by Prairie "Oyster" Dog Prairie "Oyster" Dog
March 16, 2010

The first Airbourne record was derivative, but it was fun for the most part.  There’s something to be said for bands that just plug in and play and these guys aren’t pretending to do anything more.  AC/DC is one of the greatest bands of all time.  Considering these Aussie’s affinity for sounding as close to them as possible, it’s conceivable they could enter the pantheon of greats, too.

Then again, maybe not.  No Guts.  No Glory. picks up right where they left off on 2007’s Runnin’ Wild.  The opener “Born to Kill” starts much like Wild’s “Stand Up for Rock and Roll” though not quite as effectively—it just doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency underneath.  Unfortunately “No Way but the Hard Way,” the first single, showcases the band’s worst tendencies: mid-tempo, generic rock.  It’s not bad, per se—there’s just nothing special about it.  “White Line Fever” (no, not the Motorhead classic), “Bottom of the Well,” and “Steel Town” follow the same boring formula and the album suffers.  This isn’t just a complaint about Airbourne, but hard rock bands in general—mid-tempo songs need to be peppered throughout, not the majority of what’s offered.

The group is at its best when the riffs are fast and the solos are blazing.  “Armed and Dangerous” starts out like “No Way,” but finishes at a breakneck pace, resulting in one of the strongest tracks on the record.  The balls-out, high-energy rocker “It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over” makes it difficult to sit still, while “Raise the Flag” is bound to induce whiplash and fists raised in the air.  The ode to alcohol, “Back on the Bottle,” does what all of these tracks should be trying to do—it makes you want to drink, screw, and shout the lyrics out loud.

The deluxe version of the album features five bonus tracks on top of the normal thirteen.  There’s a pretty solid ten-track record here, but the eighteen tracks included will test the limits of any fan of the genre.  Be thankful “Kickin’ it Old Skool” was relegated to the bonus area—the less said about it, the better.

Let me be clear: this shit is better than 90% of what gets played on modern rock radio. That isn’t saying much, but it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s a strange situation.  If AC/DC were to release some of these songs, a lot of people would be ecstatic.  But it’s not AC/DC, it’s Airbourne.  Joel O’Keeffe [lead vocals, guitars] is no Bon Scott.  I really want to like these guys, but they’re just missing that extra something to push them over the top.  They don’t seem capable of a Highway to Hell, but, who knows, maybe they have The Razor’s Edge in them.  For now, they’re not going to convince any skeptics—they need to convince fans of hard rock to care first.

Choice cuts: “Back on the Bottle,” “It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over,” “Armed and Dangerous”

out of 5 weasels.

  1. Born to Kill
  2. No Way but the Hard Way
  3. Blonde, Bad and Beautiful
  4. Raise the Flag
  5. Bottom of the Well
  6. White Line Fever
  7. It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over
  8. Steel Town
  9. Chewin’ the Fat
  10. Get Busy Livin’
  11. Armed and Dangerous
  12. Overdrive
  13. Back on the Bottle
  14. Loaded Gun (Bonus Track)
  15. My Dynamite Will Blow You Sky High (and Get Ya Moanin’ After Midnight) (Bonus Track)
  16. Rattle Your Bones (Bonus Track)
  17. Kickin’ it OId Skool (Bonus Track)
  18. Devil’s Child (Bonus Track)

Visit Airborne online:

“No Way but the Hard Way” music video

No Guts, No Glory track by track (pt.1)

No Guts, No Glory track by track (pt.2)

Never trust a weasel. Support the artist and find out for yourself. encourages purchasing No Guts, No Glory locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.


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