Every band has a debut album. Some debut albums are generally regarded by critics and fans alike as classics, such as Van Halen's debut, Led Zeppelin's debut album, and many others. However, sometimes debut albums aren't regarded as classics at all. Rush's first album is an example of this.
But sometimes, a debut album is overlooked and forgotten by critics. This is AC/DC's case. Critics spend most of their time praising Back In Black and Highway To Hell, when High Voltage is actually the band's second best album. It is their most hard rock release. The riffs and overall sound of the album are raw, as well as the vocals. It doesn't sound at all over-polished.
The songs too, are superb. This album contains many well-known AC/DC classics, such as T.N.T. and The Jack, but the album also contains a few lesser-known tracks that are still just as great. What about the musicianship, you ask? The musicianship is also superb, but mainly with the lead guitar of Angus Young and the also impressive rhythm guitar of brother Malcolm Young. This is when Angus was in his prime, and that's probably why there are so many great riffs throughout the album. The bass and drums are just simple, and don't do much to the music. High Voltage is definitely a guitar-driven album more than anything else.
Pretty much every track is energetic and fun, except of course for the slower songs, such as The Jack. There is a lot of blues influence here, in songs such as The Jack. This is a slow and bluesy song, and many people consider it to be among AC/DC's best, I just find it a decent track only. It is still a very enjoyable song though.
Some of the highlights on the album are the opening track, Rock 'n' Roll Singer, T.N.T, and the energetic title track. The opener, It's A Long Way To The Top(If You Want To Rock 'n' Roll) is very energetic, with generic AC/DC rock-star lyrics, but hey, they are well-done. This is, in terms of originality, an amazing AC/DC song, due to the fact that there is a bagpipe solo. Many fans find this annoying, but I for one love it. =)
Rock 'n' Roll Singer is, once again, a rock song about wanting to rock, but AC/DC are pros at making the simple formula absolutely perfect. This is one of my favorites on the album, as well as it being quite possibly the catchiest song on here, due to it's memorable chorus. Of course, T.N.T. is a highlight. This is one of AC/DC's most famous songs, and it does not disappoint. From the lowdown and dirty lyrics, to the "OY!" sounds, to the chorus, to the magnificent solo, this truly is one of the most impressive tracks on the whole album.
The closer of High Voltage is the title tack, called High Voltage. It's a somewhat shorter track than some of the rest of the album, but it still delivers magnificently. It IS
the most energetic song of the album, especially the chorus. Pretty much every track on the album is good though, but it is not without flaw.
Like I said before, the drums and bass aren't really noticeable. Well, the drums are, but the bass is just sort of hidden in the mix of the guitars and such, like with Metallica's And Justice For All. The song Can I Sit Next To You Girl is a slow and somewhat annoying track that fails to just RAWK. Little Lover is also an unmemorable track.
But other than that, this is a virtually perfect hard rock album. From the heavy guitar riffs, to the superb vocals of the late Bon Scott, this is a classic album. It has a few minor flaws, so it does not receive full marks, but it is remarkably close.
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