"Many hard rock acts who had been big during the 70s had a rough patch commercially during the 80s, with a few exceptions. Many bands found their commercial stance slipping, and either faded from the spotlight, broke up, or resorted to conforming to the now-dated 80s sound of technology-induced sterility (even greats like Cheap Trick, ELO, Kansas, and the Kinks succumbed to the synthesizer).
But not AC/DC. True, by 1985 their records weren't steamrolling down the fans like "Back in Black" had five years prior, but their sales were slipping. Not enough to cause record execs at Atlantic to drop them or force in "hip" outside songwriters, as was the case with many bands, but enough for even the band themselves to notice.
That's what makes "Fly on the Wall," AC/DC's 1985 effort, so special. Aside from also having killer chords, distinguishing riffs, and Brian Johnson's piercing vocals, the album was released smack dab in the middle of the 80s, a time when synthesizers and hairspray were dominating MTV, the radio, and the concert arena (though the "thunder from down under" did maintain a healthy concert draw status even in this era). The quality on "Fly on the Wall" exceeds that of the previous album, 1983's "Flick of the Switch." Not that "Flick" had been a bad album, but the material wasn't as memorable or strong as this record. New drummer Simon Wright's presence was clear, but not too apparent as to make a drastic departure in AC/DC's formulaic hard rock sound.
The only mention Rolling Stone gave of this album was a bizarre, ranting half-praise/half-disdain review of several hard rock/heavy metal acts in one column, and the album peaked at #32 in the US (which was far better than what some of AC/DC's sliding counterparts were achieving in 1985). Nonetheless, there's not a trace of that dated 80s sound on "Fly on the Wall," and there's enough muscular material to make it one of AC/DC's often overlooked gems. The title track, 'Sink the Pink,' 'First Blood,' and 'Sink the Pink' are strong and dare I say memorable, and the meaty anthem 'Hell or High Water' should have been as revered as their other classic, 'For Those About to Rock...'
"Fly on the Wall" is a crunching, screaming, blistering jewel from the middle of one of the most dismal decades for rock and roll."
SINK THE PINK
MRT | 10/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"yeah most ACDC albums sound the same, but they are so good at it.this is also another one of the ACDC releases that really benifited from remastering.DANGER is one of the few slow songs done with brian johnson.the rest of the cd just rocks (acdc rock)"
AC/DC's worst... to be honest...
B. G. Ball | Seattle, WA | 02/21/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"To be honest, this album is terrible... You have be a complete AC/DC fanatic to rate this album five out of five. This album was a huge disappointment for me. The album lacks in every aspect, musically, lyrically, and there's no concept... nothing to give the album a back bone. In other words this album doesn't show case any of AC/DC's cool guitar riffs, and the album doesn't have much meaning.
For those who gave this album four or five out of five:This is no classic. This isn't "Actung Baby," or "Back in Black." The album doesn't have any hits, and I personally think there isn't any strong song on this album... I can't believe AC/DC went on this track...
When I was listening to this album (the first time) I wondered whether I was listening to white noise, or car traffic... it was that bad.
I'm a big fan of AC/DC and all the other classic bands, but this album is terrible, and I'll will stay intitled to that thought no matter how many people disagree. It's a huge suprise that this album even sold a million in the U.S. It's totally over produced.
If you want better AC/DC get the "The Razors Edge," "Highway To Hell," "Black Ice," and "High Voltage."
This album is bad, and that's my own candid thought about this album.
** out of *****"
toolkien | Elkhorn, WI United States | 02/19/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"AC/DC is knocked for "all their albums sounding the same", which in a sense is true. But within the confines of the same arrangements they always found the tasty riffs that seperated the sheep for us shepherds, and space was left in the production and mastering to let each set of riffs shine. But this album is too overproduced so that the subtle nuances are lost and pretty much every song does indeed sound the same. Every song ends up being one wall of sludge that after about three or four (pick whichever songs you want) it gets to be too much.
That's not to say it's all bad, it is AC/DC afterall, but this album would work best as part of a shuffle of Brian Johnson era AC/DC playlist or a hardrock playlist. It's not an album you're going to listen to front to back like HTH or BIB or even FTATR. Back in the day I even gave FOTS more front to back listens than I did this album. As a teenager without money to spare, I remember having buyers remorse with this album - I didn't feel that way about FOTS."