EastWest Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez


While we wait for the next AC/DC album, I thought it would be nice to check out the last album put out by the Aussie troublemakers. (Hopefully, we'll see that new album before '99.)

Anyhow, after the success of The Razor's Edge and AC/DC Live, the band had somewhat disappeared from the landscape of rock 'n' roll. While my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Razor's Edge had been much a product of the times, the band decided that the next album would touch back on their earliest times and albums. So the band called on mega-producer Rick Rubin (who's produced everyone from the Beastie Boys to Nine Inch Nails) to helm the production of Ballbreaker.

The album kicks off with the catchy "Hard As A Rock." The song was proof that AC/DC was still much the same band that it had always been - right down to the wrongly-believed misogynistic lyrics. Following it was the just-as-catchy "Cover You In Oil." This song is a perfect example of AC/DC's use of double-entendres. The song is about making an oil painting of a girl - "covering" the girl's body in oil. But that may mean more than one thing - after all, what picture are they drawing?

Hooks and riffs galore are to be found here. From the mean crunch of "The Furor" to the blooze of "Boogie Man," the band is in top form here. The grooves are improved by the return of former drummer Phil Rudd - who left after the Flick Of The Switch sessions. Other anthems include "The Honey Roll," "Caught With Your Pants Down" (for which I always picture Marv Albert and Hugh Grant) and the title track.

Add to that a bit of seriousness that's brought by the songs "Burnin' Alive" and "Hail Caesar" - who would have thought that AC/DC would ever stick a message in one of their songs??? (What do I mean? For example, "Burnin' Alive" is about the mess at Waco. See if you can't catch the references.)

OK, you're saying. What's wrong with THIS album? Well, very little. The biggest problem with it is Rubin's production. While Harry Vanda and George Young's production in the early AC/DC albums was lo-fi, but allowed the full power of the band to come through, Rubin's production is empty and shallow.

Other than that, you can take this album to the bank. Now, where is that NEW album??????

Rating: A-

User Rating: B+



© 1998 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EastWest Records, and is used for informational purposes only.