AC/DC: If You Want Blood You’ve Got It (Atlantic K50532)

WHAT CAN you say? AC/DC. A live album. An inevitable live album, given the knowledge that they’re one of the best heavy metal bands around at the moment. An album that will satisfy the primitive appetites of their growing gang of advocates. Really, what else can you say?

Well, you say that the tracks are representative of the crude, brain-damaging, direct rock AC/DC have recorded in their four previous albums. There’s ‘Riff Raff’, ‘Bad Boy Boogie’, ‘The Jack’, ‘Problem Child’, ‘Lotta Rosie’, ‘High Voltage’ and ‘Rocker’, to name the more lethal tracks.

You can say that the title is apt for the havoc that is wreaked inside the cardboard cover; that Vanda and Young have captured in their direct production all the energy that AC/DC unleash at their gigs, the energy and sheer undiluted power that makes them a band not to be ignored; that AC/DC have laid their identity on the line for all to see, and that their personality doesn’t have time to prance tidily around but relies primarily on riotous behaviour; that the cover (Angus Young stabbing himself with his guitar) is a neat fantasy.

You can say, too, that the band’s live performance is captured gloriously and that the five of them together create an intimidating might, though individually they’re not exactly virtuosos. Again you’d single out Angus Young as being an underrated HM guitarist (and suggest that the schoolboy, outfit gimmick is to blame for that), and further add that Bon Scott’s vocal, accentuated by his gruff Glaswegian slur, is a major asset.

You can finish by saying that it goes a wee bit over the top on the audience participation vibe but, despite that minor flaw, it’s still an album that reflects precisely why AC/DC are finding a major audience and why, if you like your rock rough, ready and raucous, you’ll get it. That’s all you can say, really.

© Harry DohertyMelody Maker, 11 November 1978

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