For those who still rock

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Since the release of AC/DC’s last record, Ballbreaker, the hard-rock world has been turned on its head. Not that it really matters all that much to Angus Young and Company because, even though Korn, Rage Against The Machine and Limp Bizkit now the rule the aggro-rock world, for these Aussie giants, these bands are of little importance as they’ve (self-admittedly) never listened to any of them. Notwithstanding the lack of any new real "influence" on the band’s style, or any recent effort to rival Back In Black’s greatness, one can always count on the boys to deliver a handful of anthems on each Brian Johnson-fronted release. Stiff Upper Lip certainly makes a good case in point.

AC/DC kicks off its first new studio recording in more than five years with the awesome title track that’ll have you running for your nearest tennis racket (that’s for you closet air guitarists). "Stiff Upper Lip" is an instant AC/DC classic and perhaps their best single since "Thunderstruck." "Meltdown" and "House Of Jazz" (well, it’s not really the house of jazz — what would AC/DC be doing there after all?) are also strong. "House of Jazz" in particular, wouldn’t be out of place on For Those About To Rock.

The rest of the album is up and down from there, but who really cares? It all comes down to this: When AC/DC proclaims that you "Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll" (as they do on track No. 7 here), you know you really can’t. I mean, heck, they’ve already pledged their allegiance on "For Those About To Rock," "Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution," "That’s The Way I Want To Rock ‘n’ Roll," "Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer", "Rocker" and, uh, "Let There Be Rock." You get the picture. After 27 years, there is little doubt that AC/DC stands as perhaps the greatest living breathing, hard rock band. May they outlive us all.

John Franck writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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