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Rock or Bust: AC/DC’s Latest Installment

By Bendik Sorensen
Staff Writer

Brothers Angus and Malcolm Young started AC/DC in 1973, and quickly gained recognition for their music with hits such as “TNT,” “It’s a Long Way to The Top,” and “Let There Be Rock.” On Dec. 2, they released their 16th studio album, “Rock or Bust.”

Australian hard rock band AC/DC is one of the few bands in the music industry that never seem to stop playing, and is never forgotten. They’re among the handful of musicians, including The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young that just keep churning. Well into their 60s and 70s, they’re still doing their thing, and doing it well.

The album is classic AC/DC, with Angus’ (age 59) iconic guitar solos and Brian Johnson’s (age 67) screaming voice, along with the constant beat of Phil Rudd’s drums and Cliff Williams’ thumping bass. The 11-track album starts off with the title track and single, “Rock or Bust,” and continues in steady form throughout. In comparison to earlier AC/DC, this one feels heavier and more laidback. Songs like “Hard Times” provide the downbeat-feel of the album, but not without contrast, as “Hard Times” is followed by “Baptism by Fire” reminiscing “Let There Be Rock” in the drive and feel of the track. With the obvious presence of the blues, the album is well rounded, and a solid addition to a legendary catalogue.

Lately, the band has gotten a lot of media attention, especially Phil Rudd. Rudd was arrested on Nov. 6 on four different charges: possession of methamphetamine and cannabis, threatening to kill, and attempting to procure a murderer (hire a hit-man). The latter charge has been dropped, due to “inconclusive evidence.” The band has commented that their drummer was acting strange during recording, and they are ready to move on without him. Rudd has not commented publicly.

“Rock or Bust” is the first album made without the band’s rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. Young was diagnosed with dementia, with symptoms starting all the way back in 2008 during the recording of their last album, “Black Ice,” but didn’t retire until late September. Young has entered treatment in a special care home in Sydney. The band has stated in a press release that he will not come back as their guitarist. His nephew, Stevie Young, who has recorded with the band before, has replaced him.

Expect Angus to be running around on stage in his school uniform on a worldwide tour for the new album. Dates for the tour will be announced in 2015.

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