With a number one album, a Rock Band video game, and a cover of Rolling Stone magazine, 35 years later AC/DC  have hit their popularity peak. Although their creativity might have peaked after 1980’s Black in Black, Black Ice, their 15th studio album proves you can rock almost as hard in your fifties as you did in your early twenties.

AC/DC continue to do what they do best and perhaps the only thing they know how do – raunchy Angus/Malcolm Young blues riffed rock and roll – no ballads, no guest appearances and nothing that isn’t in 4/4 time. And even though bassist Cliff Williams admitted that he “plays the same thing in every song, for the most part,”  AC/DC’s songs may all sound kinda the same, but if we wanted diversity, we’d play Pink Floyd or Zeppelin.

Black Ice’s first single “Rock ‘N’ Roll Train,” finds Angus Young in top school boy form as he flashes guitar squeals and crunching riffs alongside classic background vocals, making this the band’s strongest single since “Thunderstruck.”  Bon Scott era AC/DC is channeled in “War Machine,” with an in your face serving of bass, drums and guitar bursts.

Vocalist Brian Johnson remains in top vocal form in the studio, as his working-man gravelly voice epitomizes blue collar rock and roll. From the dirty blues of “Decibel” to the mighty anthem of  “Big Jack,” AC/DC has lots of new material to craft new live anthems and hone new classics. With 15 songs though, there is a lot of filler, including the obligatory 3 tracks with “Rock and Roll” in the title and a handful of songs that press “boring.”  But nonetheless, Black Ice is the band’s best since “Razor’s Edge,” and for a band who once said “it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, “ AC/DC is certainly at the summit.

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