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Airbourne got me hooked from the start with their album "Running Wild", which was a breath of fresh air even though it was quite obviously based on the roots of bluesy, dirty rock in the same vein as AC/DC. It's the kind of straight-forward rock that is best accompanied by a ice-cold pint of beer. Sometimes bands just feel like a copy of the original, but Airbourne always feels honest. With this third album they show that they still have the bite and they bark as angry as ever!
The opening track is a full-on rock anthem with great live-potential due to the simple rock chant which certainly will invite the crowds to shout. It's actually a new version of their first song from the EP "Ready to rock" from 2004. When you compare these versions you get a feeling of how they've evolved over time. Not so much, to be honest, but with this band it's actually a good thing as keeping the core of rock'n'roll complete and unbroken is what makes them unique in a way. The production sound is clean and neat, but the vocalist Joel O'Keeffe keeps it feeling dirty and raw. In this album he displays his versatility even more than before. Some people may think that the production isn't dirty enough, but I personally like it.
Already in the second song we find a precious ass-kicking gem, with a sweet tremolo guitar intro with some sick vocals. The singing styles vary and manage to sound like Mick Jagger, and before he shouts "Stick this in your slot!" O'Keeffe even sounds like a mix of Dave Mustaine and Duke Nukem! Pretty impressive and very metal, if you ask me. The following song, "No One Fits Me (Better Than You)" have a crunchy riff and a blazing solo, and would not make any party sad. It's one of the singles from the album, but frankly not one of the best moments in this album. "Back in the game" contains a striking riff and a memorably chorus which instantly sounds familiar. The next track "Firepower" feels to repetitive but has a naked section with bass guitar that I really like, and that is suitable for live gigs.
It feels like the albums starts fresh with a new opener when the intro of "Live it up" echoes out of the speakers. The first thing I thought about when I heard the intro guitar was the resemblance to the "School of rock"-theme with Jack Black, which in turn I believe is homage to "For those about to rock (We salute you)" by AC/DC. The song is very energetic and it radiates attitude and a sense of freedom with its lyrics. It's not hard to motivate why this was chosen as a single, as it demonstrates the true power of Airbourne! The subsequent track "Woman like that" feels a bit tired. Not bad, just not that outstanding. But then the Spanish guitar work in the beginning of "Hungry" makes it interesting again. The lyrics about running wild and free, and the fast chugging guitars gets you pumping and playing air guitar in no time. Something I like is that there is some resemblance to the vocals of Chuck Billy from Testament in the verses.
Another freedom-anthem comes in the form of "Cradle of the grave". A little bit slower paced with some clean guitars, it fits well before the absolute climax of the album, the title track. The line "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, It's the size of the fight in the dog" summarizes the attitude. I wonder if the vocalist Joel O'Keeffe´s snarling vocals is the barking of the black dog? Sure sounds like it. Apparently the three last songs after the title track are included just in a deluxe version of the album, but they all sounded a bit like filler and the albums ends on a better note without them.
To summarize, this album won't surprise or give you anything
new, but will not disappoint Airbourne fans. The vocals are extremely
good and the quality of the riffs is very high, although you have heard
most of them before. If you like filthy old-school sex-oozing rock,
you like this album.