|By Charlie Goodrich||Friday, 11 Jun 2004|
If Powerage is the buried treasure from the Bon Scott years, Flick of the Switch is the buried treasure for the band under Brian Johnson. For Flick of the Switch, AC/DC wanted to return to the simple hard rock roots that got them were they are today. And they delivered one of the hardest albums I have ever heard outside a purely metal band. The drums bang like thunder, the guitars scream to life, and the vocals shout to a new level of intensity for AC/DC. It’s a great new sound that works quite well.
For people who claim that AC/DC just rewrote the same song over and over again, listen to Flick of the Switch. You can find influences from their past work woven into Flick of the Switch, but for the most part the riffs are original containing a lot of grit. There is a bass quality that the Young brothers utilize to make their guitars bellow. It works well with Johnson’s screaming vocals. The opening track, “Rising Power,” sums up the album nicely. You get the same power and BOOM throughout Flick of the Switch that you do in the staring seconds of “Rising Power.” “This House is on Fire” emulates “Hell’s Bells” by starting off with an eerie riff, but it is a different riff set to a different melody. The title track opens in a similar manner to “What do you do for Money Honey” but has a more inventive riff. While there are similarities, like I said, there is more originality than people would initially think.
The song “Nervous Shakedown” is great to listen to because it has a strong sense of story telling and a cool call and answer vocal style during the chorus. “Landslide” is a fast paced rocker that would be a perfect song to start a gig with. “Guns for Hire” begins with Angus messing around with different guitar tone before the song begins. And begins it does! The rest of the band explodes into an all-out rockfest. “Bedlam in Belgium” is about an experience the band had when a show went wrong much like Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” It’s a great song that exemplifies AC/DC’s song writing ability. “Badlands” is a bluesy piece that reminds listeners Angus and Malcolm grew up listening to blues and they have never forgotten their roots.
If you are looking for an all out rock album that dominates eardrums and refuses to quit, buy Flick of the Switch. It is a tremendous record that goes overlooked far too often. Amazing guitar licks, screaming vocals, and one of the heaviest rhythm sections of all time does not lie. This album kicks your teeth in and then rams them down your throat. And since you could easily find it for $10, why not make a wise purchase?