10 Best Australian Hard Rock Bands
The land down under can be tough to wrap your head around. It’s a continent, a country and an island. In terms of land mass, it’s close in size to the continental USA. Still, the total population is less than that of Texas. The citizens drink big beers, use strange slang words, and eat something called Vegemite. But beyond the many stereotypes, Australia also has a thriving music scene.
From rock superstars, to up-and-coming young punks, many Aussie groups have developed a passionate fan base. We at Noisecreep put our heads together and came up with the 10 Best Australian Hard Rock Bands.
Formed in 1997, Karnivool has released three albums and three EPs. They have won several Western Australia Music Industry Awards, and have been nominated for two Australian Recording Industry Association Awards (ARIA). Their early style had a metal edge, though their ‘Asymmetry’ disc skews towards a more prog-rock sound. Bonus points go to lead singer Ian Kenny, as his other band, Birds Of Tokyo, deserves an honorable mention on our list. Check out their song ‘All I Know’ below.
Founded by brothers Nic and Chris Cester, Jet quickly rose to fame in the early 2000s thanks to their infectious garage rock sound. Hits like ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl,’ ‘Look What You’ve Done,’ and ‘Cold Hard Bitch’ (heard below) helped their debut album ‘Get Born’ sell more than two million albums worldwide. Unfortunately tensions within the group continued to mount and Jet officially called it quits in March of 2012, but their portfolio of work is good enough to score No. 9 on our list of the 10 Best Australian Hard Rock Bands.
The Living End
Most people know The Living End for their massive punk rock song ‘Prisoner of Society’ (heard below), which was the best-selling Australian single of the ’90s. While that remains the band’s landmark track, it’s just one part of a long and successful career. During their tenure, The Living End have put out six studio albums, four EPs and two compilation releases. Thanks to a relentless touring schedule, the band has developed a strong reputation as a powerhouse live act.
Led by brothers Joel and Ryan O’Keeffe, Airbourne burst on the scene in 2007 behind their debut album ‘Runnin’ Wild.’ Armed with powerful guitar riffs and fist-pump inducing choruses, the band is reminiscent of another beloved Aussie band, AC/DC. Airbourne have seen their fame grow largely thanks to video game licensing, as their songs have appeared in more than 15 releases. Check out ‘Runnin’ Wild,’ the song that broke the band to a worldwide audience, below.
A metalcore group from Byron Bay, New South Wales, Parkway Drive are one of the brightest young bands in rock. Over their decade-long career they’ve released four albums, one EP, two DVDs and a book. If we do this list a few years from now, it’s quite possible this group will be even higher. For now, rising stars Parkway Drive find themselves at No. 6 on our list of the 10 Best Australian Hard Rock Bands. Take a listen to Parkway Drive’s ‘Dark Days’ below.
Wolfmother exploded onto the musical landscape on the strength of their self-titled debut album, which sold over a million copies worldwide. Their powerful single ‘Woman’ (heard below) became the most played Australian song in 2007 and earned the band a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Frontman Andrew Stockdale remains the only original member in the group, and though Wolfmother went on a short hiatus, there have been rumblings that the band is making a comeback.
Silverchair were the biggest and most influential Australian band of the ’90s. The group’s members were only 15 when their debut album ‘Frogstomp’ turned them into international rock stars. Leading the charge was their hit single ‘Tomorrow’ (heard below), which hit No. 1 on the charts in four different countries. Though their early songs were decidedly grunge influenced, songs like ‘Abuse Me’ and ‘Ana’s Song (Open Fire)’ showed a growth in the subject matter and sound as the band members grew up. In May 2011 Silverchair announced their indefinite hiatus.
It’s somewhat poetic that Sick Puppies come in just ahead of Silverchair, as the former would not exist without the latter. Frontman Shim Moore has openly stated that he and bass player Emma Anzai first bonded over Silverchair music. Their shared musical tastes led to the formation of Sick Puppies. The band has released three studio albums in the past six years, with several singles climbing up the rock charts. Their hits include ‘Odd One,’ ‘Maybe,’ ‘You’re Going Down’ (heard below) and ‘There’s No Going Back.’
Though their popularity down under was never matched internationally, any Australian will tell you that Cold Chisel is one of their country’s most popular bands. Specializing in what they call “pub rock,” the band scored a string of hits including ‘Cheap Wine,’ ‘Forever Now,’ ‘Hand Out of My Pocket’ (heard below) and ‘Choir Girl.’ Cold Chisel split in August of 1983, yet they actually sold more albums after their breakup than they did before it. The group reunited in 1998, and has since released new music and occasionally toured Australia.
Could any other Aussie band than AC/DC really top our list? They’ve sold more than 200 million albums in their career, with ‘Back In Black’ being the all-time highest selling album by a band. In 2003, AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Legendary songs like ‘Back In Black,’ ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ (heard below) are beloved by generations of music fans all over the world. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that AC/DC are No. 1 on our list of the 10 Best Australian Hard Rock Bands.