Aussies come short of true 'Ballbreaker'

By Mark Reynolds

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Courteous reader, on Friday, September 29, a forum was held for your benefit. The topic, "AC/DC And Their Future Impact on Young Hard Rock Listeners," was discussed in detail. The band's latest release, Ballbreaker, was compared to previous records in the hopes of creating some sort of gauge by which future generations of AC/DC fans might scientifically chart the band's successes and failures. The following constitutes the findings of a select group of self-styled AC/DC aficionados. Please refrain from any and all air-guitar playing, no matter how inspired you become.

After listening to the first side of "Back in Black," a forum favorite and, dare I say, the cornerstone of many a metal fan's record treasury, we collectively cracked our knuckles and placed "Ballbreaker" into the CD player. As the first track, "Hard As a Rock" filled the room, lap-top computers sprang into life, faxes were sent as forum delegates raced to be the first to have their opinion copy-written. As the cyber-smoke cleared, and eyes met over collapsible computer screens there was no doubt, AC/DC have put out another album and it's as predictable as the sunrise.

"This sounds like Collective Soul!" spat roundtable co-host Lisa Rebel in disgust.

"God, Cliff Williams looks old," I said, looking at the publicity photo.

Ballbreaker isn't a bad record, it simply pales in comparison to older AC/DC records. After years of homage to the band's sound, Rick Rubin has fulfilled a life long dream of producing the real thing. "I hope this sounds like [the Beastie Boys'] Licensed to Ill, man . " Jason Willis exclaimed. Unfortunately, after over 20 years of playing variations of the same blues riff, even super-producer Rubin can't reignite the fire that made AC/DC the legendary rock band they are.

"I don't like AC/DC," Mutato reporter Adrienne "Jailbreak" Walser said. "But I'm from Indiana . you know, AC/DC country."

There was only one track that caught the delegate's collective ear, that being "Caught With Your Pants Down," a fabulous number which one member described as having a quirky Fugazi-type chord progression. This track inspired many in the group to start smoking cigars and swapping tales of past AC/DC experiences. It's too bad the rest of the album is destined to become fodder for Beavis and Butthead cartoons.

"I first heard AC/DC when I happened upon my stepmom's High Voltage 8-track . this is not that kind of experience," delegate K. Rife offered.

"Brian Johnson is like the anti-rockstar . the anti-frontman," delegate Gabe Partlow pondered aloud. "He's fat, ugly and bald."

It is uncertain what AC/DC's impact will be on the next generation of hard rock listeners, but it is certain that they will release another album. Has the band that brought Heavy Metal to dance clubs lost the ability to shake us all night long? Sadly, yes.

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