AC/DC Black ice


Well, there been three important releases in recent weeks:
Metallica "Death Magnetic"; Guns N' Roses "Chinese Democracy" and AC/DC "Black Ice".
I posted on the first two, and now just completed my first listen of the "Black Ice".
What a huge difference!!!
The best AC/DC in ages: unmistakable feeling of inspiration and spontaneity, all 15 tracks are done on a single breath, and not a single bad one.
Absolutely impeccable sense of rhytm and melody, if you will.
Music is stripped down to it's bare essentials, as truly great rock supposed to be like, IMHO.
There is nothing there, that detracts from the musical message, not a single slow down, no annoying moments whatsoever.
I have to give it to Angus and Malcolm, who wrote all the tracks- they are some of greatest R&R songwriters ever.
honest and inspired album.
What a stark difference with the other two- Metallica is pretty much unlistenable, very tiresome and calculated.
If I had to sum it up:
Metallica- FINISHED!
Axl is a pompous, pretentious ass
AC/DC- outstanding!
P.S. AC/DC recording quality- miles ahead of the other two
maril555
...agree...great disc..maybe their best ....?
very harsh comments about Metallica's "Death Magnetic". Only major issue I see is recording quality, but calling it unlistanble is a bit too harsh, IMO. I enjoy it. More so than the new AC/DC.

I have not picked up the new G n R yet.

As far as AC/DC's "Black Ice"...you called Metallica's "Death Magnetic" calculated...well, I can say the same about this AC/DC album. It is same old AC/DC, just like the rest of their stuff, in other words, at best it is "Back in Black" with different lyrics.
Where I do agree, is that AC/DC is recorded better than Metallica.

Bottom line is, at least for me, the old bands are worn out and and out of ideas, which results in their new stuff sounding same as their old stuff. That is calculated. not just Metallica. Pretty much all of them. but in all honesty, I'd rather listen to the calculated "Death Magnetic" than to the not calculated "St. Anger".
Talking about unlistanble...

2 worst Metallica CDs of all time, as far as I'm concerned - S&M and St. Anger.
Death Magnetic is far from worst IMO.
Sweet. I have good tickets for the ATL show on Dec 16th. I'll buy it this weekend.
Despite it sounding like AC/DC (not a big surprise, huh!), it does sound unforced and spontaneous, with a natural flow. Can't say the same about Death Magnetic- it does sound forced to me. And that is the fundamental difference.
I couldn't sit through the whole album (Metallica, after two-three tracks it becomes tiresome, and in contrast, listening to 15 tracks of "Black Ice" at once was very enjoyable.
I guess, this subjective personal experience makes all the difference.
P.S. AC/DC recording quality- miles ahead of the other two

AC/DC used ATC for years. Black Ice was done in Vancouver The Warehouse - and the main monitors use ATC midrange. You don't get overly compressed sound from artists like this - you can google The Warehouse Studio - I think they have tickets for AC/DC. The latest Nickelback was done there too - it will be interesting to see if this Nickelback is overcompressed like the last one - I am hoping it will be better.
Yes, surely the recording's sound quality must result from the use of ATC
loudspeakers.

Couldn't possibly be the recording desk. Or the machines. Or the processing.
Or the mics. Or the room design. Or the talent of the engineer. Or a dozen
other variables.
Maril555,

Would mostly agree with your statement. I think new Metallica is just ok...It kind of makes you wonder what direction, if any, they will go next. They really haven't come out with anything great in 10 yrs...
Couldn't possibly be the recording desk. Or the machines. Or the processing. Or the mics. Or the room design. Or the talent of the engineer. Or a dozen other variables

Sure there is a lot more to it - these studios cost millions. However you don't usually get overcompressed sound from artists that use ATC - the midrange clarity precludes this - distortion from overcompression becomes readily audible in the production stages. Think Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler, Tom Petty, INXS and many others - kind of the antithesis of the hypercompressed Metallica sound. ATC is like having a "lens" on the midrange - forward sounding and too harsh for some but it tends to result in better recordings. This may seem like a shameless ATC plug - but there are grains of truth in these statements!
This may seem like a shameless ATC plug -
Shadorne (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)

It's in a thread that seemingly should be able to escape a plug since it's not
about equipment.
I agree w/Maril555 ..Great new album by AC/DC..Metalica is done and has been for years,actually I stopped listening to them when they publically fought the folks at Napster claiming they were lossing $$millions,that drummer sucks!!!
Jswarncke:

You are in for a treat!

I like AC/DC, but was not a big fan. A friend twisted my arm to join him at a show in NYC, 2 weeks ago...and boy am I glad he did.

What a great show. Musically, the band was spot-on, song selection was excellent, top-notch showmanship and the best lighting, video, props and pyrotechnics I have seen (I usually go to smaller shows.)

Though the accoustics were what you would expect for a sports arena (MSG,) it was a fantastic show and experience.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your ride on the R&R Train!
Absolutely impeccable sense of rhytm and melody, if you will.
Music is stripped down to it's bare essentials, as truly great rock supposed to be like, IMHO.
There is nothing there, that detracts from the musical message, not a single slow down, no annoying moments whatsoever.

For those going to the concerts - it will be about the gear - the bare essentials of AC/DC were and still are Malcolm Hill bass bins or their modern equivalent.
Barrelchief,

I was at that the show also. Had seen the 4 other times in the past but this had to be their tightest show ever.
Damn, I am not a real R&R kinda guy so I got all excited from the subject line of this thread thinking that this was some super duper, pixie dust, turbo-charged, flexible alternative new power conditioner!
For those in Southern climates - "Black Ice" is a deadly winter situation on a road surface in the North that often leads to a pile-up or at the minimum several vehicles off the road. Producer Brendan O'Brien is from Atlanta so he would be familiar with it - perhaps he came up with the name - anyone know the scoop on the album title?
Shadorne, my wife is from Texas and has some horror stories about black ice. Sadly though, it's not strictly a Southern phenomenon as we in the North have to deal with not only icy overpasses on freeways but that old dreaded "freezing rain" which wreaks havoc on us every April not only in the streets but bringing down treess and power lines with a vengance!!!
Indeed those April storms bring down trees. Thunder. ACDC wrote a song about a road trip through Texas - now I know what they meant. Thunder. Man I am starting to look forward to their tour ;-)
Shadorne

I am building a time-oriented "widget" of the band's history as we speak. It will appear on www.capzles.com, on their own site, and be dedicated to Black Ice Tour. I will ask the boys the next time we speak.

I will post out to this posting when it can be viewed. We just got the digital assets.

The tour will last 2 and 1/2 years. The warm ups have been thrilling and crushing. Hard to imagine a harder rocking group of 60 year olds.
I heard Angus say in an interview that "Black Ice just sounded cool."

Also he was asked what was the best work he'd done. He replied "Buying a guitar and a schoolboy's uniform was the best thing I've ever done."
The main reason the AC/DC album sounds so good, and uncompressed, is Brendan O'Brien. He is the best hard rock producer and engineer of the last decade - in the sense of having great ears. No one else as consistently makes rock CD's that sound like a live band in a live room - Black Crowes Southern Harmony; Soundgarden Superunknown; all of the Stone Temple Pilots discs; Rage Against the Machine's studio albums; and so on - these Brendan O'Brien produced discs are as close as one can get to "reference quality" hard rock. The only other guy who comes close to me is Jack Joseph Puig, who did Amorica by the Crowes and the Jellyfish Spilt Milk album, among others.
You forgot The Boss. Here is a photo from the Southern Tracks Atlanta Studio where Brendan O'Brien works - notice the custom George Augspurger main speakers top right.
So then why does the "Boss" CD's sound so compressed?
Not sure what happened with Springsteen, but then again I don't really listen to him. The other O'Brien discs are not diminished by one aberrant result.
Ozzy,

Springsteen uses Bob Ludwig for Mastering - Bob uses Eggleston Ivy's (his own custom design) - might that explain it? ;-) Magic was particularly bad. Anyway if you use Egglestons for mastering...just kidding ....but it is true that Bob Ludwig has moved more to the dark side of the loudness wars recently (producers and artists demand it)

I think it is definitely intentional with Springsteen - I would guess he insists on it - it is always over compressed even Born to Run was bad long before compression became a terrible problem in the industry. It is probably because Bruce's mainstream audience are those who drive Ford pickups with huge towing capacity - noisy cabs on rough roads make compressed music the natural choice...
BTW - The Warehouse Studio including the main monitors was designed by Ron O Vermeulen (Bryan Adams technician for 30 years). The studio has a custom Neve that has George Martin's touch and orginally came from Air Studios in London. Bryan paid for it all...only a star could afford all this as we are talking tens of millions for the facility. I find Bryan Adams recordings are top notch too - thanks to Ron's hand.
Bongofury,

I looked at Capzles - neat stuff - kind of like Time Machine or iphoto on mac taken to the web - what a great tool for pulling everything together.
We are building a 30 year history of the band--the first major band on the site.

PS: Zack Brown is the first minor band up on the site.