AC/DC were on a roll by this point in their career. Working together as a unit, they created simple Hard Rock that was mostly predictable, yet very loveable. These guys were an Australian band, led by Bon Scott, who quickly became a Rock legend of singing and persona, with the band following in his wake. This is the first album of AC/DC’s that has bassist Cliff Williams on it. Although this isn’t considered as special as the Highway To Hell or Back In Black albums, it still should be listened to as a retrospective album. Let’s hear it.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation kickstarts the album with some unusual sounding chords and lead guitar playing, quickly launching into an upbeat and very catchy piece of music. Bon Scott’s vocals are high and clear in the mix, and he sings with power and purpose. Instantly, this music is really great to listen to and invites the listener to join the chaotic world of AC/DC. This still sounds really great, to this very day, and it ticks all the right boxes per se. There is a breakdown in the second half, followed by the verses, which is fairly suspenseful. Eventually, Angus Young gets soloing along with repeated vocals and lyrics about the hedonism of the Rock music lifestyle. This ends with chaotic drum rolls. Brilliant work by AC/DC, and a solid start to this album.
Down Payment Blues begins with some open power chord guitar riffs, quickly launching itself into a low-down and interesting section with electric guitars and bass guitar playing along nicely. The dual-tracked riffs then enter, and this piece gets underway. Some simple lyrics are present here, and Bon Scott sings about being poor and broke, and being inspired by Rock and Roll. This is an awesome tune, and although it takes a little bit to get started, it sounds glorious. Obviously, the other star of AC/DC is Angus Young, who plays some mean and expressive guitar solos. This is music made by legends for legends, it simply does an excellent job of what it is musically. In the second half, it goes into a bridge section with chaotic guitars and basslines. An awesome tune, this makes total sense if you are dealing with money issues at any point in your life. Unless you are a millionaire or billionaire, this is very likely. Still, the music on this album is really fantastic and fun to listen to. Bon Scott delivers a great piece of music that still sounds fantastic to this very day. Towards the end, Bon Scott releases a fantastic vocal part, and the guitar chords and fade out conclude this song. Excellent.
Gimme A Bullet begins with a kick drum being repeated, guitar riffs over the top of it, and quickly launches into another classic AC/DC tune. Early AC/DC was absolutely fantastic to listen to, and this is clear proof of that. Bon Scott sings very well in this piece of music, and it is extremely catchy and memorable. A great tune about being a troublemaker, this is effective and awesome. A simple yet great three minute Pop/Rock tune, AC/DC knew that they were on a roll here. Underrated tune, and something worth hearing from AC/DC. It ends abruptly.
Riff Raff begins with some unusual guitar playing for AC/DC on the right channel, followed by bass guitar on the left channel. The rest of the band eventually enters, and this song launches into a great set of guitar riffs. If there ever was an underrated AC/DC album, this would be it in their own back catalogue. The simplicity and playing on songs such as these are fantastic. Nonetheless, Bon Scott eventually gets singing quite nicely, although this track is more of a piece to show off the rest of the band. Some insane shredding is present in this song by Angus Young, and he plays with ferocity and excellence. This is very much like AC/DC’s take on Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll on their famous Led Zeppelin IV album. All the same, this sounds really amazing. Towards the end, Bon Scott returns to the scene, singing away like the legend he is. A really catchy, driven and excellent piece of music, this demands repeat listens. It ends with a load of chaotic instrumentation. Fantastic.
Sin City sounds a bit like Jimi Hendrix’s rarity Dolly Dagger, to begin with, quickly launching into another catchy, straightforward and enjoyable listening experience. This is a really simple, yet awesome AC/DC tune about said location, which is Las Vegas. Of course, this is about running wild in Las Vegas, and the tune is really excellently brilliant for what it is. Towards the middle of the song is an extraordinary guitar solo by Angus Young. At this point, Angus Young was excelling on his chops without a doubt or question. In the second half, the guitars disappear, leaving just the bass guitar, and hi-hats being played. Bon Scott sings about the nature of survival in a world that is full of crooks. Gambling may not be everyone’s sort of thing that Las Vegas is famous for, but this song makes it seem like a joy. Another great tune. It ends with a nice chord progression, excellent stuff.
What’s Next To The Moon begins with some more unusual chords, and rumbling basslines and Bon Scott gets singing away very nicely. A song of devilish exploits, this is not very politically correct. This means that, if you are female and are okay with being treated like a sex object, this song will impress you. Many others would find this offensive today lyrically, but it still rocks hard. Approaching the middle of the song, Angus Young launches into some insane sounding playing, albeit briefly. A good tale of Rock and Roll exploits, this is pretty out there. Still, it works very well. A genuinely decent listen, even for its short running time. Fantastic music.
Gone Shootin’ starts with some basic overdriven guitar chords, before launching into a quirky sounding number that is great. Bon Scott eventually enters with his Rock God voice and storytelling mode at hand. A forward thinking and fantastic listen, this sounds really excellent. A strange lyrical piece, this storytelling mode does sound special and brilliant throughout for Bon Scott. A wonderful and interesting tune, even if it is a little weaker than some of the other songs on this album. Angus Young plays superbly on this song: slowly, melodically and expressively. A very unusual tune, there is some nice and clean playing towards the end, which gradually build up towards the end to something impressive. Excellent work guys, the fade-out is sweet.
Up To My Neck In You begins with some nicely played open chords, some interesting guitar riffs and quickly enters a great and interesting song to hear. Bon Scott screams intensely, and this tune comes alive with the rest of the band following him in his wake. The music here is simple, yet powerful. AC/DC is one of the defining bands of Rock and Roll in this respect. With lyrics referencing women and drinking, this is a real winner of a tune. There is a good guitar solo around the middle here, which sounds rather Bluesy. These songs have lasted well to this day, even if Bon Scott is not around anymore, sadly. After the guitar solo, Bon Scott sings about many things people back in the day would have considered immoral. Less so today, however. A straightforward and impressive tune.
Kicked In The Teeth begins with an extraordinary vocal section by Bon Scott, with the rest of the band using a call-and-response method. This is extremely Led Zeppelin-esque. Soon enough, the music gets going nicely and this is one of the better songs on this album, and brings this underrated Rock album to a decent close. Angus Young plays a really awesome and epic guitar solo that sounds really fantastic. With some brilliant guitar soloing throughout, the music in this piece is outstanding. It must be heard by more people out in the world today. An excellent, wonderful and tuneful way to finish a very good album, AC/DC were just getting started here. Another awesome listen, it ends chaotically, and the album finishes here.
AC/DC had made the right steps ahead on this album release. Chock full of underrated and awesome songs, these guys were obviously aiming for international success, which they did eventually achieve. Bon Scott in particular was a charismatic and excellent singer and it shows here on this album. Should you listen to this? Yes, give it a try, especially if you have already heard Highway To Hell and Back In Black, and you are keen to hear more.
Effective, simple and excellent.