Vital Statistics:Record Company:
November 23, 1981Producer:
Robert John "Mutt" LangeWeb Site: http://www.acdc.com/Musicians:
Brian Johnson ~ Vocals
Angus Young ~ Lead Guitar
Malcolm Young ~ Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Cliff Williams ~ Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Phil Rudd ~ DrumsThe Rundown:
Track 1: “For Those About to Rock”
Is someone says to you, “What is one rock song that just screams wanting to get out there and go nuts for the music” this is probably one of the songs, if not the first song that comes to your mind. “For Those About to Rock” was made for AC/DC and their type of music that is homegrown, grassroots hard rock. Anthem to the extreme with some of the best guitar, vocal, and drum work you could find, all simplistically done. As they say, the simple stuff is the most memorable, and this is that. You have to love the live versions too that brings the cannons out on the stage and just fire away.
Song Rating: 15 out of 10
01 - For Those About to Rock
I clearly remember the first time I heard this. It was almost like the band never stopped recording "Back in Black". And this was an extension of that record. The intro guitar is one of my favorites to play. Who knew from a spastic guitarists weird chord phrasing this would come to be. It's genius. Fucking incredible really given all the elements involved. I think what I like the most is the music in the verse. What a bold thing to use a guitar fret slide in the verse. And I think outside of Van Halen, these guys would be the only ones to get away with such a maneuver on a major label. Anyone who has seen them play this live... nuff said!
1.) For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) – AC/DC have written their share of rock anthems, but this just might be the ultimate. A deceptively complicated finger picked riff kicks this off, a good example of the intuitive guitar interplay between the brothers Young. Ok, you know how this song picks up steam towards the end? Brings it up a notch, doesn’t it? Better than the other way around, which a lot of the songs here suffer from. But this one rightfully earns its place as a bonafide AC/DC classic.
1.) For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) [5:43] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
From Angus' opening riff, you know this one is going to hit like a hammer. The slow build-up only serves to make Brian's wailing scream all that much bigger. The song just plows on from there, knocking down anybody in its path. The song builds to a fiery crescendo of screaming guitars and cannonfire. One of the best metal tunes of all-time. Go ahead... Call me a liar. Rating:
Track 2: “I Put the Finger on You”
I credit the rhythm section for a lot of the reasons this song can get stuck in your head so easily. The easy riding drumbeats drive the song along perfectly in sequence with the guitar melody (simplistic per AC/DC standard) and the barking vocals of Brian Johnson.
Song Rating: 9 out of 10
02 - I Put the Finger on You
I really like the guitar on this. What a great piece. The ultimate "if you tell on me, I tell on you" song.
2.) Put the Finger on You – Personally, I think you could have stuck the first three songs on this album on BinB and they wouldn’t stick out. Perhaps just a little less dry on the snare drum, but musically they’re right there.
2.) Put The Finger On You [3:26] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
The band turns in another classic Johnson-era rocker here, complete with pounding rhythm section and Brian's patented howl and screech. This one picks up where "Back In Black" left off. Another A+ effort. Rating:
Track 3: “Let’s Get it Up”
One of the first AC/DC songs I ever heard, and definitely the first off this album, over time the song has lost some of the luster I first remember liking about it while retaining the original feel of a great guitar intro followed by even more memorable vocal work always underscored by the great drumming and in this case a rumbling bass tone.
Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10
03 - Let's Get it Up
I remember when this song came out. My God was I happy. And having this music on the radio waves made it all the better. I remember hearing the first riff of this song and I thought these guys couldn't get any cooler than this. Personally, this is one of my favorites of the CD. It's amazing how two guys can play similar things yet different and make it sound so cool. The Young brothers are the masters of getting every ounce of tone from a chord. As I was listening to this I realized, this (the 80's) was the last time I actually got excited about a song on the radio.
3.) Let’s Get it Up – No exaggeration, this just might be my personal favourite AC/DC song. Everything about it just works for me. Great little slidey riff, catchy chorus, clever lyrics, well sort of. There’s that word catchy, hmm….
3.) Let's Get It Up [3:54] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson): "Loose wires... Cause fires... Gettin' tangled in my desire..."
Angus & Co. decide to give you a little breather here, but that doesn't mean that this song doesn't rock. It's got a loose, heavy vibe that keeps your foot tapping throughout. Angus serves up quite a solo here... extra-thick. Yep. We have another winner. Rating:
Track 4: “Inject the Venom”
A sinister tone rings on this song, everything from the opening riff through the vocals you get a sense of insidiousness, oh, and I’m pretty sure the entire band is smiling and laughing while they inject that venom, too bad if you don’t like it, but I’m pretty sure that venom is Rock & Roll just the stripped down kind this song displays.
Song Rating: 8.5 out of 10
04 - Inject the Venom
Truth be told, I didn't like this song at first. After playing it a few times myself, I realized the beauty of the song. The chorus is an anthem type of atmosphere. And Angus playing a great solo really sold this song on me. Half way through this song I finally got it.
4.) Inject the Venom – Possibly my early impression of this album came with this song. I can see what they’re getting at, but it’s too long and drawn out, too many starts and stops, and not enough a payback come chorus time. One of the “draggers” on the album.
4.) Inject The Venom [3:31] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
This one carries the same tempo as Let's Get It Up
, but manages to pack a bit more punch. Rudd really beats the hell out of his kit on this one... and Cliff really drives the rhythm home. Quality stuff. Rating:
Track 5: “Snowballed”
The beginning guitar could almost be confused for Zeppelin if you are only half listening, and then the entire band kicks in and it’s a whirlwind of AC/DC sound that takes you for a quick, speedy ride to the chorus that slows everything down briefly to let you catch your breathe before starting the journey once again. Some great guitar licks accompany you on the journey from the speedy verses, through the chorus where it really shines, and into the Angus Young patented solo.
Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10
05 - Snowballed
I liked this immediately. I really like the music to this song. The chorus lead shows Angus' Chuck Berry influence rather well. Although this song isn't my favorite, it's definitely cool. This song is the last song on the LP I had for side 1. Side two of the LP was leaps and bounds better than side one. I rarely put side 1 on ever.
5.) Snowballed – This song could be great except it slows to half time in the chorus, something which they seem to be doing a lot on this album, and it stops the momentum dead.
5.) Snowballed [3:23] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
Back to work, ladies. Break time's over...
The boys pick up the pace again... and drive the riff down your throat like a six-pack in a beer bong. There are a few breaks in the riff where Angus throws in some killer blues-laden fills, just to spice things up a bit. If not for the killer guitar work, I might have called this one a filler track... but with the guitar work displayed here, this song is still hot enough to melt ice. Rating:
Track 6: “Evil Walks”
You would expect this song to be dark, doom, and gloom but it has a brighter feel to it than that thanks to Angus Young and his lighter chord work, that does nothing to detain the yowl of Brian Johnson who still sounds as if he is heralding the other side, not to mention the great effect the chorus evokes in almost warning the listener about evil’s stroll.
Song Rating: 9 out of 10
06 - Evil Walks
Holy shit... where did my Billy Squire go? These guys are kicking some main stream ass with this song. If you weren't a fan of these guys before, you will be now. The record label never saw it that way. This song could have done better if it had more airplay.
6.) Evil Walks – I can’t believe I missed this first time around, probably just wasn’t paying attention, but this is obviously an attempt to recreate the vibe of “Hells Bells” and usually when bands do that (try to do another song like an earlier, more popular one) it usually just points out how much better the first song was.
6.) Evil Walks [4:23] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
The intro is definitely a rehash of Hell's Bells
... but if you're going to revisit one of your own riffs, that wouldn't be a bad choice, now would it?
The main riff is a bluesy little number... and the band takes this one straight down to the gutter for the break with a growling, nasty blues. And last but not least, Johnson's vocals are so good on this track, you can actually hear the leer
on his face. Rating:
Track 7: “C.O.D.”
This is another song that drives behind the rhythm section as the main point of recall when I think about it, with Brian Johnson’s vocal and Angus Young’s riffing adding the icing to the cake of what makes AC/DC so good with their straightforward rock.
Song Rating: 10 out of 10
07 - C.O.D.
This is in my top 3 AC/DC songs of all time. What a great fucking tune. Seriously. The Young brothers make the playing completely different shit at the same time sound amazing in this song. Which probably made the average person trying to figure out how to play their shit nuts. I could listen to this everyday. And did for a decade.
7.) C.O.D. – Not bad, not bad, let’s see how many acronyms we can turn these letters into. But not bad.
7.) C.O.D. [3:20] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson): "C.O.D... Care of the devil... C.O.D... The devil in me..."
This mid-tempo firestorm starts out innocently enough, but by the time the riff hits... the Evil Schoolboy and his cohorts have wrapped their hands around your throat. AC-DC as it's devilish best. Warning:
This break is so hot, you'll be able to feel the fire and taste the smoke. Ahhhh... I love the smell of brimstone in the morning. Rating:
Track 8: “Breaking the Rules”
Typical AC/DC all the way around on this song, from their typical motto of not following the rules all the way through the style of music they play. It’s the same vibe, the same great rhythm section and Angus distorting everything with his guitar. That being said, there isn’t much that stands out and makes this track shine.
Song Rating: 8 out of 10
08 - Breaking the Rules
Fuck yes. Finally a song I could relate too. Although my name wasn't Chuck. This is a classic example of cool. The muted chords scream cool. And when it came time to let loose in the chorus, it made a World of difference. The Young brothers play masterfully on this classic. This song will always be one of my favorites. Especially the outro.
8.) Breaking the Rules – Another half time lumbering dinosaur, just too damn slow guys, come on!! Let’s pick up the pace here!
8.) Breaking The Rules [4:23] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
This is one of the bluesiest numbers to come out of the Johnson years. Johnson's chewing-on-glass vocals are at their gravelly best... and the band really lays down a sweet blues vibe on this one. Not too shabby at all... but a song like this still manages to make me miss Bon Scott. Rating:
Track 9: “Night of the Long Knives”
Out of all the songs on this album, this one stands out the most in subject matter as well as some of the elements of the music. You still receive a fair amount of AC/DC staple in the way the guitar chords are structured in the song as well as the drum beat, but there is something else there with the choral singing and some variations of the music that just sound different than the rest of the album especially the solo that doesn’t have the chaotic feel of most Angus solos. Might be just me, but it’s a nice break from the same old, same old.
Song Rating: 9 out of 10
09 - Night of the Long Knives
Huh? This seems like way too happy of a song to include anything regarding long knifes unless your Brittany Spears. This is the worst track on the album by a damn sight. I just don't get it.
9.) Night of the Long Knives – Strangely, an almost Aerosmith-ish riff to this one, with a big catchy chorus. You see, my theory on why the group decided to stop working with Mutt Lange is they were afraid he was going to turn them into Def Leppard. Remember this is the same year that High ‘n’ Dry was released. This is not a slam on Def Lep, one of my favourites of all time, but this is AC/DC. Catchy choruses and accessible hooks are not what they’re meant to do. So it appears to me that the AC/DC/Lange relationship was great, but had run its course.
9.) Night Of The Long Knives [3:25] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
Well, like nearly all great albums, there's usually one track that stands out... not for its greatness, but for its mediocrity. This is that song. It's basically a rehashed up-tempo rocker and never did a thing for me. It's not terrible, but it ain't great either. Ironically, if you listen closely to the little riff that follows each of the choruses... you can almost see a young Mick Mars scribbling notes furiously in the corner of the recording studio. The title of the page? Dr. Feelgood
, of course. Rating:
Track 10: “Spellbound”
The tempo on this song seems to be more methodic than some others on the album, with even semi-mellow parts dotted throughout. The guitar has to be my favorite portion of this tune, except everything sounds good with only the vocals lacking some luster at points that was available in the other cuts from the album, I’ll just chalk that up to a production issue as I can hear Mr. Johnson working his magic at other points.
Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10
10 - Spellbound
I remember when I first heard this. I thought... Are you shitting me???? This is where I learned cool. This is one of the coolest songs I've ever heard period. How could you possibly top this? I've had so many road trips listening to this songs. I would have to say by definition, this is the anatomy of what a cool rock song is! The ONLY song remotely this cool is Van Halen's "Unchained".
20/10 (For being the top dog)
10.) Spellbound – Pretty non-descript album closer.
10.) Spellbound [4:30] (A. Young/M. Young/Johnson):
The album closes with another mid-tempo jam. The rhythm section thumps along while Angus and Johnson do a little blues riffing. Like the inevitable filler track mentioned above, almost every album seems to contain one track that deserves more attention than it gets. This is definitely the sleeper track on the album. Everybody seems to forget it, probably because they wanted to skip Night Of The Long Knives
... but it's a great track nonetheless. Go ahead, give it some love. Rating:
The title of this album was adapted from a book Angus had read, entitled "For Those About To Die, We Salute You."
The historical context of the phrase comes from the time of Emporer Caesar, when gladiators performing at the Colosseum were purported to address Caesar before their performances by saying, "Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant"
("Hail Caesar, we who are about to die, salute you."
In Spain, the first pressing of this album featured a reversed color scheme... a gold cannon on a black background.
Johnson-era AC-DC can practically claim the patent on that fiery blues-laden flourish that closes the vast majority of their songs. However, the first few albums from this time period feature a single song that simply fades out instead. On "Back In Black," it was the title track. On this one, it's Breaking The Rules
. Betcha never noticed...
The release of this album led to the band's first major headlining tour of North America. The title track has reportedly been played at every show the band has played since the first date of that tour, and the cannons used as props on-stage for the song have also been featured at every show.
Can you imagine the roadies? "Guitars... check. Amps... check. Drums... check. Cannons... check."
And we won't even talk about the poor bastards at Customs...
Up until the band's release of "Black Ice" last year, "For Those About To Rock..." was the only AC-DC album to reach #1 on the Billboart charts, selling over 4 million copies in the U.S. alone. Ironically, "Back In Black" only made it to #4 on Billboard, but is the second-best selling album of all-time (at over 45 million copies to date). Michael Jackson's "Thriller" is #1 on that list.
This album also landed two singles on the UK Pop Singles Chart: For Those About To Rock
and Let's Get It Up
. In another bit of irony, Let's Get It Up
actually charted higher (#13) than the title track (#15).
This was the last of three albums produced by four-time Grammy award winner Robert John "Mutt" Lange, who went on to produce Def Leppard's "High N' Dry" and Foreigner "4" in the same year. Their next album, 1983's "Flick Of The Switch," was self-produced... and didn't achieve the level of success of its predecessors.The Last Word:
AC/DC delivered a second smash hit after probably their biggest record, Back in Black, with this smattering of squealing guitars, pounding drums and bass, and that patented gargling with gasoline voice of Brian Johnson. The formula is something you have seen and heard before, AC/DC doesn’t change their tune too far from the original, and that is what makes them an instant recognition and hit. Tunes like “For Those About to Rock” are anthems that will forever live in the psyche of the youth and those who had the pleasure to grow up with the mindset that rock was King and that was the way of life. What way of life? The way AC/DC lived their life; sex, possibly drugs (“Inject the Venom”, though that is another sexual innuendo of its own), but definitely a stripped down style of rock and roll that will always resonate with the rebellion of youth and that is what AC/DC is, a voice that will forever echo the sentiments of the young and restless.
Tapping into the heart of what the 80’s music scene would become, largely sexual, but definitely hard and loud, For Those About to Rock exemplified the glorified sexual atmosphere that was beginning to form in the 80’s in patented AC/DC innuendoes that had served them from the beginning of their career in Melbourne, Australia. Songs like “Lets Get it Up” and “I Put the Finger on You” are only veiled sexual references. However, this offering also seems to bring the side of love that has dejection and betrayal, mostly by the female. “Inject the Venom” while being a reference to sex, more often than not in AC/DC’s music, seems to come from the point of view of the woman on the prowl as she is to “take him by surprise/Go in hard and get him/Right between the eyes and/Inject the venom” but this venom, which probably leads to pregnancy, if injected “It’ll be your last attack” possibly warning against the dangers of sex? Again in “Snowballed” the idea of being tricked and fooled by “Women, drink, and money” comes up as a possible warning. Whatever the message AC/DC is delivering they still keep the danger feeling that makes their music so potent and worth listening too that 25+ years after this album has been released the same Goosebumps that covered your arm when a song like “C.O.D.” came on the turntable still happen. So, kick back, open a cold one and just enjoy the basics where everything is better.
I remember when this CD came out. And staring at the album cover. I knew then any album by AC/DC recording after Back in Black would be impossible to surpass. By now, if you haven't listened to this recording with your head phones on, your missing most of the story. The Young brothers are probably the most tight guitar duo in Rock history. Listening to Malcom on the left and Angus on the right. It's incredible to say the least. These guys can play. And they really show their talent on this recording.
Well, for what it’s worth, here’s my take on this album. I have to start with a confession that I never got into AC/DC until 1997. Never paid any attention to them, ever until I saw a really good cover band (think they were called “High Voltage” but there’s probably thousands of them) and realized just how many songs of theirs I really did like. So with that in mind I sought out their back catalogue. I hadn’t dug this CD out in quite awhile and my memory of it wasn’t that great. I happen to think that Back in Black is one of those classic albums which really deserves its classic status. This, of course was the follow up and to this day the only AC/DC album to top the Billboard album charts, that is until last year’s Black Ice. Is it as good? No, I really don’t think so but it’s better than my memories told me. I always subconsciously wrote it off as “first three tracks are good, the rest filler.” Well, yes and no. One comment I have read about this album that I have to agree with is that there are too many slower tempo songs. Another thing I noted was that even though working with Mutt Lange obviously brought them the big production style they needed to break through worldwide, this was the last time the band worked with him. And I think I know why. But more on that later.[EDITOR'S NOTE: See Tim's track-by-track notes for his explanation.]
Since this is a jumbo "Cutting Heads" review, I'll try to keep my two cents brief. When Bon Scott died in 1980, the band considered calling it quits. Even after they decided to continue, they were turned down by several frontmen before finding ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson. Little did anyone realize that lightning was about to strike the "Thunder from Down Under"... twice. From a commercial standpoint, both "Back In Black" and "For Those About To Rock..." easily surpassed anything they did with Scott, and for a very good reason. With Johnson at the helm, the band returned with a harder edge and a serious attitude. They retained the same "devil on my shoulder"-meets-"party all night" themes, but with their new heavier sound... the results were decidedly more sinister. With Scott, AC-DC was a hard-rockin' party band with just a touch of evil thrown in for good measure... but with Johnson's strained screams coming from the speakers, the band was transformed into a heavy-duty metal band with the devil in their back pockets.
Lightning did indeed strike twice... but of course, timing is everything. They couldn't have picked a better time than 1981 to deliver albums that sounded like "Back In Black" and "For Those About To Rock..."
This one is a RockHard mandate, without a doubt.
Overall Album Rating: 9.25 out of 10
So there you have it, my two cents worth on one of the bigger selling AC/DC albums in a huge selling catalogue. Most critics would probably find it ludicrous to bother criticizing individual albums by this band, because after all, “they’ve made the same record (nth) times.” But us fans know, there are good AC/DC albums, and then there are mediocre AC/DC albums. This one is somewhere in between.The Bottom Line (AKA - The Six-Pack Scale): The review staff here at 80sMetalServer.com have brought you this special review as a kind of thank you to all of the regulars here on the forum. It took several weeks of planning and coordination to put all of this together. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed writing it.