This was always going to be a hard one to review, not only because it’s a collection of B-Sides but also because it’s Airbourne. An Australian band that sounds eerily familiar to the native cousins AC/DC and like that band have a collection of albums that contain 10 tracks or more that more or less sound the same. So let’s get into Airbourne – Diamond Cuts: The B-Sides and see if there are truly any diamonds in there.
“Stand and Deliver” It all starts off hard and fast as all Airbourne albums do. The gravel-throated roar of frontman Joel O’Keeffe reminds me of a mixture of Bon Scott the former frontman who sadly passed away in the early 80’s and Jesse Dupree vocalist from 90’s rockers Jackyl. It’s full of AC/DC style riffing and the obligatory gang choruses that are reminiscent of DC’s early Australian pub rock style. To be honest, this is supposed to be a B-Sides collection, but it’s already sounding like a full-on Airbourne album. I love the bass-heavy breakdown around the 3-minute mark it chugs away and then it’s back to business.
“Red Dress Woman” starts off with a nice riff that reminds of early DC and it has such a nice roll with it. This track reminds me a bit of Aussie band Jet. This track is a bit more throwaway than the first which is why it’s been dropped into the bargain bin of B-Sides. There’s a snippet of a good 12 bar blues solo which is far too short. And the end of the track is a definite DC closer I’ve heard a 1000 times before.
“Hotter than Hell” Kicks off with pace and it sounds so familiar. There’s notes in there that remind me of AC/DC‘s “Jailbreak”, in fact, it sounds like that track speeded up. Maybe that’s why this one went straight to the B-Side pile.
“Dirty Angel” Nice start to this one. It’s hard, fast and ripping! O’Keeffe is shredding his vocal chords with this one. We’re four tracks in now and we’re definitely in B-Side territory. But don’t be mistaken this is still a fairly good collection of songs. Which is better than some bands put out as a singular album. The Angus Young style solos are all over this. The chorus is sharp and straight to the point and it all ends in an explosion.
“Heads are Gonna Roll” The riff is thick and fast on this one. The vocals are a little more spaced out and less venomous. Not a bad thing it’s a nice change to actually decipher what O’Keeffe is saying. I can already see there’s not a lot of variety on this disc. In fact, it’s basically is what it says on the tin and it’s almost definitely Airbourne. This is a good track though it’s all drawn out chords and ass-kicking. There’s a cool little solo on this but it sounds a little hollow almost like a demo.
“Kickin’ it Old School” Is my favorite track so far. It starts off with a sweet little riff played at a much slower pace than what I’ve heard so far. The chorus is sweet on this one, I love that gang vocal when it’s done right. It’s what Aussie bands are known for and it defines their sound for me.
“Heavy Weight Lover” is another track that sounds very familiar to something in the AC/DC back catalog. O’Keeffe‘s voice almost sounds like Dave King from Fastway. Again it’s a nice change to hear even the slightest variety on an Airbourne track. This could have easily been on the Trick or Treat movie soundtrack that Fastway had completely tracked.
“Devil’s Child” Even the title track of this sounds like an AC/DC song. It starts off sounding like it was recorded in a box before it explodes into a wall of sound. It’s short and sweet and full of balls ’nuff said.
“Loaded Gun” again sounds like the opening of AC/DC‘s “Jailbreak“. It’s amazing how easily you can recreate one song in so many ways. To be honest it’s all starting to sound a bit samey now. Some people say that about all their albums but I disagree. Their albums are definitely a class above this collection and they are definitely where they deserve to be in the world of music.
“My Dynamite Will Blow You Sky High (And Get Ya Moanin’ After Midnight)” is one hell of a song title that is about as Aussie as it gets. This definitely has the DC groove. It has all the raunchiness and tongue in cheek lyrics that most DC compositions do. To be honest, this made me laugh out loud just for its hilarious lyrics. Steel Panther missed out on this one.
“Rattle your Bones” has that swagger that we’ve come to know so well. Again the lyrics are as ludicrous as ever. Now it looks like AC/DC are coming or have come to an end. These guys are definitely the successors to the throne when it comes to playing the same three chords for forty years. It’s all there the chugging riff, the solos, the gang vocal and well, you get the picture.
“Money” I was hoping for a cover of the Pink Floyd track here. But no that would have been hoping for too much and too many chords. The good news is if you like drinking beer, partying hard and something to headbang to, then you’ve come to the right place. The solo is hard and fast and the breakdown just fits perfectly and it’s everything you wanted from Airbourne.
“Party in the Penthouse” starts off slow and sounding very out of tune before the main riff comes in and that ever reliable drumbeat kicks in. The opening riff is bass heavy and sounds really good to my ears. This track is a killer. I really like this one it rocks and makes me want to smash a few beers down my neck. The solo on this is in total destruction mode until the breakdown comes in and settles the groove back into place and it’s back to business.
“You Got The Skills (To Pay The Bills)” my feet are tapping, my head is nodding and I can feel one of those Chuck Berry leg things coming on. I like the vocals on this one, their rawness just adds to the track as does the rawness of the guitar. You can hear every string twanging along as the riff plays out.
“Jack Attack” is the final track here tonight and to be honest I’m worn out. There’s so much power and aggression in each of these tracks I’m feeling like a “Jack Attack” myself and it’s only Monday night. This one would have half of Australia shaking the bars on a Friday night in their checked shirts and proudly worn mullets. Expect the next Airbourne tour to be sponsored by Jack Daniels. Well, it should be anyway.
Final thoughts on AIRBOURNE – Diamond Cuts: The B-Sides
Well, look this really was a hard one to judge. It’s not officially an Airbourne album. It’s basically a collection of B-sides and leftover tracks. But, it is Airbourne, it sounds like Airbourne and it rocks like Airbourne. Just like every other Airbourne album out there, it will leave you exhausted with a stiff neck and a longing for something alcoholic to drink in copious amounts. The album cover is worth 10 points alone.
Decibel rating 9/10 for being Airbourne
Decibel rating 6/10 for the overall collection of tracks