AB/CD – Back ‘n’ Attack (2023) *HQ*
Forty years have passed since that cold night at the end of 1983 when Nalle Påhlsson and Jim Gustafsson (Nalcolm and Clim) founded AB/CD, Sweden’s – perhaps even the world’s – first real AC/DC tribute band. After making the Stockholm’s club scene circuit, the mini-LP “Victim Of Rock” was released in 1986, which sold out in no time.
Making their own music / songs in the AC/DC style continued a few years later with the first full-length album “Rock’n’Roll Devil” (1992), which became a great success. The latest album “Cut The Crap” was released 1995.
Now 2023 AB/CD are back with their first new studio album in about 28 years titled ”Back ‘N’ Attack”. This is really well done, a true AC/DC sound into original songs also fun with the vocal variations. Pontus Snibb (Bonafide) performs lead vocals on 6 tracks and does a fantastic job in the best Bon Scott fashion, complementing the band’s singer Brajan, with his more Brian Johnson sounding voice.
Song titles like “Caveman Brain”, “Grab The Bull By The Balls”, “The One Eyed Trouser Snake”, and “The Neighbor Of The Beast” gossip that AB/CD has not lost either humor or fun over the years. “With tongue firmly placed in cheek” like the legendary Kerrang! journalist Malcolm Dome (RIP) would have put it.
As one would expect with a band name such as AB/CD, the songs sound like, well… AC/DC. In fact, AB/CD‘s songs sound like vintage or classic AC/DC — not the newer AC/DC stuff (anything post 1990’s The Razors Edge) that pales in comparison to the older material — but actual vintage AC/DC.
While the music itself on the AB/CD songs definitely sound like AC/DC, I couldn’t help but feel that many of the tracks had a vintage Bonafide feel to them due to the singing. As it turns out, Bonafide frontman Pontus Snibb actually handles the lead vocals on six of the eleven tracks.
There are some other guest vocalists with former AB/CD singer Micke Hujanen handling the lead vocals on three songs and the Chilean Brian Johnson sounding Ivàn Gac who appears on one track.
”Back ‘N’ Attack” starts off with a simple, effective guitar riff that you would expect from AC/DC. Snibb‘s familiar voice then can be heard before the song starts to really rock. The song title of “Grab The Bull By The Balls” is more than appropriate. It’s just a fantastic way to kick off the album. A headbanger. Yeah, “Grab The Bull By The Balls” really does engage the listener.
“Caveman Brain” rocks too but a different voice from Micke Hujanen, which is closer to what you might expect from an AC/DC singer. “My Way To Hell” is yet another midtempo rocker. The part when Snibb sings “I’m going down” followed by the background vocals is really cool.
“Slippin’ On The Rocks” is another easy to engage rocker which I think would go down live quite nicely. Next up is the very witty “667 The Neighbour of The Beast” which reminds me a bit of The Lazys with the guitar work and pace. Of course, the song is a funny reference to Iron Maiden‘s “The Number of The Beast”. The band even use the number “667” rather than “666”. I love the wittiness and humour that AB/CD are obviously trying to convey.
“All Hail” slows things down a tad but still rocks and a has a great melody to it. “Meat Rocker” has a nice groove to it and you feel like Hujanen is almost telling you a story.
“Sharpshooter” has a bluesy feel to it and Snibb‘s voice fits the track to perfection. The simple guitar riff is alive and well on “Halfway In” and shows that a song doesn’t have to be complicated to be really good. More than one band could learn a thing or two from listening to that song.
“21 Gun Salute” is a fun song as the lyrics make reference to a whole bunch of AC/DC songs. The opening verses tell you all you need to know about what the song will cover. “Whole lotta Rosie, let’s get it up! Highway to Hell’s got us Thunderstruck!” You even have some guitar snippets that will remind you of AC/DC‘s classic track “Thunderstruck”. It’s also the only song that features Chilean singer Ivàn Gac on lead vocals. Gac is sometimes referred as one of the best — if not the best — Brian Johnson impersonator out there. I think anyone would have to concede that he really sounds like Johnson. I would love to hear an entire AB/CD album with Gac on lead vocals.
”Back ‘N’ Attack” closes with “The One Eyed Trouser Snake” which has a great groove with seemingly Snibb on lead vocals. And there’s “Nutbush City Limits” as bonus, a version of a 1973 Ike & Tina Turner single, and AB/CD do a great job of making the cover their own.
Every track on ”Back ‘N’ Attack” is a good one. AB/CD have done a great job of capturing the best of and essence of AC/DC, and having a singer such as Pontus Snibb on about half the tracks helps to give them a slightly different sound to the band that they revere so much.
It’s safe to say that any self-respecting AC/DC fan will want — and even need — to have a copy of ”Back ‘N’ Attack” in their music collection. Also fans of classic rock well, very well done.
01 – Grab the Bull by the Balls
02 – Caveman Brain
03 – My Way to Hell
04 – Slippin’ on the Rocks
05 – The Neighbour of the Beast
06 – All Hail
07 – Meat Rocket
08 – Sharpshooter
09 – Half Way In
10 – 21 Gun Salute
11 – The One Eyed Trouser Snake
12 – Nutbush City Limits
Bengus (Bengt Ljungberger) – guitar
Nalcolm (Nalle Pahlsson) – guitar
Clim (Jim Gustafsson) – bass
Rude Fill (Johan Kullberg)- drums
Brajan (Martin Edin) – vocals
Pontus Snibb – lead vocals 1,3,5,6,8,9
Mikael Hujanen – lead vocals 2,4,7
Ivan Gac – lead vocals 10