People who criticise this are usually music journalists (enough said), or 'casual' AC/DC fans who only really dial in to the more commercial releases. To true fans, this is a mammoth record. Angus and Malcolm produced it, deciding to go back to a rawer sound, and they achieved this in a big way, whilst still keeping the sound 'big'. The record just screams out of the speakers. It's really well recorded and mixed, with every element pretty much spot on; nice dry drums, gorgeous, rich chords and lead tones, and pure power from Brian Johnson. Johnson shines on this record. Aside from Blackie Lawless out of WASP, it's hard to find another singer who put such intensity into every note and who sung high over and over again despite knowing how hard this would be to replicate live. Angus is on top form, with fluid, blistering solos full of his usual blues lines and interesting note selection - not to mention one of the greatest vibratos in rock guitar history. The songs work well in their order, with stomping, powerful tempos being the order of the day, balanced by two ferocious and fast tracks at the end of each side. To my ears, every song is an absolute corker; every time I try to choose a handful to recommend I select 8 or so out of the 10 on there. Rising Power is, by Angus' admission, a little different, and has a great two-part solo. House Is On Fire has great ringing chords, a cracking solo, and Brian again sounding awesome. The title track is all power and energy, and Nervous Shakedown an all-time fans' classic for the band, with its meaty chord inversions, dramatically intense vocals, cool lyrics telling a tale, and majestic, chiming powerchords. Guns For Hire was a show opener - catchy and fluid, Bedlam in Belgium another relentless show of energy, with interesting lyrics about a true cop-bust at a gig. Badlands almost has a ZZ Top feel, lazy, fat, powerful chords drone out accompanied by huge vocals from Johnson.
Hard to find fault in this anywhere, but perhaps I'd recommend to turn the bass up a little, make the sound a little warmer. In short; one of my favourite records of all time.