|By Charlie Goodrich||Friday, 11 Jun 2004|
How do you follow up a great album like Razors Edge? Not like this boys. Not to say Ballbreaker is bad, it just lacks constancy. Regardless of the inconsistency, there are some positives to be found. The first is a very bluesy sound. One thing I love about AC/DC is their love and devotion to the blues. They never have forgotten where rock and roll comes from. Second, Phil Rudd has returned to man the drum kit. Only a few drummers can match the rhythm and timing of Rudd, therefore, having him back was like returning a keystone to an arch. It is there for support and makes for a solid structure. If only his return could have accrued on a more worthy album.
One difference with Ballbreaker is the lack of any fast tracks. Of course there are no slow jams on an AC/DC album, but the speed found on the previous two albums is not present. The slowdown does seem to benefit some tracks like “Burnin’ Alive,” “The Furor,” and “Hard as a Rock.” Each of these tracks has a nice build up and each gets moderately fast but nothing blazing. On the other hand, we have “Boogie Man,” “Whiskey on the Rocks,” and “Ballbreaker.” The pacing and melody for these songs seems out of place and distant. They aren’t bad songs they just fail to find a nitch on this album. If I want slow songs with a touch of blues I’ll go to Clapton. It’s just not AC/DC’s mo.
What do you have if you have some good rock tracks mixed with some all right ones? You have an album that gets lost in the shuffle. This album did sell well initially but it isn’t one of their stronger showings. I don’t know what else was released in 1995; frankly I don’t care, but this AC/DC album gets lost. Once again check this out if you want something different from AC/DC as opposed to the big albums.