|By Charlie Goodrich||Friday, 11 Jun 2004|
After the release of Flick of the Switch, long time drummer Phil Rudd left the band after a feud with the rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young. So in came Simon Wright. Wright was a fine drummer, but he is not the quality percussionist the band is use to. Wright didn’t possess the rhythm that Rudd had and often played too fast for the rest of the band. Luckily, he left after only a few years to drum for Dio. Bad career move on his part, but I guess he was happy. The other significant change that began with Fly on the Wall was that of Brian Johnson’s voice. It seems his vocal cords had taken a beating since he joined AC/DC because of all the screaming and straining of the voice. Combine that with the rock and roll lifestyle (i.e. massive amounts of booze) and your voice gets torn up. This has happened to Axl Rose, Steven Tyler, and several other lead singers, so it isn’t a rare occurrence. They try to disguise his ailing voice by adding echo effects and reverb. Unfortunately it has an odd effect and sounds overly produced. Nevertheless, this is still AC/DC, therefore, this album is packed with monster riffs and that legendary AC/DC power.
I will be the first to admit that the songs found in Fly on the Wall are not that spectacular as far as lyrical content is concerned. There are some exceptions, however. “First Blood” and “Sink the Pink” are cleverly penned but for the most part it’s simple lyrics. Despite this major shortcoming, each song is unbelievably catchy. The riffs remind listeners why the combination of Angus and Malcolm are the greatest guitar duo to ever grace one band. In addition to this, there are catchy choruses throughout the album, such as “aiiie-yaiieeee-yeouw, SHAKE YOUR FOUNDATIONS!”
It is a shame that Bryan’s voice sounds so torn up. I can’t even tell what he is singing at some points it gets so bad. The only other major flaw is the lack of Phil Rudd on drums. Many do not truly appreciate how great of a drummer he is. He won’t wow you like Keith Moon or Neil Peart, but he has fantastic rhythm and knows when not to play (a quality many drummers do not have- I’m looking at you John Bonham). Luckily, catchy songs and great guitar work mask the glaring weaknesses of this album.