“Rolling In Town”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Here’s an example of the progress a band can make when they put their mind to it. Chile’s 42 Decibel first came to my attention with their “Hard Rock N’ Roll” album, where their ghoulish attempt to completely clone Bon Scott-era AC/DC left a sour taste in my mouth. They’re back on the attack with “Rolling In Town” and while this is obviously the same band, they’ve learned a lot in the interim and the result is that “Rolling In Town” is a much better and more enjoyable album. In fact, you might say it rocks like hell.

“Hard Rock N’ Roll” was such slavish devotion to early AC/DC that it was distasteful. Also, it ran way too long, wearing out what little welcome it had. On “Rolling In Town”, the approach is much more relaxed…42 Decibel sounds like a band that’s influenced by AC/DC, not one that’s trying to be AC/DC. The songs have more variation and if anything, these guys are even more blues-based than the Aussies. There’s tons of greasy slide guitar ala George Thorogood from Mr. Billy Bob Riley and that’s something we never heard much of from AC/DC. The vocals of Junior Figueroa still are very obviously in the Bon Scott vein but not quite a total clone. The music just sounds better, more energetic and more natural…”Rude and Fast” lives up to its name, “Short Fused” is a great rocker with plenty slide guitar and “Down The Hatch” has a cheerful, upbeat sound. This time around, there are longer cuts like “Eye of the Hawk” and “Cold Steel Rider” that start out in more subdued fashion but build to a raw climax. On the last cut “Smooth Talker”, the band leave rock behind completely and go for a total Chicago blues sound…something which AC/DC themselves never did.

There’s still no getting around the fact that AC/DC is the prime mover behind 42 Decibel, but now they’ve learned how to be their own band and “Rolling In Town” is all the more enjoyable because of it.