Perhaps it's fitting that AC/DC's 15th studio album will be sold exclusively through one retailer (Wal-Mart) — because this collection consists of little more than a single song.

The Aussie outfit's first album in eight years kicks off with the single "Rock N Roll Train," a meaty, medium-paced riff assault with a terrific, growling performance from singer Brian Johnson and a lead-guitar solo courtesy of Angus Young that erupts out of the song like the baby monster pummeling its way through John Hurt's chest in Alien. And, with the exception of some slower, more atmospheric moments during "Rock N Roll Dream," all 15 tracks on Black Ice could be described in almost exactly the same way.

Of course, the appeal of AC/DC lies with their more-than-30-year-old commitment to the same no-frills metal groove. But that groove now seems in danger of becoming a rut. True, "Stormy May Day" has some nice slide guitar, "She Likes Rock N Roll" boasts a smidgen more funk in the playing of bassist Cliff Williams, and "Anything Goes" is both the disc's most hummable moment and its most wistful. But all these midtempo songs are still incredibly similar to one another, as they are to the almost identically paced "Big Jack," "War Machine," and "Decibel" (though the latter does contain an all-time-great dumb lyric: ?Decibel!/That?s the history of Rock N Roll!?). Even 2000?s fairly monochromatic Stiff Upper Lip had more varied material — as well as 75 percent fewer songs with the word rock in the title. B?

Black Ice
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