What the gods of rock give with one hand, they take away with the other. How do they manage that? Somehow, the best and brightest of modern hard rock all have albums releasing on the one day. And there’s only so much cash and time people have to devote to music. Some more than others, some less. However, when Airbourne release an album, you generally sit up and pay attention. Unless it’s No Guts, No Glory. Let’s not talk about that one.
Breakin’ Outta Hell is exactly what an Airbourne album should be: leaner than prime steak and more balls than a bowling alley. Eleven tracks and clocking in under the forty minute mark, it manages the first one. And the second one? Well, there’s no ballads so score another for the Aussies.
With Bob Marlette back at the production helm, there’s a sense of trying to re-capture the lightning in the bottle which was the debut album, Runnin’ Wild. To an extent, it works. The grittiness of Black Dog Barking has been stripped back and everything feels more shiny and perfect. It really does feel like the successor to the debut.
Musically, you’re not going to find much new, even when you get into the nitty-gritty of it. It’s Airbourne, after all. They’ve found and perfected their sound, now it’s just a case of delivering new music within those realms. They’ve never failed in that regard and they’re not the type to venture outwith it. It’s non-apologetic, fist-pumping, beer-chugging hard rock for the 21st century. Guitars with their crunchy riffs help convey the good-time, high-octane rock the band want to give to the world and they’ve certainly found a market for it, looking at the sizes of rooms they’re set to play in November.
Songs like “Rivalry” and “Down on You” I’d imagine will go down exceptionally well in a live setting, almost as if they’ve built from the ground up for such an occasion as the band look to be eyeing bigger and bigger stages. The latter and “Do Me Like You Do Yourself” cover that well-worn topic of…well, the titles don’t exactly make it subtle. Nor do the lyrics for that matter. There’s a handful of metaphors sprinkled in but if Steel Panther can get away with far more obscene lyrics, I’m sure Messrs O’Keeffe et al can be given a bit of leeway.
By no means a definitive or reputation-cementing album, Airbourne prove that they can still bring the goods and have a whole load of new songs in their arsenal. Breakin’ Outta Hell is one of those albums I could see getting an “In Full” tour in a year or so. Or at least by the end of the album cycle, every song will have been played at a live show. Whilst the band may refuse to deviate from their blueprint, it’s set them in good stead.
If you were intending on buying this, a review isn’t going to change your mind as Airbourne deliver exactly what you’d expect. Sometimes they manage it better than others and whilst nothing screams out to me “instant classic”, more often than not, you need to hear it live for it to click and let’s be honest, that’s where Airbourne truly shine.
Breakin’ Outta Hell is released 23rd September on the following formats: