Rolling Stone - p.1233.5 stars out of 5
-- "[T]he best stuff nearly lives up to their career peaks, especially 'Rock N Roll Train,' where the brothers Young toss fat, slashing chords at each other like knife jugglers."
Rolling Stone - p.94Ranked #41
in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "[With] muscular production and unexpected rhythm change-ups."
Spin - p.873.5 stars out of 5
-- "AC/DC still sound strong and hungry 35 years on, as if they could pulverize riffs in perpetuity."
Entertainment Weekly - p.68
"The Aussie outfit's first album in eight years kicks off with the single 'Rock N Roll Train,' a meaty, medium-paced riff assault with a terrific, growling performance from singer Brian Johnson..."
Kerrang (Magazine) - p.60Ranked #17
in Kerrang's Best Albums Of The Year 2008 -- "The song remains the same, but when it's as good as the one AC/DC have written, it still sounds brand, spanking new."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1024 stars out of 5
-- "It's an urgent, raw, committed and unreconstructed work....A real return to form....Vital and vitalising."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.64Ranked #48
in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2008" -- "[A]n exemplary splurge of monolithic riffage."
Blender (Magazine) - p.723 stars out of 5
-- "'Anything Goes' and 'Big Jack' rev up like fast machines with clean motors."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.783 stars out of 5
-- "'Spoilin' For A Fight' is the kind of hugely infectious fist-clenching, fringe-whipping chant-along at which they've always excelled, while 'She Likes Rock'n'Roll is equally sure-footed..."
Uncut (magazine)3 stars out of 5
-- "On 'Black Ice' itself, O'Brien marshals a sort of militarised hysteria, built around Malcolm Young's dogged tracking of the rhythm section."
Personnel: Angus Young (guitar); Cliff Williams (bass guitar); Phil Rudd (drums).
Audio Mixer: Mike Fraser.
Has any band ever stayed as true to a winning formula as AC/DC? Over three-plus decades, the Aussie quintet never embraced contemporary fads (like '80s ZZ Top with dance music or mid '90s Metallica with alternative rock) or deviated from their air-guitar-friendly ways. Eight years after their previous effort (the underrated STIFF UPPER LIP), the band comes through again with BLACK ICE. With Phil Rudd's muscled, midtempo beats and the Young brothers' inimitable fret interplay, the album is loaded with fist raisers. No less than three songs specifically mention "Rock & Roll" in their titles.
Familiarities aside, there are some wild cards on BLACK ICE. Brian Johnson sings almost wistfully on the stand-out "Anything Goes" over Angus's staccato picking (reminiscent of the "Highway to Hell" intro). Johnson also delivers some surprisingly blues-inflected performances on tracks like "Stormy May Day" and the workingman's stomp, "Money Made." "War Machine" finds them storming into protest territory for the first time in their Hall of Fame career. Like all their recent outings, BLACK ICE was recorded at the Warehouse in Vancouver by alt-rock super-producer Brendan O'Brien whose no-frills, turn-it-up-and-get-out-of-the-way production approach suits the material perfectly.