One could write volumes about the parallels to the other big album released approximately concurrently, Death Magnetic, with a possible criticism being that issuing a perfect, smart, self-aware album that reaches into the heart of what the band is about, is actually trite and not bold enough - just "accomplished." But this record, if good, was going to get played by me way more than the excellent Metallica album. And I'm totally digging it, so those abstract arguments fly right out the window - I'd like to be happy, thanks, and I'll suppress misgivings to get there. Black Ice is track after track of fun time metal reflective of a maturity and a decades-long steeping of a sound that is beloved by upwards of hundreds of millions around the world (OK, if you count people now dead). There are some weird ones here I may not warm to however, such as the poppy 'Anything Goes'. And through no fault of itself in isolation, something like 'Big Jack' might fade due to similarity of its bits to bits all over the rest of the album. OK, to sum up (and get back to the headbang), this is an action-packed album, with riffs that seem to be the product of some thought, recorded loudly and electrically (let's not get into the compression debate again). And finally, AC/DC have capitalized on the unsuccessful explorations into the swamp of their last two albums, Ballbreaker and Stiff Upper Lip. They've found a way to grab hold of that alligator (Florida and Australia are the two main bases of these guys, right?) and add some sparks to the fight. As a result, Black Ice sounds alive and rhythmic, with new permutations track after track, most anthemic, and the rest, just sort of adding to the argument or the creative singularity of these guys being by far, the only band who sounds like this, now that Rhino Bucket and Angel City aren't around.