Review: Various Artists ‘The Best Of AC/DC [Redux]’

AC/DC is the very definition of timeless. Since 1975 they’ve released 17 albums of pure rock and roll by rarely straying from the classic kick-snare rock beat coloured by bluesy solos and sexual inuendo, backed by an extremely loud rhythm section. It’s staggering to think the number of people alive who’ve heard and rocked out to an AC/DC song at some point in their life! Those same feelings of rock and roll can be unleashed on Magnetic Eye Records The Best Of AC/DC tribute album which comes armed with their own stoner riff legends, but rather than reviewing it song by song, we will play tribute to each cornerstone of the AC/DC behemoth.

Various Artists ‘The Best Of AC/DC [Redux]'

The backbone of every AC/DC track is that beautifully simplistic driving tight kick snare combo trademarked by Phil Rudd (honourable mention to Chris Slade for his contribution). The Phill Rudd Award takes this into account but also gives a nod to those behind the kit that know when to sit back on the AC/DC beat and when to put their own flair into it. Electric Frankenstein’s High Voltage could have won any number of awards, but it’s the slightly quicker version of the song, coupled with loads of fills that wins the award.

The Cliff Williams Award is a dual award for holding down the low end for four minutes of rock and roll while also sporting good looks (rumoured to be why he got the gig in the first place). I don’t recall too many stoner rockers featuring in the hottest man alive lists, so Supersuckers sweep this award with their superhero stage shot from social media and their tempo perfect cover of Overdose with a Texan edge.

Vocalists often create a big chunk of a band’s signature sound. It’s incredible that Brian Johnson had the difficult task of replacing Bon Scott yet did it while also producing one of the highest selling albums of all time in the process. We can honour this achievement with two awards in the great man’s name; one for The Best Debut Award and a second for The Brian Johnson Swagger Award (yes, I just realised his initials are also innuendo). The Debut Award goes to the muddy, thick and heavy Blue Heron’s version of Walk All Over You (debt EP also dropping 10th Dec) who’ve taken the rock and roll song and doomed it into a stoned slab of music.

The Brian Johnson Swagger Award goes to the ever-impressive Kal-El’s version of It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) or as it should be sung ‘it’s a long way to the shop if you want a sausage roll’. It’s a cracking version of the song that feels like the whole band is singing with you and they can even be forgiven for leaving out the bagpipes. Rock and roll through and through.

The Bon Scott Award is a tough one between the Aussies from Witchskulls version of Sin City or Solace’s take on the forever infamous Whole Lotta Rosie. The latter builds from a relatively quiet start into a stoner meets rock and roll party that is one of the best tracks on the album. However, the hometown advantage is just enough for Witchskull’s album opener to take the coveted award with a vocal performance more closely akin to that classic acca dacca sound that sets the bar high for the rest of the bands to follow.

there is only one word… FIRE!

The Malcolm Young Award is for metronomic guitar rhythm playing while blues laden solos are let loose. The intro to If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It) showcases Red Mesa’s own rhythm maestro as the first 8 bars feature a single 6 strings with sleight of hand, to subtly change the cords. The first note of the solo, in the bridge over this intro riff, are what AC/DC are all about. Runner up goes to the uplifting version of Dog Eat Dog from Caustic Casanova.

Malcolm Young is credited as one of the driving forces of writing these songs along with his brother. One of the only criticisms you can throw at AC/DC is the majority of their albums do sound similar, but if you’re that good at it, then why bother changing? Tribute albums give the perfect opportunity to re-imagine the source material which add different dimensions to the album as a whole. Honourable mentions go to Bob Balch and Tony Reed’s melancholic Nick Cave-esq version of What’s Next To The Moon and Domkraft’s bluesy doom Night Prowler as they inject the album with their own flavour and dynamic.

Beating out the stiff competition to The Stoned Young Award is Ghost Ship Ritual’s extended version of The Razor’s Edge that lets you hear parts of the original coupled with their own energy. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the band learnt each riff after a couple of listens, then went off and made it their own with great success.

Only two big awards left. Impossible to think of AC/DC and not think of that wonderful maniac running around in a school-boy uniform. The Angus Young Award. A coveted award for the impressive array of shredders across the album goes to… drum roll… Kryptograf’s Bad Boy Boogie. The solo starts with a few slow notes, then heads up the neck with the headstock held high. A quick breather and increase in tempo before we fly back into the verse. Very Angus.

AC/DC are known for their huge loud live shows so it’s fitting we finish with an award named after one of the biggest rock shows of all time – The Donington Award!It needs to be loud, full of energy and just the right amount of rock and roll danger. We can only stand and salute the appropriately named Riff Lord as they push the speakers to the point of breaking with For Those About To Rock (We Salute You). Everything works both as a tribute and making it feel right at home as one of their own songs. It’s epic. Every time. To finish there is only one word… FIRE!

Label: Magnetic Eye Records

Scribed by: Maxx