Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Airbourne, those Aussie rock & roll party beasts, who worship riffs, pound beers and keep the straight-up, pull-no-punches, no-B.S. approach of AC/DC, Motörhead and their ilk alive and well. Airbourne are about to drop their first album in three years, the rollicking Boneshaker, which is full of future fan favorites, but in our opinion (and the band’s own opinion), these cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page. And if you like what you hear, stream Airbourne on Spotify
Airbourne recorded their new album live in the studio with Nashville mega-producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, A Star Is Born), and all the raw, unfiltered energy of those sessions burns bright on the LP’s raucous title cut.
Sample lyrics: “Be my boneshaker/I’ll be your earth quaker/We both want it bad enough/To do it right here!”
“Back in the Game”
ALBUM: Black Dog Barking
Airbourne have never lacked in bravado, and the fourth track off their third album, 2013’s Black Dog Rising, is all sweat and swagger.
Sample lyrics: “I’m built to last I’ll never crash/I’m invincible tonight/Feel the energy running over me/Like a bolt from the sky.”
“Blonde, Bad and Beautiful”
ALBUM: No Guts. No Glory
The band’s 2010 sophomore album saw the group go in an even harder, tougher direction, but Airbourne are still horn dogs to the end, and this fun, lascivious anthem showcases that side of them with great aplomb.
Sample lyrics: “She’s a wet drink in the desert of lust/Got me tongue tied I’m ready to bust.”
ALBUM: Runnin’ Wild
Featured in skateboarding video game Skate, the 2008 film College and teen movie Sex Drive, this standout cut off Airbourne’s 2007 debut serves as a powerful statement of intent and an open invitation for listeners to jump onboard.
Sample lyrics: “I said what’s up baby?/Why don’t you come inside?/The big bad wolf is feelin’ good/He’s gonna make you feel alive.”
Heavy Weight Lover
ALBUM: Diamond Cuts: The B-Sides
This diamond in the rough (fans will see what we did here), found on Airbourne’s 2017 rarities collection, is built around the analogy between a knock-out lover and a heavyweight fighter — needless to say, it’s as packed with heavily-winked double entendres as it is razor-sharp riffs.
Sample lyrics: “Standin’ toe to toe you looked me in the eyes/I give a low blow I’m tangled in your thighs.”