AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Epic Records
Classic Hard Rock
10 songs (41.38)
Release year: 1979
AC/DC, Epic Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Its time to go old school, baby! Time to dig up some roots and look where much of this metallic mayhem we embrace every day got its first sparks. Its unnecessary for me to delve more in the fact that the most influential roots were laid in the threesome of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple in the late-60s to early 70s – you know that at least enough to find out about it yourselves. But in my mind, all of these bands had a certain element of complexity and progressivness to them, especially after a couple of albums into each bands career. If we start to think about simple, bare-bone, jaw-crunching hard rock that didn’t try to be anything fancy or artsy, but just was out there to rock like hell, what do you get? I don’t know about you, that’s up to your comments which I hope you will leave to the bottom, but I get two bands that started in the mid-70s. I get KISS and I get AC/DC. Of course there were The Rolling Stones and The Whos even earlier, but Im a young fucker and I know the aforementioned better. So sue me:) Bands that were the very basic of a rock band and bands that would define the concept of two guitars, bass, drums and powerful vocals for millions of wannabe-rockers to come.

AC/DCs fifth studio album, Highway To Hell, was the one that lifted the band to world-wide attention and success, be it in the eyes of record-buying rock fans or stick-up-their-asses religious numbnuts. The basic formula behind the music was pretty much the same since the debut High Voltage: Play loud, Play hard and Play fun. Singer Bon Scott sure as hell didn’t have the most beautiful or technically accomplished voice in the world, but man could the guy scream a tune. And MAN did it suit the music well – a whiskey induced cat-in-a-blender-croon never sounded this good. One the most revered guitar-duos in western music, the Young brothers Angus and Malcolm, churn out unbelievable amounts of the most catchy and hardest riffs in hard rock history and bassist Williams and drummer Rudd provide one of the most concrete and well-disciplined rhythm sections ever. The songs are very basically all about livin it up, WAY up. Blatantly sexist, extremely indulgent when it comes to booze and babes and unabashed in its tales of crime and the hard life – in a way it is not wonder that AC/DC was one of the biggest targets of “moral guardians” for so many years. Even though the tight-wads didn’t consider the fact that in these tunes, the bad guy always pays his dues in the end. Just as Angus said in an interview when asked if the bands songs have any message: “Our tunes have absolutely no serious message to them. We make music that is fun to listen to, that is good for dancing and partying!”

If you are a rock fan, you most probably have not been able not to hear the legendary title tune that starts off the album. This song pretty much defines “rock anthem” like no other song. The instantly recognisable riff, the shout-out choruses, Bons manic, high-pitched screaming and Angus´ scorching leads make up one hell of a classic. When Angus runs that pick slide through the fretboard in the end of the song, its like the road is cleared up straight to the flaming pits of party below, the breaks have been dismantled and the gas pedal is floored. From here on the only thing that really needs to be mentioned as differentiating is the tempo of the tunes. For speedy driving-music, one needs only to pop Girls Got Rhythm, If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) or Shot Down In Flames (the ultimate break up song - hey, sometimes a guy just gets the boot but this tune makes it rock:) on and hit the clutch. Or for more bluesy, slower, moody pieces just rip out Walk All Over You, Love Hungry Man or Night Prowler, grab that bottle of scotch and start to wallow in the smoke-filled atmosphere that pours from the speakers. Just about on every track, Angus blows out the roof with his nasty, melodic solos before another rollicking chorus comes along with the piledriving riffage to cause the fists and voice to raise up like the clichéd Phoenix of power metal anthems! Mutt Langes stellar production puts special accent on the growling guitars and shouted gang-choruses, giving the super-catchy tunes even more accessibility and heaviness (yep, those two words can actually exist in the same sentence).

Highly simplistic, no frills-rock rarely got this good. As you all probably know, this was AC/DCs final album with the iconic Scott, after he led the rock n roll life to the premature end and entered the Highway To Hell. Even though I am also a big fan of the Brian Johnson era, to me this is the quintessential AC/DC-record. For hard partying and fun times, I encourage all to enter this audial road of riffrock, and never look back.

Killing Songs :
Every Second Of The Audial Celebration And Party That Blasts Out (preferrably at full volume)!
Aleksie quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by AC/DC that we have reviewed:
AC/DC - Let There Be Rock reviewed by Phil and quoted 97 / 100
AC/DC - Black Ice reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
AC/DC - Stiff Upper Lip reviewed by Danny and quoted 90 / 100
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