I remember this album coming out to the predictable press slating, with barely an acknowledgement of the band's bold decision to continue with a new vocalist in place of the then recently deceased Bon Scott. And it WAS a brave move; Scott was a legendary singer and writer, and any new guy had huge shoes to fill. The fact that, 24 years later, Brian Johnson is STILL the lead singer of AC/DC today shows how well he did in taking on one of the toughest gigs in rock.
But what of this album, the debut from the new boy? Opening with the slow burning 'Hell's Bells', the ringing of the bell and of the opening guitar riff lulls you into a false sense of security before the hammer comes down - once the main riff kicks in you know the guys are going to deliver.
'Back in Black' is one of those rare albums whose every track hits the spot - from the hard rockin' 'Shoot to Thrill', to the simply awesome title track, and through to the two hit singles (You Shook Me All Night Long and Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution) the quality never lets up. If you do not pick your air guitar up at least once during this album, then rock and roll is not for you!
Although AC/DC have continued to tour and record up to the present day, they must know that this album was their masterpiece. They still play many songs from this album in their live set, a testament to its enduring appeal.
Their subsequent albums never recaptured this glory fully, although they have made some good music since, but any band would be proud to have made one album as consistently strong as 'Back in Black'.
If you consider yourself a rock fan, be it old school or new/nu style, if you like guitar based heavy music of any kind you simply must own this album. Utterly magnificent.