AC/DC, Power Up review (Columbia Records 2020)

Here they come again – the first new music from AC/DC in six years is good metal for 2020.

Rock Or Bust  came out in 2014, and we’ve been waiting since then to see whether there would be new music from the iconic Australian Hard Rock band. Question answered. Power Up is true to form heavy hitting riff medicine.

Every fan of the band has a favorite or two. My short list is creeping up to ten. I saw AC/DC one summer in Indianapolis at an outdoor venue during the For Those About To Rock We Salute You tour. The highlight for me that night was “Whole Lotta Rosie,” one of my favorites anyway but I never thought they’d play it. The performance was astonishing, visually completed by a large blow-up Rosie behind the band. I have seen them other times but that one summer night sticks in my mind. There are so many killer songs … “Kicked In The Teeth,” “Gimme A Bullet,” “Problem Child,” … it is a long list. And then there are all the radio tunes that were smash hits. The impact AC/DC has had on heavy music, and popular music, cannot be denied.

The singles from the new one are “Shot In The Dark” and “Realize,” and they punch just like AC/DC radio songs always do. Great hooks and heavy riffs, catchy choruses. Check, check, check. It’s a formula you hear on many of the other songs, too, naturally, like “Why Do They Kick You When You’re Down,” “Wild Reputation,” and so on. But that is not all that is here. “Through The Mists Of Time” is almost sentimental in its tone, “Witch’s Spell” has a wicked, cracking little lead break, and “Code Red” combines a nostalgic throwback riff with a new roller that celebrates the confluence of history with modernity. The songs are short with only one reaching to the four minute mark and they are all designed to grab you attention. They always do, from the first to the last.

The album is out now and available everywhere. The story has been told in interviews and articles that AC/DC has tons of music sitting around unreleased. Maybe we’ll get more soon. If it is as good as Power Up, I can’t wait to hear it. Recommended.

Band photo by Josh Cheuse.



AC/DC, Power Up review (Columbia Records 2020)

In Malice’s Wake, The Blindness Of Faith review (2020)

The fourth album from Australia’s In Malice’s Wake is another crushing example of their Thrash acumen.

For almost twenty years, In Malice’s Wake has been drilling down on classic Thrash Metal. Centered in Melbourne, Australia, the band is founders Shaun Farrugia (vocals and guitar) and Mark Farrugia (drums) joined by longtime members Leigh Bartley (guitar) and Karl Watterson (bass). The Blindness Of Faith is their fourth album, and it is as filled to the brim with new ideas as it is grounded in the principles of Heavy Metal and Thrash. You can hear a little bit of Goatwhore in there, a touch of Destruction, too, I’d say, but that is just for orienting purposes. Once you hear In Malice’s Wake’s music, you’ll recognize it instantly from then on.

The Blindness Of Faith jumps right on your head out of the gate with the title track, a savage pummeling introduction to both the musical perspective and the lyrical content of the album. Straight ahead rapid riffs and steady rhythms are challenged by radical eruptions and scathing shreds. Shaun Farrugia’s vocals are just the right amount of rough to direct the charge of the guitars on the rails of percussion and bass.

Once I put this album on I had no urge to skip around – front to back is the way to go, and no detours. There are a couple of tracks even so that stood out for me, the first being “Unbound Sinful Light,” which absolutely murders, and “Into the Outer Darkness,” which displays a culminating brilliance that strains your veins. I am a big Thrash fan going back to the beginning so I am predisposed to this sort of music. Even with my biases, I contend there is an objective reality to the quality of The Blindness Of Faith. Highly recommended.

You can buy CDs and merch bundles directly on the band’s site or through Bandcamp. Preorders are available now, and the album drops officially this Friday the 13th.






In Malice’s Wake, The Blindness Of Faith review (2020)

Kimono Drag Queens, Songs of Worship review (Copper Feast Records 2020)

The debut album from Kimono Drag Queens establishes a principle of sound that lends a lesson easy to take in.

This Australian psychedelic band is comprised of Harry Webber (vocals and guitar), Kellie Banyai (vocals and keys), Will Coleman (vocals and guitar), Zeppelin Hamilton (guitar), Amy Yoshiko (percussion), Billy Minett (drums), and William Wood (bass). It is almost a troop instead of a band. If it takes this many musicians then that’s how many it takes – it is the results that matter and here they’re hitting all the right spots.

The music does remind me a little of King Gizzard but with more 60s in there, a little more on the folky side amidst the smoke and desert groove. Also more melody, and a greater intention toward the aural consumability of the final creation. So, maybe not so much like King Gizzard after all.

“Songs of Worship” is a beautiful meditation in a seemingly barren place that is actually full of life. Gentle musicianship and hypnotic vocals are the Pied Piper’s song for the first half leading you into a deeper groove of psychedelic jam. “Hunters In The Snow” goes the other way around having a pulsing rhythm up front with a whispering spell behind it. “Delilah” brings super fuzzy guitars out and “Wild Animals” hones the echo into contemporary art as the spirit of the trance really starts to kick in.

And then there is “Evil Desires” which I heard as a warning about walking too far away from camp late at night. The dual guitar right at the end is as memorable as it is brief. The set closes on “Willy’s World.” This song creates a pleasant warble in your cortex and a lasting gentle throb deeper down, where meaning swims in the ink of delusion. I am going to be hearing this album again, over and over. Recommended.

The digital is out now with vinyl to follow soon. You can scoop it all up at Bandcamp or through the label’s Big Cartel digital storefront.


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Kimono Drag Queens, Songs of Worship review (Copper Feast Records 2020)