Since the release of their debut ‘Runnin’ Wild’ in 2003, Airbourne have maintained a sizeable fan base through nine years and two more records, but have also struggled to shake the “their singer likes climbing up high things” subtitle that has stuck with them through much of this, and like many bands with a dramatic live show, their recorded output has become overlooked (for better or worse) as a result. Now, the band are back with their fourth record ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’, and it’s pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from the four-piece.
Opening with the album’s pacy title track, it may be wholly familiar experience to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the band, but it’s an exciting introduction nonetheless, and it’s difficult not to envisage audiences responding with gusto. ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ continues in this vein with stompier numbers such as ’Going To Hell For This’ and ’Down On You’ – the former showing off frontman Joel O’Keefe’s wonderfully gritty vocals, while the latter evokes AC/DC’s innuendo-ridden blue humour somewhat effectively.
However, as the album continues to unfold, it becomes evident how little Airbourne have tinkered with their formula. Despite the occasional fun moment, the sheer lack of variety that follows begins to take its toll, making the remaining tracks nothing but a slog – there’s nothing particularly woeful here, but by the same token, next to nothing stands out.
While ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ works as a vehicle to allow the band to continue touring, it’s hard to imagine even the most diehard classic rock fan getting excited about many of the tracks on here. There’s something to be said for bands who maintain a signature sound throughout their career, but at this stage, you almost want Airbourne to release a Diabolus In Musica just to give you something to talk about.
‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ by Airbourne is released on September 16th on Spinefarm Records.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)