Airbourne was founded in 2003 and their first album didn’t come until 2007. They hail from Australia and their musical influences are Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Def Leppard and of course being from Australia…AC/DC. The AC/DC influence is the biggest as they are now doing what they did in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They are delivering some dirty, gritty, sleazy, no holds barred, uncompromising rock & roll.
Airbourne is one of those bands that if you’ve heard one album, you’ve heard them all kind of like with AC/DC. And you know what, that is perfectly fine. When you buy an Airbourne album, you know what you are getting and you aren’t expecting them to change the face of music. You want what you want and if you are buying this, you love that ball busting, blistering speed and some nasty ass guitar licks. You want Rock & Roll. Lead singer Joel O’Keefe is a Bon Scott clone with shades of Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot and that me, is pretty damn cool.
Are you ready to rock & roll with this list? Fine, then here we go…
THE WORST – ‘BONESHAKER’ (2019):
I hate to say it, but the most recent release, ‘Boneshaker’, is my least favorite of the bunch. It is the band’s first album without rhythm guitarist, David Roads. It now had Matt “Harri” Harrison on rhythm guitar, but it isn’t his fault the album didn’t strike the same chord with me. The album had all the same elements as before, it was loud, heavy guitar, thumping bass lines, total destruction from the drums and Joel’s raucous vocals which is everything I love about them. But the songs left me a little flat this time around.
The album is a bit rawer and less polished then the last couple albums which can be a plus and the opening track “Boneshaker” is a pure ball-buster for sure. And I love the theme of “Weapons of War” as it tackles PTSD. However, overall the album’s songs are not quite as strong and falls a little short although it is still fantastic, but the last album was a little more cohesive than this one felt. I did give it a 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars so it is still a good album…but not as good as the rest.
#5 – ‘BLACK DOG BARKING’ (2013):
What a great album cover. I love the black dog and those teeth. If that doesn’t tell you what’s inside this album, then nothing will. This dog has teeth so to be this far down, the others must be really good. The reason this one is further down is it is a little more polished then their first two, which isn’t a bad thing, it just took away a little of the rawness of those two. But don’t fret, it still has that AC/DC flair and those songs so dirty, that you need to grab a beer and chug it down again and again and again.
From the opening track of “Ready to Rock” all the way to “Black Dog Barking” the album does have a lot of bite…yes…I went there. Some of the other stand out tracks are “Live It Up” and “Back in the Game” as both attack the senses. And I don’t want to leave out “Cradle to the Grave” as so great to have such a beast this deep on the album. Good stuff all around.
#4 – ‘NO GUTS, NO GLORY’ (2010):
On the bands second album, there was no denying the were AC/DC clones and I believe everyone was okay with that. If you don’t like AC/DC, you ain’t going to like these guys. This one picked up right where the debut left off. It is balls to the walls, hammer down rock and roll fun. You can feel the energy and imagine what the live show is like with these songs.
The album gives you so many great tracks starting with “Born to Kill” and “No Way But the Hard Way”. From there it gets better with “Blonde, Bad And Beautiful” and “Raise the Flag”. What I love about their albums is that the usually end strong and “Back on the Bottle” is that…Strong. But the album falls to #4 mainly because where the debut was Amazing, this one is full of really good song with only a handful considered Great or even Amazing. But still a hell of a good time listening.
#3 – ‘DIAMOND CUTS: THE B-SIDES’ (2017):
I am sure you will find this odd that an album of bonus tracks, b-sides and two previously unreleased songs would make it so high. And let me tell you I was surprised as well. ‘Diamond Cuts’ takes a lot of the bonus track songs from the first three albums and compiles them in to one fine piece of vinyl. The band wanted to celebrate the bands 10 years together and this was a freaking great celebration.
The band loves to sing about women, “Red Dress Woman”; the love to sing about sex, “My Dynamite Will Blow You Sky High (And Get Ya Moanin’ After Midnight)”; and the love to sing about partying, “Party In The Penthouse”. As a result, you are served up with a smorgasbord of rock & roll anthems that will blow you away.
#2 – ‘BREAKIN’ OUTTA HELL’ (2016):
The album comes out of the gate swinging and does not stop until the last note is played. It never slows down and there are no power ballads, it is just loud, head banging rock & roll…like it should be. There are basically 5 types of songs on this album. Songs referencing Hell, songs about Rock, songs about Fighting, songs about Drinking and songs about Sex. No surprise because what else is there to sing about.
“Breakin’ Outta Hell” is one of the heaviest sounding songs to come out this year and just screams with loud guitars and drums and that rough, raspy voice of Joel O’Keefe. It really brings the essence of the whole album into one song and just a mind blowing way to start the album. “When I Drink I Go Crazy” is pure unadulterated fun and “Down On You” is vulgar and disgusting and absolutely wonderful at the same time. It is an orgasm for your ears…okay that is a stretch, but it is one of the many great songs on this album. You can read the review on the rest of the songs.
#1 – ‘RUNNIN’ WILD’ (2007):
When these guys popped up on the scene in 2007, they gave music the kick in the balls it needed. Airbourne reminded us what god old fashioned dirty rock & roll is supposed to sound like. They brought back the guitar in a BIG way! Yes, they were AC/DC clones (kind of like Greta Van Fleet is Led Zeppelin’s) but they were more than that. They were a reminder of the fun music was growing up. They were unapologetic about it and they didn’t give a fuck about anyone. They came out and did what they did and we are for the better because of it.
The opening track says it all…”Stand Up For Rock N Roll”. 80’s rock was all about excess and “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” reminded us of that very fact and we loved it! From “BlackJack” to “HellFire”, the band crushed it throughout. This album made me turn it up to 11 and made the saying “when I listen to Airbourne, so do my neighbors” never be more true. This was a blast from beginning to end for me and made me an instant fan and I think I will always be.
And there you have it, Airbourne’s studio albums in order of how I rank them from the worst to the best. Let me know what you think. Where did we differ and where did we agree. What is fun about these list is how differently each album impacts people. What I like, you might not, but we like the same artist and that is all that matters really. And if as a result, you find something new, then my job is done!!!
Oh yeah, I forgot…I actually do own every single one of these on vinyl. Here is my collection…you could say that I’m a fan!!