Album Review :: Airbourne – No Guts, No Glory

No change please, we’re rockers. Airbourne’s return to studio work stands and delivers.


Airbourne - No Guts, No Glory © Airbourne/Roadrunner Records

In a world dominated by uncertainty, it is important to appreciate the smaller, infrequent moments that often can pass us by. With a volatile financial climate, seemingly constant threat of imminent doom and the frankly violent level of boredom offered by the likes of The X Factor and other degenerates, it is heart warming to be treated to the brilliantly performed, excellently produced and wonderfully fun latest release from hard Ozzy rockers Airbourne.

Since they emerged on the major market in 2006 with their debut album Runnin’ Wild Airbourne have quickly rocketed up the rankings and become one of the world’s most popular hard rock acts of the last ten years. Aligned very much in the style of the countrymen AC/DC and with frequent nods to other such classic rock gods as KISS, Van Helen, Bad Company and Whitesnake, these lads certainly know how to get a good party going. With a deliciously grimy blend of pseudo blues based, three chord riffs, eye wateringly accurate bass and a drum line that boils the very beer in your belly, Airbourne consistently deliver in the studio and on the road where they have been relentlessly touring since Runnin’ Wild debuted. It is therefore with great anticipation, excitement and aplomb that their second album No Guts, No Glory hits the shops in Europe on March 8th, April 22nd globally.

Kicking off the album with three traditional rock tracks are “No way but the hard way,” the album’s first single release, “Raise the Flag” and the oddly haunting “Born to Kill” the last of which opens the album with a creepy, screeching solo guitar intro before crunching down to a hard as nails, beaten and bruised rock anthem. Continuing in the vein of their previous album, and those of their aged predecessors, No Guts, No Glory is seeped in the style of songs that, as so many have said before, “The wives don’t get to know about”. Concentrating on all the debauchery, hard drinking, smoking and illicit bad behaviour that hard rock has built its own reputation on, the album more than heartily delivers on both the theme and playing styles that fans have now come to expect of this band. It is perhaps only a shame then that only really Airbourne and a very small handful of others are still producing this style of music. Honourable mention of course go to The Answer who, although not nearly as hard or successful, have at least remained true to the hard rock vein, more than can be said of the likes of Wolfmother and The Steroephonics.

As fine and dandy hard rocking, questionably easy riffs and shouty lyrics can be, No Guts, No Glory also aptly displays the wide array of talent Airbourne have when it comes to pace, lyricism and durability. Widely publicised during the build up to the release of this album, lead singer/guitarist Joel O’Keeffe stated that the band lived in the studio, eating, sleeping and existing during the recording of the album, much akin to the likes of Bruce Springsteen during his heyday. With high octane numbers like “It Aint over till its Over,” “Devils Child” and “Rattle your Bones,” the last two only available on the special edition album, it is surprising and refreshing to have a track like “Bottom of the Well” where the tempo is much more relaxed and melodic, the passion and conviction still very much present.

Couple these along with an epic range in subject matter and the album that stands at a whopping thirteen tracks, eighteen on the special edition, delivers on pretty much every front. The excellent summer anthem “White Line Fever” is sure to be played all throughout the warm months on rock stations the world over. This unashamedly crass feast of excess is stark in comparison to the endearingly heart felt “Steel Town” an ode to working class cities and towns and the bands’ own little tribute to their heritage and lifestyles and their audience.

In all, No Guts, No Glory is an excellent, triumphant return to the market for Airbourne. With a subsequent world tour following and the band gaining an excellent, healthy fan base all over the planet, Airbourne are very much poised to take the step from being sole soldiers on the hard rock front lines to upper echelon, fully fledged members of the community. It is often said that any artist, in any genre, needs a really good, solid, stand out studio performance on which to fundamentally launch their careers from. Now, it would seem, Airbourne have just that.

Jonathan Whitelaw

Check out the band’s website:

3 Responses to “Album Review :: Airbourne – No Guts, No Glory”

  1. Paul says:

    your series of articles are making me feel a little more orientated in the rock arena, somewhere i am completely blind! have you caught the BBC’s recent docs? You may be interested:

  2. Thanks man, appreciate it. Yeah I caught them the other night there, really good and really informative. BBC 4 tends to be brilliant for that style of show on Friday nights.

    • Paul says:

      arr it does; some compensation for 6 music plans 🙂 being from Bham, really should be a bit more clued up; anywho, nice one as always.

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