By 1983, AC/DC were on top of the world. At that time, they sold over 20 million albums and have risen above tragedy following the death of their prior lead singer, Bon Scott. On “Flick of the Switch,” AC/DC produces the album themselves, ditching Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who worked on the band’s prior three records. While it doesn’t match up to those efforts, it still makes for a helluva fun ride. My favorite track is, no doubt, “Guns for Hire.” It’s a sample of classic AC/DC: loud guitars, a catchy chorus, a hook strong enough to sink the Titanic, and Brian Johnson’s nails-on-a-chalkboard shriek. “Bedlam in Belgium,” “Brain Shake,” and the pulsating title track are also fun numbers that show guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young at the top of their game. Compared to, say, “Back in Black,” this album doesn’t have the polish of Lange’s production and was rightfully billed as a “back-to-basics” release. “Flick of the Switch” is part of the final batch of reissues Sony has done for the AC/DC collection. There aren’t any bonus tracks, but the sound has been remastered and includes a booklet of photos and notes (Strangely, there are no lyrics. What’s up with that?). “Flick of the Switch” may lack surprises and new tricks, but it’s still an overall consistent CD. Even after 20 years, the “switch” is still on.
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Ah, this old lost classic, even though i’m not what you would call a hardcore fan of this band, this album is definatly one of my favorite hardrock albums. i would pick this album over classics like “back in black” or “highway to hell”, in my opinon, “flick of the switch” is just as good as BIB. i am glad that they reissued this album and now it sounds better and has better packaging then the original did. this is often the ignored ac/dc album but i don’t know why because this is ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS AC/DC EVER MADE! malcolm young has even stated that he thinks “flick of the switch” is the bands most underrated effort. “guns for hire” is one of the best ac/dc songs ever written, this whole album is an electric shock, it is their most energetic album w/ songs like “this house is on fire” “nervos shakedown” “bedlam in belgium” the title cut, ect. you can’t go wrong by getting this, just a shot of pure rock!
When this particular album came out, many pretty much gave up on AC/DC right there; if it wasn’t bells and cannons, those “fans” would have nothing to do with it. While definitely under produced and probably in need of more work than was put into it, Flick of the Switch is a back to basics, no-nonsense type of album. It was meant to be pure, raw, hard rock, so raw in fact, the album cover even gives the feeling of a bootleg.
Again, it needs work. But they honestly, did not have the time; the record label basically said, “Ok, the tour starts on such-and-such-a-date; when do you think you can have an album ready to tour with?” Not only is that alot of pressure, but it doesn’t even give alot of time to come up with new material, let alone perfect it. When one understands both this factor, and the idea behind the album, one can begin to truly appeciate what it’s supposed to be.
Trust me. The album’s worth the $10 it’ll cost you.
A classic, powerful cover that is white hot.
I can’t tell you how much i adore this album, it never leaves my stereo! it’s been that way for a long time. My FLICK OF THE SWITCH cassette tape literaly melted into the tape deck from being overplayed.I own the whole AC/DC catalog and this is king of the mountain. When listeing, one can not help to recall the classic Bon Scott days, this is best described as BACK IN BLACK and POWERAGE thrown in a blender. One can not help but resist the high energy of RISING POWER or simpley keeping oneself from bursting out in flames over THIS HOUSE IS ON FIRE. Or what about the raw guitar assault of GUNS FOR HIRE? or the Elvis like boogie of BRAINSHAKE?
Anyone getting sick of BACK IN BLACK being played for the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000th time? go throw on the switch and find out about this overlooked classic.
Originally released in August of 1983, “Flick of the Switch” is a damn fine AC/DC record, and if you love the band, I really can’t understand not digging it.
In the liner notes for this 2003 remastered version of “Flick…” (which sounds great, by the way), Malcolm Young explains that the band wanted to get back-to-basics with this record, which they produced themselves, and you can see what he means–the album has a real live-in-the-studio sound to it, with guitars exploding out of the speakers, plus all but two of the tracks are under 4 minutes, and they’ve completely ditched the special effects a la the bell tolls on “Hells Bells” or the cannons on “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)”. Also, Brian Johnson’s vocals are at their gloriously piercing best throughout.
The liner notes also state that the album is “remarkably varied”. Is this a joke or what? One thing that there sure as hell isn’t a lot of on this album is variety. The boys do a nice job of mixing up the tempos–you have your slower paced tunes (“Rising Power”, “Nervous Shakedown”, “Deep In The Hole”), medium-fast tunes (title track, “Guns For Hire”, “Bedlam In Belgium”), and fast tunes (“Landslide”, “Brain Shake”)–but that hardly makes for a “remarkably varied” batch of songs. One thing I won’t argue about though is that the album is indeed very consistent.
The album starts off with “Rising Power” which is one of those great AC/DC stompers, with a brilliant sequence of kickass riffs. Likewise, “Nervous Shakedown” has another great sequence of riffs and builds spellbinding tension before breaking into the call-and-response chorus. The title track, with its sly guitar licks, is a ton of fun. The boogying “Landslide” is one of the most wildly exciting rock songs ever–it’s a furious, fast-paced thrill ride with an ultra-catchy rapid-fire vocal hook leading into the chorus, and blistering guitar soloing from Angus; if this song doesn’t get your heart racing, I don’t know what the hell will. Also irresistible are “Deep In The Hole”, with its cry-of-desperation chorus; and “Bedlam In Belgium”, with its clever almost-but-not-quite-synchronized rhythm guitar parts and its spiritedly malevolent chorus.
As solid as the album is, it’s not a bonafide classic. “This House Is On Fire” is a middling rewrite of “Hells Bells”. “Guns For Hire” sounds a bit rushed-through and underwritten, although there’s no denying that it’s got a hell of a main riff. The bluesy “Badlands” lazily recycles the “Bad Boy Boogie” riff, although there is an ear-catching bit in the riff just before the guitar solo. The album closing “Brain Shake” is a really cool tune that seems to borrow some of its riffery straight from the Beatles “Helter Skelter”, but the repetitive “joy to ride” ‘hook’ gets to be a little annoying, as does the heavy repetition of the title.
You’ve got to be nuts to think that this album marks the beginning of a major artistic decline for AC/DC. If you actually enjoy the watered-down, Foreigner-style arena-rock of songs like “Touch Too Much” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”, then it makes sense that you’d find this album disappointing. But the true AC/DC aren’t about lame cockrock; they’re about ass-kicking hard rock, and “Flick of the Switch” does a very fine job of capturing the true essence of the band–this album is a must for any true AC/DC fan.