AIRBOURNE – Breakin’ Outta Hell

200x200When it comes Aussies Airbourne, they’re a clear case of “love them or hate them”. They have many fans that loves their no bullshit, kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll and doesn’t give a shit about their clear influences from AC/DC (and Rose Tattoo). Then there are the other side that hates their guts and proclaims as often as they can that Airbourne aren’t anything else than just another AC/DC copy-cat band. On stage, these guys are all about sheer energy and they kick ass like there’s no tomorrow and every gig is one big party. Myself, I fell instantly in love with the band as soon as I heard their debut Runnin’ Wild (2007) and their “we don’t give a fuck” attitude sure was contagious. As an adult with my teenage years way, way behind me, it felt really good to feel that young rock ‘n’ roll rebel spirit in me showing up again – even though it was only for the short time the album was on. But after a while, I had to raise the question: For how long can this band keep playing this kind of music without repeating themselves? I mean, AC/DC, sure, they have stayed true to their style since Jesus went to pre-school, but except for a few albums in the mid / late 80’s, AC/DC managed to vary their songs enough in a the-more-we-stay-the-same-the-more-we-change kind of way. But that’s AC/DC. For a band like Airbourne, you either stay true to the sound you have and run the risk of going on repeat or you change the sound and run the risk of losing your identity. They chose the former and released No Guts, No Glory in 2010, a record that did put them on repeat with songs that weren’t anywhere near the greatness of the debut, even though it wasn’t bad. Only a few songs made feel like the debut did and I actually started to wonder if that was it for the band. Maybe this was as far as they could get with this kind of music. But with their third album, Black Dog Barking (2013), they showed that, without changing one iota, they were back on track again. The songs were spitting fire and they sounded like they had been drinking gasoline for the last few years – butt-kicking songs that stuck, attitude and a huge party mood was the medicine. With their new record, I only had to look at the album cover and read the title to know that we would get the same treatment once again. But the question was, would they make the same No Guts, No Glory “mistake” all over again or would they run us over with another high-octane jawbreaker?

They open up the album with the title track, a frantic beast that in usual Airbourne-style will beat the shit of you and making you pick up your teeth from the floor with your broken fingers. They make it totally clear from go that they don’t take prisoners and they’re out for blood. “I’m a crazy motherfucker and I just don’t care” yells lead singer / guitarist Joel O’Keeffe and that is exactly what this band is about. I love the song and I am getting a really good vibe for the rest of the album. First video “Rivalry” is heavy, ballsy and fat and the AC/DC influence is clearly present, but some of the riffs has a Led Zeppelin vibe to them as well. The gang vocals also brings a shitload of attitude to the table and again, this lot mean business. “Get Back Up” kicks and screams like a wounded bear and the arrangement and the melodies sounds as if the guys had been listening to AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock (1981) – an extremely underrated album, if you ask me – when they wrote the song. I just can’t help loving this. “It’s Never Too Loud For Me”.  Oh, I believe you, Joel. The title pretty much speaks for itself – it’s a song perfect for a small rock club with your ears next to the speakers, leaving you half deaf for days. That’s rock and roll, folks! Next up is “Thin The Blood” and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what this song is all about. It’s a hard, fast and aggressive drinking song made for some serious headbanging. And for drinking yourself blind to. I’m getting sweaty just by listening to it. The groove of “I’m Going To Hell For This” is addictive – it’s a mad, heavy and brutal rocker that takes us back to the early days of AC/DC. It’s not fast, but it has punch – and attacks from behind. Yeah! “Down On You” is a sleazy, dirty hard rock boogie groover that discusses the topic of eating… eeeeh, the female… genitals. It’s a great song and what would an album like this be without some nasty?

The nasty continues with “Never Been Rocked Like This” – ‘rocked’ being synonymous with, well you know. The song might just be a bit too close to AC/DC for comfort but the attitude and the boyish, teenage testosterone look on a nice sleazy bang is irresistable. Another title that speaks for itself is “When I Drink I Go Crazy” – this is just as deep as a shit drunk Saturday night on the local pub and as intellectual as a Neanderthal. But the song sounds so familiar it feels like I have heard this song before, a classic case of stealing too much from yourself. “Do Me Like You Do Yourself” is a teenage boy’s wet sex dream put to music, in this case an upbeat rock and roll attack with a chorus that will be chanted around the world on the next tour. The closing track (if you don’t get the de luxe edition) “It’s All For Rock ‘n’ Roll” was written when the great Lemmy Kilmister passed away and it’s a tribute to him (“a million eardrums shattered like glass…”). What’s cool is that they haven’t tried to write a Motörhead song, they only tell us how much Lemmy meant to them and to a shitloads of others. The song is great gut-puncher with an infectious groove and chorus that hits right away. The deluxe edition contains the song “Bombshell”, an awesome song with a kick-ass groove, fists in the air-beat and one helluva chorus – way too good for a bonus track only. No doubt, it’s worth a little extra green for this song.

If you want a thinking man’s rock album with classical trained musicians and singers that will make Pavarotti sound like Vince Neil, then look elsewhere because this album is a what you see is what you get album. And what you get is a pubertal, dumb, drunken, in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll made by cavemen for cavemen at full blast with all guns blazing, everything done with a big twinkle in their eyes. Want to calm down with a ballad? Then buy a Bon Jovi-album and you’ll get a ballad-orgie. On this record, there’s nothing even close to a ballad, this album is like getting hit in the back of your head by a shovel – hard! So how about repeating a formula then? Well, yeah, Airbourne do have their style and sure, there is stuff on here that has been recycled, but the songs are so damn good, it doesn’t matter one bit. The riffs, the melodies, the rhythm, the beat – everything is catchy as f**k and that’s all that counts. This album is made for the party and for the stage. Or as Joel O’Keeffe put it:  “No ballads, no bullshit, just hard rocking songs that can help you break outta Hell. Ultimately, we just wanted to make a great drinking record”. And that sums it up very well. Fact is, that’s all you need to know really. That and that Breakin’ Outta Hell is their best album since the debut!


Other Airbourne reviews:

Black Dog Barking


1. Breakin’ Outta Hell
2. Rivalry
3. Get Back Up
4. It’s Never Too Loud For Me
5. Thin The Blood
6. I’m Going To Hell For This
7. Down On You
8. Never Been Rocked Like This
9. When I Drink I Go Crazy
10. Do Me Like You Do Yourself
11. It’s All For Rock N’ Roll
12. Bombshell (de luxe edition bonus track)