Picks and Pans Review: Fly on the Wall
When it comes to heavy-metal rock, you can argue with success. Just because some spandexed simp plasters his rec room with platinum records doesn't mean he has talent or something to say. Two veteran rabble-rousers, AC/DC and Uriah Heep, demonstrate the difference between phony rock and the genuine article. Befitting its Dickensian name, Uriah Heep has had, since its formation in 1970, a cast of characters larger than David Copperfield. The group's greatest hits album contained an elaborate chart detailing the comings and goings of band members. But no matter how much the names change, the songs remain the same: monotonous and derivative. Over the years Uriah Heep has chased whatever is popular. (This year's model seems to be Foreigner.) Only two songs on the LP, Poor Little Rich Girl and Lost One Love, are listenable. Mick Box is particularly annoying, flailing around on the guitar as if he were being attacked by killer bees. The best future the group's 16th album, Equator (Columbia), might have is as elevator music at a steel mill. The Aussie quintet AC/DC, on the other hand, is metal with mettle. Led by elfin guitarist Angus Young, AC/DC's music lumbers around like a Japanese movie monster: bent on destruction but likable. Fly on the Wall (Atlantic) is a fine example of the group's charged-up style, especially the songs Sink the Pink and Shake Your Foundations. Not all the tunes measure up to that level, but the band is untiring in its pursuit of megawatt impact. Over a 10-year span AC/DC has also had its share of new faces. Angus and his guitarist brother Malcolm are the only original members left. But they're a bedrock foundation. You could back them with a Salvation Army band and they would still be formidable.
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