November 11, 2020 AC/DC – Power Up (Album Review)
Ageless souls and timeless music, the incomparable AC/DC is taking this year by the you know what with the release of their brand new album, Power Up, set to drop on Friday, November 13, 2020 via Sony Music.
Dubbed the Thunder From Down Under, AC/DC are one of the most charismatic, earth shaking, bad ass Rock-n-Roll bands to ever step on stage and show the world what being a Rock god is all about. As told via the infectious riffs of Guitarist Angus Young, AC/DC’s brand of hard nosed Rock-n-Roll music has stood the test of time.
A staggering six decades into the legacy of AC/DC, mighty tracks such as “T.N.T.,” “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” “Hells Bells,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” and “Highway to Hell” continue to be staples of Rock radio across the globe. Some may not even realize this, but AC/DC’s classic, 1980’s Back in Black, is not only one of the biggest selling albums in Rock history. Back in Black has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, making the LP one of the biggest selling albums in music history – right behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Leaving an undeniable mark on Rock, countless bands, solo artists, music fans, and people from all walks of life have listed AC/DC as one of their biggest musical influences. Now, as a new generation of Rock fans discover AC/DC, the Rock youth of 2020 can see that even after 40 plus years, you can still go out and make music your own way, whenever you damn well please. In the last 20 years AC/DC has slowed down on releasing an album and touring every few years, so when they do return, it is that much sweeter. In the last 20 years alone, AC/DC has taken on a more Blues Rock approach with albums like 2000’s Stiff Upper Lip, 2008’s Black Ice, and 2014’s Rock or Bust.
Produced by the legendary Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots), Power Up comes as no surprise to fans, though there have been some challenges along the way. Sadly, founding member and Rhythm Guitarist, Malcolm Young retired from AC/DC in 2014 due to illness. Keeping it in the family, Malcolm’s nephew, Stevie Young, took over for his uncle and remains in AC/DC today. Around a year later, the voice of AC/DC, Vocalist Brian Johnson went through some hearing issues and had to leave the Rock or Bust tour. This left many to wonder if Johnson would ever perform with AC/DC again. Luckily, Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose was able to fill in for the remainder of the tour. Then, Bassist Cliff Williams retired in 2016 while Drummer Phil Rudd went through some issues of his own.
Sadly, Malcolm Young passed away in late 2017, however, Malcolm’s death would inspire AC/DC to take one more “Shot in the Dark” at making music together. Sometime in 2018, rumors began to swirl that Johnson, Williams, and Rudd had been secretly recording with Angus on a tribute to his late brother Malcolm. For more than a year those seemed to just be rumors until Fall 2020, when AC/DC remerged from the shadows with the announcement of Power Up and the new single “Shot in the Dark.”
12 new pieces of Rock, Power Up was introduced by the smokey, classic AC/DC sounding single, “Shot in the Dark.” Opening up Power Up, “Realize” offers a dynamic Phil Rudd drum beat and the well known rhythm of AC/DC. One of the most different AC/DC tracks, “Through The Mists of Time” is an emotional sounding tune, one of few in AC/DC’s catalog. If you’re looking for the well aged AC/DC sound, “Demon Fire” is a more melodic track as the sound grows sinister before Cliff Williams’ subtle bass line intros “Wild Reputation.” For overall sonic atmosphere, the best has to be “System Down” and an opening sequence that will grab you like a big movie score. Lastly, “Money Shot” and “Code Red” provide the right energy and methodical melodies to close out Power Up.
Overall, AC/DC is a band who could do no wrong. Though long time fans may not find everything they love about Back in Black or Highway to Hell on Power Up, it is not meant to be those albums. This is a tribute to their fallen brother, the late great Malcolm Young. And in essence, Power Up is a testament to the fact that death, retirement, legal issues, and loss of hearing cannot stop the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train” that is AC/DC, and nothing ever will. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock awards Power Up 3 out of 5 stars.