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Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Black Aces - Shot In The Dark

The hardrock band Black Aces is hitting the streets with a new album Shot in the Dark. Searing hot solos and pounding riffs await, as hardrock is wont to deliver. The songs are solid, the skills are there, and the album kicks off in epic fashion. But after three or four songs the realization set in; I might as well have put on some AC/DC again. There is little to no difference from the one band that started the hard rock scene off a long, long time ago. For Black Aces to come so close music-wise is a waste of good musical skills. You’d expect a bit more evolution after 40-odd years.

The album kicks off with Shot in the Dark, that deviates a little if only for the slightly less up-tempo that AC/DC wouldn’t use that often. T then goes on to blunder its way through the song in not so epic fashion but in fact the song holds up rather decently. The saving grace in Black Aces’ Shot in the Dark is that in fact the musicians are all well-talented and good at what they do, the music itself is not bad, well-written, well-executed. The only thing about that which really bothered me is that the singer seems to have no other voice than the screaming-out-loud one, which is not all that varied and not that great to begin with.

The song that stands out as a really rather different song, perhaps, is Back on the Chain. Here Black Aces finally depart from their heritage and the music gets more of a Mötorhead feel, is snappy and fast, still has the sort of signature loud overdrive but it is put to better use. It really is a head-banging song that finally sounds more crisp and has a veneer of newness over it. At that point the band Black Aces is in the spotlight for something they are good at, instead of what hardrock has been good at for a long time yet.

Another song that stands out is Let it Roll, but for me it does a whole lot wrong. It tries so hard to be the off-the-wall party anthem that after solo phrase number three you’d think you’d be busy dancing. But Black Aces will fire it at you again, and then some more. And again, the songs aren’t bad, it’s just a shame that if I listen one or eleven, I will hear AC/DC. What AC/DC have done for 40-odd years Black Aces does too, but not as well as the rock gods. That is no shame, but it is just a pity they rarely find their own thing to be good at.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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