Album review: AC/DC’s ‘Rock or Bust’


Two and a half stars

AC/DC Rock or Bust

Veteran rock band AC/DC has been in the news lately more for personnel issues (guitarist Malcolm Young’s departure for health reasons, drummer Phil Rudd’s arrest) than for its music, but new album Rock or Bust ignores all that and gets down to the business of churning out riff-rockers. Sadly, churning out is the best the band can manage, even with songs constructed from riffs that Malcolm Young worked on before leaving the band (expanded by his guitarist brother Angus). There’s never been much variation in AC/DC’s meat-and-potatoes rock, but Rock or Bust is almost entirely forgettable, with interchangeable songs about rocking, partying and rocking while partying. The mildly catchy “Play Ball,” crafted for TV baseball broadcasts, can’t even manage some signature AC/DC double entendres. “Baptism by Fire” and “Rock the House” both start out strongly with vintage Led Zeppelin-style riffs, but both end up in the same place by the end. Rock or Bust isn’t a total bust, but it rocks only in the most basic sense.

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