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AC/DC

Powerage

Review by Gary Hill

I know AC/DC really didn’t climb to the heights of superstardom until Brian Johnson was their singer. For my money, though, Bon Scott is the main man. Honestly, I don’t think anyone in the world sounds like Bon Scott did and the world lost a real talent when he died. Powerage might be their fifth album, but for my money it might also be the best with Bon Scott. Yeah, I know, Highway to Hell – that’s a great disc, but I like this one better. Besides, Powerage has “Sin City” which is my favorite AC/DC song of all time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Rock 'n' Roll Damnation
Although there is a lot of punk and hard rock in the mix here, some of the guitar hooks feel a bit like power pop. Still, once the vocals hit this is classic AC/DC hard rock. This is not my favorite song of the set, but it does a great job of bringing listeners into the powerhouse that is about to unfold.
Down Payment Blues
A rather stripped down and very bluesy jam this is just plain killer. It’s one of my favorite cuts on show here and has a great riff and some awesome musical elements. The guitar solo is classic AC/DC.
Gimme a Bullet
Another classic AC/DC grind, this is a great, if rather understated tune. It might not be a sheer highlight of the set, but it’s still strong. 
Riff Raff
This one is a powerhouse energized rocker. Angus Young’s guitar gets an extended showcase early, but Bon Scott really steals the show and makes this one happen. 
Sin City
My all time favorite AC/DC song, this showcases a bluesy hard rock jam with some punky guitar soloing. The drop back to a moody bass driven movement is just plain awesome. This track by itself is worth the price of admission here. 
What's Next to the Moon
While in some ways this is not an especially strong cut, there’s something about the little repeating riff and the powered up later sections that just works really well. I like it a lot even if I can’t pinpoint why.
Gone Shootin'
Not a bad song in the least, this just isn’t all that spectacular. If there’s a forgettable one here, it’s probably this one. That’s really more about how strong the rest of the stuff is, though. 
Up to My Neck in You
At its core this is an old school rock and roll jam, but just like Spinal Tap’s amps, AC/DC turn it up to 11. It’s a real fast paced screamer that works very well.
Kicked in the Teeth
This is musically and lyrically angry. It’s a real powerhouse and a great way to end things on a high note.
 
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