Album Review – Airbourne / Breakin’ Outta Hell (2016)

Let the party begin with another blast of kick-ass straightforward Rock N’ Roll forged in the burning pits of Down Under.


airbourne_bohEvery single person who thinks Rock N’ Roll is dead and gone should take a very good listen at Breakin’ Outta Hell, the fourth studio album by Australian rockers Airbourne and an amazing ode to all things rock. You won’t find anything that can be considered brand new or revolutionary in Breakin’ Outta Hell that wasn’t already present in their previous releases, the superb Runnin’ Wild, No Guts. No Glory. and Black Dog Barking, but that’s not what this Melbourne-based quartet has in mind with their music anyway. They simply want to blast the purest and most electrifying form of Rock N’ Roll you can think of, and they always succeed in that.

I used to call Airbourne as the “heavier version of AC/DC” when I first heard them due to their more metallic riffs and increased speed, but I have to admit the band comprised of Joel O’Keeffe on lead vocals and lead guitar, his brother Ryan O’Keeffe on drums, David Roads on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Justin Street on bass guitar, have truly found their core essence through the years, delivering a unique musicality which, albeit initially inspired by their iconic countrymen, has nicely achieved its own shape and form. If you’re a longtime fan of the band you’ll certainly have a lot of fun with Breakin’ Outta Hell, and if you’re a newcomer to the world of Airbourne get ready to be rocked by those four brawlers from Down Under.

Let the Rock N’ Roll party begin with the title-track Breakin’ Outta Hell, a pure Airbourne composition exhibiting their characteristic riffs and the badass vocals by Joel, making it impossible not to grab a beer and get to the front row to better appreciate this marvelous hymn, followed by the also excellent Rivalry, a mid-tempo chant highly recommended for your road trip playlist. The thunderous bass lines by Justin, together with an amazing job done on guitars by Joel and David, represent exactly what we can always expect from this skilled band. Obviously, some of their songs have a strong AC/DC vibe, which is the case in Get Back Up, in special the sound of guitars, with Ryan stealing the spotlight with his rhythmic and fierce beats.

A song with the beyond rockin’ name It’s Never Too Loud for Me couldn’t be bad at all. Quite the contrary, it’s a tribute to true rock music, with another excellent performance by the entire band smashing their instruments in the name of Rock N’ Roll; whereas Thin the Blood, a beer-drinking hymn tailored for a nasty pub fight (“It’s 5 o’ clock I’m ready to rock / Cold beer gonna hit the spot tonight / No more work coz I’ve knocked off / When I start to drink I just don’t stop / I love the buzz it picks me up / Makes me feel a million bucks”), brings forward the band’s high-speed Hard Rock led by the deranged vocals by Joel. I’m Going to Hell for This is the epitome of “badass music from Down Under”, with pure Rock N’ Roll flowing from the guitars by Joel and David while Ryan keeps delivering his precise beats, turning it into one of the best songs of the album without a shadow of a doubt. And Down On You, with its soft porn lyrics (“When I was a boy I played with my toy / Every single day oh it was a joy / I didn’t really see until she said to me / Have you ever kissed a girl between the knees?”), is the perfect choice for a wild strip-tease by a sexy rockin’ woman.

airbourne-2016I can’t imagine a Rock N’ Roll fan not getting thrilled by an old school composition the likes of Never Been Rocked Like This, where Joel focuses all his passion for rock music into firing his always sensational riffs and solos, not to mention his inebriate harsh screams. Then we have When I Drink I Go Crazy, a fast-paced rockin’ chant which works really well despite its repetitive lyrics, with its blazing guitars and nonstop action being its driving force, and Do Me Like You Do Yourself, another song with sexual connotation that doesn’t sound cheesy, being perfect for playing to your Rock N’ Roll babe when you’re in a darkened room with her, with the fiery guitar solo by Joel only making it even more enjoyable and hotter. Lastly, although I know It’s All for Rock N’ Roll was supposed to be a rock anthem and that the music itself is pretty solid, it ends up getting a bit repetitive compared to all the awesomeness found in the rest of the album. That doesn’t mean it’s not a very good song, though, it’s simply not fantastic, if you know what I’m saying. And if I were you, I would definitely go for the deluxe edition of the album, as the bonus track Bombshell is plain awesome.

In a nutshell, Airbourne play music for decent and humble people like us who enjoy drinking a few pints with our friends and family, who love to engage in a nice pub fight if needed and, above all things, who nurture a profound passion for old school Rock N’ Roll, as simple and thrilling as that, and that’s the main purpose of the band with Breakin’ Outta Hell. As I said, there’s nothing that can be considered innovative throughout the whole album, but I don’t think any real fan of the band is worried about that. Every single time Airbourne launch a new album, we’re treated to kick-ass straightforward Rock N’ Roll forged in the burning pits of Down Under, and while they keep drinking from that beautiful source we can rest assured Rock N’ Roll will never die.

Best moments of the album: Breakin’ Outta Hell, I’m Going to Hell for This and Do Me Like You Do Yourself.

Worst moments of the album: It’s All for Rock N’ Roll.

Released in 2016 Spinefarm Records

Track listing
1. Breakin’ Outta Hell 3:53
2. Rivalry 4:03
3. Get Back Up 3:38
4. It’s Never Too Loud for Me 3:24
5. Thin the Blood 3:29
6. I’m Going to Hell for This 3:45
7. Down On You 4:19
8. Never Been Rocked Like This 3:07
9. When I Drink I Go Crazy 2:41
10. Do Me Like You Do Yourself 3:58
11. It’s All for Rock N’ Roll 3:39

Deluxe Edition bonus track
12. Bombshell 3:28

Band members
Joel O’Keeffe – vocals, lead guitar
David Roads – guitar
Justin Street – bass
Ryan O’Keeffe – drums

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