By Bill Adams
When Airborne appeared out of the wilds of Australia with some amped up blues riffs and a campy bad attitude three years ago, listeners were perfectly aware of what they might be witnessing: it was like time had wrinkled a little and delivered another AC/DC before the old one had the chance to leave. Now, with the release of No Guts, No Glory though, Airbourne has been proactive on the matter; in the thirteen tracks that comprise the album, they’ve removed all doubt that they ARE indeed the next AC/DC come early.
No, as stated, this shouldn’t exactly come as news to anyone. When Airborne appeared in 2007 with Runnin’ Wild, they were already showing intentions to become the heirs apparent to the throne sat upon for so long by the brothers Young and Brian Johnson but the band has really stepped up its game with No Guts, No Glory. Now, instead of trying to work through any formative years as AC/DC did, Airbourne has leapt directly to where the going gets great with NGNG. With great big riffs and guitar heroics that it took the death of one lead singer for Angus Young to reach, Airborne hits the ground running with their own call to arms, “Born To Kill” and will shock the hell out of listeners that may have expected a sophomore slump. From there, Airbourne touches every requisite base as they stampede their way through; the band has their hard luck anthem in “No Way But The Hard Way” (which could be read as their take on “It’s A Long Way To The Top” without the bagpipes), “Blonde, Bad And Beautiful” hotwires “Whole Lotta Rosie” with “What Do You Do For Money,” and “Raise The Flag” lifts “Jailbreak” with a bit of warfare imagery in place of imprisonment. Would Airbourne even dream of denying any of this? Let’s hope not, because there really is no way to miss it and a denial of the obvious similarities in the material (they’ve even thinned down the sound of their Gibson Explorers to sound like SGs) would mean that the band has woefully underestimated the deductive reasoning of their audience.
Even so, it can’t be said that the similarities between the songs on No Guts, No Glory and any given AC/DC record take away from the album or seem mawkish. It has been a very long time since music like this sounded so energetic; on No Guts, No Glory, Airbourne rock out like true believers and they have the chops to back up their ambition. It’s actually pretty great to hear that someone else has taken up the gauntlet and, even better for the band, it’s pretty much self-sustaining because rock like this never really goes out of style.