Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Norwegian rockers Audrey Horne re-invent their sound to deliver rock 'n' roll gold

Audrey Horne's earlier material might have been considered somber post-grunge but their fourth album, Youngblood, is definitely filled with arena-ready bombast. The band's newly discovered high energy brand of hard rock will instantly leave listeners begging for more.

Youngblood opens with "Redemption Blues" which kind of sounds like Judas Priest's "Electric Eye" at first. It then winds down but soon speeds back up into a completely different direction. "Redemption Blues" becomes a fast guitar-driven heavy rock song with powerful and dramatic vocals from lead singer Toschie. The chorus containing the lyrics "It's safe to say that I'm going nowhere" is catchy and instantly sucks you in. The guitar solo in the middle is absolutely blistering, and this classic sounding song has me impressed with Youngblood right from the get-go.

Right away, the band's classic hard rock and heavy metal influences become strikingly obvious. Don't let that fool you though--each song is unique, and none of them sound the least bit dated.

"Straight into Your Grave" comes next. The hard and heavy intro riffs are reminiscent of Motley Crue's earlier stuff. This track's guitar solo is fast, intricate, and intense. The guitar work of Ice Dale and Thomas Tofthagen is superb and the two mesh together flawlessly. Kjetil Greve's drumming on "Straight into Your Grave" is pronounced and rapid, also adding to the Crue vibe I get from the song.

One track that just strikes me as fun is "There Goes a Lady". It is sexy in a sleazy rock 'n' roll sort of way. It's not as fast or explosive as any of the previous tracks--it's more of a hard-edged bluesy rock song than heavy metal. The lyrics' subject matter about a seductive "maneater" type woman almost makes this song like a modern day "Strutter."

"Cards with the Devil" is very exciting, in that makes you feel like you're in a horror movie. The lyrics are full of imagery and tell a story. I especially dig the lines "Midnight, they reanimate / The living dead knock on my door" and "The grave digger got his eye on me / He carved my name with his bony hand". They're so descriptive and make it feel so real.

"Cards with the Devil" also features a brief organ solo before the guitar solo, but it certainly doesn't sound like your typical Scandanavian keyboard-heavy metal.

A track that is a bit more prog rock-ish is "The Open Sea". Its vivid opening lyric--"Hold your head under water as you reach across the sky"--is layered over a subtle organ and sounds as if it is being sung underwater. A strong bass riff and guitars join as the song picks up. The heavy guitars along with the increasingly prominent organ really give this song a '70s Deep Purple or Rainbow feel.

Audrey Horne's Youngblood is one of the most impressive albums--if not THE most impressive album--I've heard in a long time. The first time I played the album, it was one of those rare moments where I knew right from the first riff of the first track just how great it was going to be. I honestly can't say enough without coming across as some idiot saying, "ZOMG!!! This album RAWKSSS! Old-school metallllll FTW!!!" This album does get me wound up like that! In all seriousness though, rock fans who haven't yet heard of Audrey Horne and Youngblood are definitely missing out on something incredible.

8 1/2 out of 10 stars

Napalm Records
Audrey Horne Official Website


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