This review was written shortly after we discovered what an amazing recording Back in Black was after finally getting around to doing our first big shootout for the album, right around 2008 or thereabouts.
Robert Ludwig must have had a phenomenally good transistor cutting system in 1980, aided in no small part by superbly musical tube compressors, perhaps the same ones he used on Led Zeppelin II, and we’re very glad that he did.
All that massive tube compression on the low end is at least partly responsible for Back in Black being one of the Best Sounding Rock Records Ever Made, especially if you have the kind of Big Speaker system that plays at loud levels like we do.
Our review from 2008:
If you love HUGE drums, meaty guitars, and monster riffs as much as we do, you’re going to freak out over the MASTER TAPE SOUND ON BOTH SIDES. Moments after dropping the needle, we heard a prominent low octave to the intro bells that we hadn’t noticed on other copies. We kept our fingers crossed and waited for the band to kick in, hoping for some serious bottom end power. And man oh man, it was there all right! I am pleased to report that the Whomp Factor on this copy was nothing short of MASSIVE
(For whomp factor, the formula goes like this: deep bass + mid bass + speed + dynamics + energy = whomp.)
I ask you, what album from 1980 sounds better than Back in Black?
Hell’s Bells has HUGE sound and in-the-room presence. The transparency and clarity are shocking — we heard texture on the guitars and room around the drums that simply weren’t to be found elsewhere, plus tons of echo and ambience. The vocals simply could not be any better — they’re breathy and full-bodied with loads of texture. The bottom end is big, beefy, and rock-solid. You probably never thought you’d ever use an AC/DC LP as a Demo Disc, but this side one will have you reconsidering that notion — it’s ALIVE!
Imagine our delight when it turned out that side two was just as good! Everything you could ask for from this music is here, and it won’t take you very long to realize that for yourself when you play You Shook Me All Night Long. The energy, presence, immediacy and tonality are all SUPERB. I don’t think you could find a better sounding side two no matter what you did!
This link will take you to all the titles we have available as Hot Stampers in the None Rocks Harder series .