"Hard Rock N' Roll"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Bon Scott is dead. He died in 1980. I was a junior in high school then and I'm 50 years old now. He was one of those iconic rock n roll guys whose death you just can't get over. In Argentina, they must have taken it a lot harder than anywhere else, if 42 Decibel is anything to go by. These guys have pretty much dug Bon out of his grave and stuck him in front of a slapdash version of 1977 AC/DC to record "Hard Rock N' Roll".

Orchid's recent "The Mouth of Madness" looks like a work of stunning originality compared to this bald-faced attempt to resurrect the AC/DC of the 70's. Sometimes bands that are overwhelmingly influenced by one band can be entertaining to listen to, but this is just creepy. It's not even fun to spot which old AC/DC song inspired a corresponding track's as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Plus, if you listen to "Hard Rock N' Roll", you'll appreciate the brilliance of Bon's old band even more. These guys can ape the sound, but the subtleties of the songwriting ecape them. They take great Aussie riffs and beat them into submission.  The worst example is the opening "Scotch Drinker", which seems to drag on and on and on. They just do not have a clue when to pull the plug. Also, song titles like the aforementioned "Scotch Drinker", "Drinkin' Margaritas", "Drunk Love" and the shockingly ground-breaking "Gimme A Drink" come across rather tasteless considering Scott choked to death on his own vomit after a drinking binge. Singer Junior Figueroa tries his best to clone Mr. Scott, but there was only one Bon. Junior just does not have the charm.

The strongest point of 42 Decibel is the ass-kicking guitar solos. Yes, they are 100% Angus Young approved, but you will be jamming when these guys cut loose. I could listen to the bluesy licks on cuts like "Long Legged Woman" all day long. Is it enough to save this record? Not for me, this sort of almost mindless influence worship is just too grating. This is like a cover band that plays originals...but not as good as the source. Even undemanding AC/DC fans may be creeped out.