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Album Review: Black Aces – ‘Shot in the Dark’ + Bonus Tracks

Album Review: Black Aces – ‘Shot in the Dark’ + Bonus Tracks

Blacks Aces are a straight up, no nonsense, thanks for coming, rock band from country Victoria in Australia. If you have the Australian edition of AC/DC’s, ‘High Voltage’, then that’s the vibe that’s going on here. If you know your Australian rock then you’ll also hear a lot of the Aztecs and The Angels.

Black Aces have been on the scene for a few years but, ‘Shot in the Dark’, is their first full lengther. You can hear all of the pubs, clubs and hang-outs that the Black Aces have toured through over the years. That includes an assault on the UK back in 2013 that resulted in the 2014 release of the, ‘Hellbound’, EP. Now we have, ‘Shot in the Dark’, with three bonus tracks.

First thing that you notice is the mix which is a Craig Harnath affair so I immediately think Airbourne but it’s more Dallas Crane so it’s OK and allows the vocal to stand out. Next thing you notice is the first track, it’s the title track and it is a face-melter. Everything you expect, including cracking choruses and clichéd lyrics that you can almost predict and grin like a maniac as you do. But that mix, there’s a wandering melody in there and it’s a little distracting. As we go on it’s apparent that this is an album in the truest sense as it’s a collection of individual songs each one different from the last.

A Girl Like You’, is so Powerage it’s not funny. It’s a great track, well mixed but could do with a bit more bass. Hopefully that would be fixed by whacking it on vinyl. ‘Back on the Chain’ is a riff-a-thon with vocals up in the stratosphere and gang vocals underpinning the whole shebang. The solo is immense. Every track is solid on this album, all ten on the original tracks and the three bonus tracks are solid.

Picking out the corkers and we have, ‘Rough Touch’, which has Aussie pub splattered all through it. Solid riffage with a crazy solo in the middle, gang vocals and a lead vocal that is primal. ‘Take it to the Wire’, has late AC/DC written all over it. By late I mean the ‘For those’ album as I didn’t intentionally listen to anything after that. This song reminds me a lot of, ‘I Put the Finger on You’ but that’s probably a good thing. The only bad thing about Black Aces sounding so much like early AC/DC is when there is a track that reminds you of a dodgy late AC/DC track then that’s when I get a bit jittery. The only track that I couldn’t connect with was, ‘Sick as a Dog’, as when I heard it I thought of a rather crap track from, ‘Blow up your Video’. It’s unavoidable because AC/DC are born of the sweatfest that is Aussie pub rock and so are Black Aces. Of the ten tracks there are nine corkers and, although I have the occasional problem with the mix, this is an album that is made for vinyl and it is all solid.

So there are three bonus tracks to sink our teeth into in this version. First up it’s, ‘Girls Got Rhythm’ from, ‘Highway to Hell’. Yep. Classic A-C-D-C. Ever heard the original live version of this? Well, its ball-tearingly immense. This version is good but I would have thought that, ‘Beating around the Bush’, was more in keeping with this album as it has more fire and general kicks arse from the off. Vocal is a bit strained but then again it’s a bit like covering the impossible for me as it’s such an immense track. The final two tracks, ‘Shake the Ace’, and ‘Wanted Man’ …. and,‘Shake the Ace’ is what I was after. Great track and blasts you back to Australia in the early 70s. I would have included this in the ten tracks for the album as it’s a corker from the insane riff at the beginning until the ragged end. ‘Wanted Man’ is just straight up rock, but I pause that and go back a track. ‘Shake the Ace’, is pick of the bunch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this album. If you like your music raw and like to spend your time punching the air, then this is probably for you. It’s a denim clad, rock out that harks back to a day when a hard rocking band somehow jammed themselves into the corner stage and still managed to whack out life changing music. Give it a go. It’s a winner.

The Black Aces are currently touring the UK and some venues in Europe. Get along and support a real, live, band.

Mon 3rd Oct          Rock City Basement, Nottingham, UK
Tue 4
th Oct            Waterfront Studio, Norwich, UK
Thu 6
th Oct            Borderline, London, UK
Fri 7
th Oct               Diamond Lounge, Doncaster, UK
Sat 8
th Oct             Fuel Club, Cardiff, UK
Sun 9
th Oct            Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, UK
Mon 10
thOct          The Cathouse, Glasgow, UK
Tue 11
thOct            Think Tank, Newcastle, UK
Wed 12
thOct          The Krazyhouse, Liverpool, UK
Tue 18
thOct            Backstage Club, Munich, DE
Thu 20
thOct            Rockpalast, Bochum, DE
Thu 10
thNov           Dove and Rainbow, Sheffield, UK
Sat 12
thNov            Hard Rock Hell, Wales, UK
Sun 13
thNov           Bolton, The Alma Inn*, UK

Review: Craig Grant

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