Review: Various Artists ‘Back In Black [Redux]’

Tribute albums have always been dubious propositions to me. They can be fun, depending on who’s being paid tribute to, and the bands involved. However, with rare exceptions, I don’t usually revisit them too often, preferring to throw a song or two on a playlist. Now, some tributes are relatively legendary, such as the Nativity In Black, a Black Sabbath tribute from the 90s.

Various Artists ‘Back In Black [Redux]'

Despite a fairly gross amount of nu-metal shite on both discs, there are some legendary cuts, like Sepultura doing Symptom Of The Universe, Slayer doing Hand Of Doom, and Corrosion of Conformity doing Lord Of This World. Another tribute that was in heavy rotation back in the day, was one of the first to make an impact and is long out of print is C/Z Records Hard To Believe: A Kiss Covers Compilation featuring Melvins immortal God Of Thunder and Nirvana doing Do You Love Me? but for the most part, I find tributes to usually be curios and not much else.

Here, we have another in Magnetic Eye Records excellent Redux series, this time zeroing in on one of the greatest rock & roll albums of all time: AC/DC’s Back In Black, which is STILL the number two selling album in music history. As well, it was the first record to feature vocalist Brian Johnson after the death of the legendary Bon Scott. It goes without saying AC/DC went nuclear with Back In Black, as literally every track on this album is seared into every rock fan’s DNA for the last forty years. While personally not my favorite AC/DC album, Back In Black is really where Angus and Malcolm’s (RIP) songwriting really came together, crafting one timeless cut after another.

So, does the latest installment in Magnetic Eye Records Redux series do this iconic album any justice? Like any, and all, tribute albums, there are some great renditions, some head-scratching ones, and some that were unwelcome to my ears.

well-executed tribute album, and a nice addition to Magnetic Eye Records Redux series…

Standouts for me were Red Fang’s Arrows-era version of Hells Bells is as grimy and weird as one would expect, putting their stamp on this FM radio staple. Supersuckers What Do You Do for Money has a killer T. Rex-style stomp, and swing, making this a lot of fun. Heavy Temple’s Let Me Put My Love Into You is workman-like, not straying from the original much, and Whores. Have A Drink On Me is a huge, riff-monster, chug-fest of a song. As well, Early Man do a serviceable job of Shake A leg.

Besvärjelsen gets props for totally switching up the title track, but that doesn’t mean that I dug it. Additionally, the same thing is going on with JakeTheHawk’s You Shook Me All Night Long. A cool take on it I suppose, A for effort, but I’m not necessarily trying to hear THIS song, THIS way.

So, in the end, this is a good-to-great, well-executed tribute album, and a nice addition to Magnetic Eye Records Redux series, as it’ll sit nicely next to their other releases. I just don’t know how many times this reviewer will necessarily reach for it again. In the end, If I’m compelled to listen to Back In Black I’m going to listen to Back In Black, not reach for a tribute.

Label: Magnetic Eye Records

Scribed by: Martin Williams