Ballbreaker: AC/DC

Rating: 80%

Ballbreaker.jpg“Ballbreaker” was released in 1995 and marked the twelfth album from the AC/DC. After finding success with “The Razors Edge”, AC/DC needed a strong follow up. Well, this album kind of fell short of the mark. This album will also set up the model for the next three AC/DC albums.

Musically, this album is very soulful. It’s got a strong Bluesy sound to it, loosing the Hard Rock edge. The sound is much softer and the tempos are much slower. This album is lacking the raw power drive that AC/DC is known for. The album has some very good and complex riffs that one would expect. There’s a good bit of filler songs, but there are some very strong tracks.

The musicianship is very good, especially with the return of drummer Phil Rudd. When you have rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd on the rhythm section, you have the heart and soul of AC/DC. Brian Johnson’s vocals are clean and Angus Young still proves to be that riff master on lead guitar.

Overall, you have an album that is an average AC/DC album. Some of the songs kind of reminds me of the “Powerage” album. It was said that producer Rick Rubin was trying to get AC/DC back to that style of music.

Track listing:

1. “Hard as a Rock” 4:31
2. “Cover You in Oil” 4:32
3. “The Furor” 4:10
4. “Boogie Man” 4:07
5. “The Honey Roll” 5:34
6. “Burnin’ Alive” 5:05
7. “Hail Caesar” 5:14
8. “Love Bomb” 3:14
9. “Caught with Your Pants Down” 4:14
10. “Whiskey on the Rocks” 4:35
11. “Ballbreaker” 4:31


The Razors Edge: AC/DC

Rating: 90%

Razorsedge.jpgIn 1990, AC/DC was back on top with “The Razors Edge.” After a few years of minor hits from “Fly On The Wall”, “Who Made Who”, and “Blow Up Video”, AC/DC has formulated an album that is powerful, balanced, and creative.

Musically, this album features a lot of good tempos and melodies that one would expect from the band. It’s strong, engaging, and full of energy. Although, some of the songs seem to lean towards being filler. The riffs are very good especially on title track and “Money Talks.” The best part of it, the main riff on “Thunderstruck” is nothing more than a guitar lick set to the Mixolydian mode.

The musicianship is outstanding. Brian Johnson’s vocals seem to be a little more relaxed rather than overworked. Angus proves that he can still throw out riffs. It features a very strong rhythm section with Malcolm Young on guitar Cliff Williams on bass, and new comer on drums, Chris Slade.

Track listing:

1. “Thunderstruck” 4:52
2. “Fire Your Guns” 2:53
3. “Moneytalks” 3:48
4. “The Razors Edge” 4:22
5. “Mistress for Christmas” 3:59
6. “Rock Your Heart Out” 4:06
7. “Are You Ready” 4:10
8. “Got You by the Balls” 4:30
9. “Shot of Love” 3:56
10. “Let’s Make It” 3:32
11. “Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck” 3:13
12. “If You Dare”

The Blitz: Krokus

Rating: 90%

Blitz_cover.jpgIn 1984, “The Blitz”, the eighth record was released by Krokus.  This album was one of my first introductions to the band. Just like the cassette version, I found the LP version in an flee market outside Hagerstown, MD.

The musicianship is very tight considering a line up change. You have vocalist Marc Storace, guitarist Fernando von Arb, bassist Mark Kohler, and drummer Jeff Klaven. The instrumentation is solid and well balanced. This album is what Krokus was all about and the musicians nailed.

Musically, the album is very strong. You have faster tempos with the in your face guitar riffs and fast leads. This album has a totally different vibe to it than the previous albums. It’s clean, sharp, melodious, and original. Between this album and “Headhunter”, Krokus is for the most part at the high tide of their career. Vocally, it’s distinctive, expressive, and strong.

The formula of the Blues, Hard Rock, some Pop has paid off for Krokus. You really don’t hear that AC/DC influence, although, the band has shown it’s Sweet influence. The formula could also be that the song writing has improved. Even Bryan Adams helped to write “Boys Nite Out.”

Track listing:

Side one
1. “Midnite Maniac” 3:59
2. “Out of Control” 4:15
3. “Boys Nite Out”  3:38
4. “Our Love” 4:35
5. “Out to Lunch” 4:20

Side two
6. “Ballroom Blitz” (Sweet cover) 4:00
7. “Rock the Nation” 4:41
8. “Hot Stuff” 4:36
9. “Ready to Rock” 4:30

Hardware: Krokus

Rating: 75%

Hardware_cover.jpgIn 1981, Krokus released their fifth album called “Hardware.” This was the follow up to the band’s ground breaking fourth album called “Metal Rendez-vous.” Using the Blues formula mixed with Hard Rock, Krokus is still finding their way to the top. Although, I think they fell a tad bit short with this album.

The musicianship is pretty tight. You have vocalist Marc Storace, guitarists  Fernando von Arb & Tommy Kiefer, bassist Chris von Rohr, and drummer Freddy Steady . Together they throw out some interesting riffs and rhythms combined with some mid level tempos. Overall, the album has some good melodies. Nothing too complex, but tuneful. The overall music at times can be a bit plain and too simple. The vocals are appealing and stylish. The lyrics can be at times weak.

Basically, you have an album that has a few great songs on it, a few bad ones, and the rest that are just average. “She’s Got Everything”, “Winning Man”, and “Mr. Sixty Nine” are the highlights on this album. “Celebration” and the humorous “Smelly Nelly” with it’s cheesy backing vocals kind of falls well short of being even an average song on this album. Although, I do like the music on “Smelly Nelly.” 

Track listing:

A1 Burning Bones 3:34
A2 She’s Got Everything 3:57
A3 Winning Man 5:33
A4 Smelly Nelly 3:38

B1 Easy Rocker 5:27
B2 Mr. Sixty-Nine 3:01
B3 Rock City 4:43
B4 Mad Racket 4:00
B5 Celebration 3:24

Michale Graves Live Performance At Chambersburg, PA

23622136_10213190211928593_6287286406747482904_nI got a chance to see Michale Grave perform at Chambersburg, PA. His performance at Back to the Media was pretty damn good. His acoustical music was top notch as he shared stories about several of his songs. He played “Dig Up Her Bones”, “Descending Angel”, “Saturday Night”, and “Scream” when he was fronting the Misfits as well as others from his solo career.

The performance  itself was very personal and very entertaining. The performance was also very emotional and yet honest.  His guitar playing was amazing as he played songs in several keys. He is a very talented musician and song writer. For an acoustical performance, I thought it was a great show and I walked out with a new perspective of the man.


One Vice At A Time: Krokus

Rating: 90%

Onevice_coverIn 1982, Krokus released their sixth album titled “One Vice At A Time.” It includes the one song that AC/DC could’ve wrote, but didn’t. That song was called “Long Stick Goes Boom.” That’s why when I found this on vinyl, I had to grab it.

The musicianship is outstanding. You had lead vocalist Marc Storace who is really pushing the limits with his vocal style which is more of a mid range style comparable to that of Bon Scot. Then you have the hot fiery guitar soloist Fernando von Arb. This guy knows his way around those frets. The riffs are produced by rhythm guitarist Mark Kohler who’s sound is heavy. Rounding out the rest of the rhythm section is bassist Chris von Rohr and drummer Freddy Steady. 

Musically, you have a mixture of power driven electric and heavy riffs. It sets up the music on this album to be very rich and beefy. The melodies are strong. The downside is they can be at times shapeless as some of the parts are not as original as they could be. I hear some AC/DC riffs as well as some of AC/DC’s lyrics in the chorus lines. “Bad Boys Rag Dolls” has a piece in it that barrows from “Let There Be Rock.” But, maybe Krokus tipping their hat and paying tribute to the band that might have saved their career. The instrumentation is pretty balanced, smooth, and engaging. Overall, AC/DC sound aside, you have a a decent overall record that just rocks! They formulated the Blues sound that is just electrifying.

Track listing:

Long Stick Goes Boom 5:10
Bad Boys Rag Dolls 3:45
Playin’ The Outlaw 4:00
Save Me 4:22
Down The Drain 3:12
American Woman (Guess Who Cover) 3:39
I’m On The Run 3:42
To The Top 4:18
Rock ‘N’ Roll 4:06