every continent the band is one of the most recognized hard rock band throughout the entire world. 'Back in Black' is the album that brought about the peak of the aussie band.
Largely known for its classical tracks 'Hells Bells', 'You Shook Me All Night Long' and the title track, this record's other 7 songs are a great listen as well, thanks to the great song-writing of the Young brothers. Making his debut on this record as the new vocalist for AC/DC is Brian Johnson, whose voice is now one of the most recognizable voices in rock. Angus Young's simple-but-awesome combinations of just a couple of power chords rock the speakers, and the the true rock lyrics that talk about sex, alcohol and rock 'n roll make the songs complete.
'Back in Black' has sold well over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone, and stands as one of the best rock albums of all time. This album is a great introduction to hard rock, as it is the best record of one of the best rock bands of all time.
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on July 15, 2000
When AC/DC's original lead singer Bon Scott died after the band had reached it's peak with their other masterpiece Highway to Hell many people thought the band was over. Little did they know that the next year AC/DC was going to release a tribute to their deceased singer that would become one of the greatest album ever recorded. It also introduced new lead "screamer" Brian Johnson.
The first song on Back in Black is Hells Bells. It is in my opinion one of their greatest songs. It has kind of an eerie feeling to it. The next song Shoot to Thrill is AC/DC just rockin.' Angus kicks off the song with cool guitar riff (yea it's only 3 chords.) Thats another thing, I'm really sick and tired of people saying how Angus only know 3 chords and that he's a bad guitar player. As a guitar player myself I've always felt that it's not what you it's how you use what you know, and that's not even the case with Angus. He's really an amazing guitar player especially on the earlier AC/DC albums. Ok now that I've addressed that...back to the music. The put it plain and simple this album rocks. There are no power ballads or any rock cliche's. It's pure blues rock. What You Do for the Money Honey, Given the Dog A Bone, Shake A Leg, and Have A Drink On Me are amazing rocking songs. Two of AC/DC biggest songs, Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long are also on this album. These songs like the rest of the album are truly amazing. The greatest part about all of this is that 20 years later the songs are still in heavy rotation on many radio stations. For first time listeners this is definately the album to get and as far as AC/DC fans if you don't have Back in Black there's a problem. I also reccommend for first time listeners Highway to Hell, Let There Be Rock, Stiff Upper Lip, High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and For Those About to Rock.
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