AC/DC PWR UP

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PWR UP is the seventeenth studio album by Australian rock band AC/DC, released on 13 November 2020.
Angus Young – lead guitar
Brian Johnson – lead vocals
Phil Rudd – drums
Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals
Stevie Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Columbia
Sony Music Australia
Producer
Brendan O’Brien

This latest effort from Australia’s legendary hard rock group is perhaps their best work since 1980’s “Back In Black”.

Decades ago, the loss of singer Bon Scott was thought to be their end. All the years in between AC/DC have proven nobody can ever count them out.

There have been solid outings like “Black Ice” and “Rock or Bust” in recent years.

This time round they once again had a lot to prove to themselves as well as fans. Singer Brian Johnson’s future was in doubt on the last tour which was completed by Guns N Roses vocalist/lyricist Axl Rose when he had hearing issues.

This release is the best news ever for any fan of the group. It brings most of the “Back In Black” line-up back together. On the inner sleeve above the band’s famous logo are the words “This One’s For Mal”. Angus’ dearly departed brother co—founded the group. His nephew Stevie now plays in the line-up.

Indeed all 12 tracks on PWR UP are written by Malcolm and Angus Young. I was blown away by the fact that there was not a single track I did not enjoy. The first single “Shot In The Dark” is third in the sequence on side 1.

Then get ready for a scorcher of a set. Perfecting their dirty blues style for over four decades you hear Malcolm Young’s rhythm work on every song.

Brian Johnson has never been better. Achieving gritty eighties style heavy rock that reminds me of “For Those About To Rock” and “Flick of the Switch”.

Opener “Realize” has understated harmonic thrust to get the adrenaline flowing in your ears. And then in perfect sequence each song stands alone as pure electric AC/DC power.

The album is on black vinyl; Yellow vinyl if ordered from the AC/DC online store; a deluxe CD light box that illuminates their logo and plays a portion of “Shot In The Dark” is also available.

This record will make you feel great during these dark times.

The track list:

.“Realize”3:37
2.“Rejection”4:06
3.Shot in the Dark3:06
4.“Through the Mists of Time”3:32
5.“Kick You When You’re Down”3:10
6.“Witch’s Spell”3:42
Realize is the second single released from the album.
No.TitleLength
7.“Demon Fire”3:30
8.“Wild Reputation”2:54
9.“No Man’s Land”3:39
10.“Systems Down”3:12
11.“Money Shot”3:05
12.“Code Red”3:3
Running Time is 41:08

Edward Van Halen

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Edward Van Halen died this week from throat cancer.

His journey from Netherlands to Pasadena, California enabled him to prosper in a culture that became the LA heavy metal scene.

The first Van Halen record features real photos of each member during a gig at the famous Whiskey–A–Go–Go on the Sunset strip.

In 1978 Punk and Disco were exploding in popularity.

With its opening power chords the VH album was a fresh audio blast of serious but joyful rock.

Runnin’ with the Devil, the guitar solo Eruption, and the rest would change music forever.

The members of this group were great looking too. Eddie’s brother Alex, Michael Anthony, and David Lee Roth would rise to become the model for all the rock music to come flooding into the hearts and minds of young people all over the world.

Now called Hair Metal, the bands that bought Van Halen’s records are legion.

Eddie was an ingenious player. He could not read music but was able to play spot on by watching other musicians.

There were wonderful collaborations with Michael Jackson on the smash hit Beat It and his appearance on Brian May’s first solo effort Starfleet Project.

1984 is one of my favorite albums of all time. Featuring hits Jump, Hot For Teacher, Panama, and I’ll Wait. They were MTV’s most played act that year.

The changes to Sammy Hagar then Gary Cherone of Extreme yielded 8 years in which they released several #1 records including 5150, OU812, and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

Kiss were the band that VH opened for on their first national tour. Both bands would headline Britain’s Monsters of Rock festival.

Eddie Van Halen’s music still makes me feel great. I believe it’s timeless.

Although I only saw him in concert on their 2007 Tour, he went shirtless and played like the headliner he had always been.

The rockers of the 1980’s made their mark. Many of the bands from that era are still here recording and performing. Do not take them for granted.

Van Halen music is hard, heavy, melodic, harmonious, and the definition of great rock n roll.

I will miss Eddie Van Halen. He was such a huge presence in my life. Happy Trails…

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Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Ordinary Man’

A decade since 2010’s ‘Scream’. Recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Ozzy Osbourne has released his eleventh solo album.

The production here is flawless. If you’re a longtime listener you will hear some pleasant echoes of past glories.

Released February 21, 2020
Epic Records/ Sony Music
Produced by Andrew Watt

Make no mistake this is Mr. Osbourne’s swan song. Being an iconic rocker is like performing the feats of Hercules albeit with the handicap of substance addiction.

Ozzy has been an open book during his career which has lasted for 50 years. His continuing struggles are once again part of his lyrics.

“Straight To Hell” serves to open the proceedings. Drug addiction takes center stage. The core of Ozzy’s adult life has been this threat of tragic end.

With a little help from his friends Slash & Duff McKagan (Guns N Roses) this is an ultimate warning. The high is short-lived; Hell will be the eternal destiny.

“All My Life” and “Goodbye” are tough to hear. Raw naked honesty from Ozzy about feeling like no matter what he always felt like he came up short in life.

Saying goodbye is the hardest task. Final farewells are something he had postponed for decades. Inspired by Post Malone, we get a sense this is really it.

The title track is another ballad in the style of ‘Goodbye To Romance’ off 1981’s solo debut “Blizzard of Ozz”.

Featuring Elton John, who shares Ozzy’s struggles with addiction, is pitch perfect.

Longing for redemption after decades of debauchery the plea is to not die an ordinary man.

“Under The Graveyard” is my personal favorite song on the album. A portrait of an addled existence full of self inflicted pain.

At 72 with the onset of his final challenge the lyrics make crystal clear how Ozzy feels about his mortality.

Even rock stars lose everything in the end. Yet he has been waiting for darkness for most of his career.

Every one of his recordings contains some cheeky wink as well to the devil inside.

Here we receive the invitation to consume the Ozman on ‘Eat Me’. Then even more dark humor on ‘Today Is The End’ and ‘Scary Little Green Men’.

On both tracks the sun is black and the sky is red. Is the sky falling? Can we escape our own destruction?

‘Holy For Tonight’ is a song of contemplating the end. Ozzy is not fearing his final days.

Just wondering what it will be like when it arrives. He is certain of one thing. It will be a long night. He hopes it can be holy.

The final song features Post Malone. A spirited rocker ’til the end, ‘It’s A Raid’, recalling the infinite moments of being caught with the goods.

Ozzy has been caught alright. In the crosshairs of addiction, fame, and death he will face it alone.

And with the millions around the globe whose love has been earned. This crazy train is about to pull into its final station.

Don’t be sad nor afraid. Just be happy Ozzy is still here making his music.