Review Summary: [reserved for out-of-context Twin Peaks quotes]
Audrey Horne are fucking awesome. I mean, obviously – there's no way a band made up of Norwegian black metallers playing hard rock, named after the fourth best character in Twin Peaks, and
taking their debut's title from the second best David Lynch movie don't bang by default. (Those are actually the three things I check any band has done before I consent to listen to them). Last time I caught up with these guys was 2013's Youngblood
, a record with some truly awesome cover art which from memory took the band down a slightly bluesier metal route. It was fine, but nothing that inspired passionate sing-alongs or blood-pumping air drum routines; not the way the still excellent Le Fol
did, Jesus, more than ten years ago now.
, too, is fine – maybe a little less fine than Youngblood
, but yeah, fine. At no point does it break out of the formula or even nudge curiously at its sides, which is pretty much to be expected of a 'hey let's see if we can play rock-n-roll' project which grew to have a 13-year, six-album discography. The band kick the album off with the requisite six-minute jam instead of placing it at the end, which almost approaches a subversion of the expected, and the extremely well-titled "Audrevolution" is fast and catchy enough to kick things off with some adrenaline. There are other small moments I'm underselling: the drum-and-clapping start of "Light Your Way" is pretty cool, and the one-two punch "Naysayer" and "Rose Alley", punctuated by semi-live audience chatter, shows the Norse lads first paying tribute to Dio-era Sabbath before smoothly turning around for a surprisingly heartfelt installment. On and on, though, Audrey Horne spin the same old tune – these songs arrive, riff hard and riff chunky, then they leave. Even Toschie's once-excellent voice is sapped of its grit and power by the production, with most of the suspiciously glam metal-y choruses multi-tracked into bland oblivion.
Maybe it was just a nostalgia exercise for me, revisiting Audrey Horne eleven years on from when Le Fol
first captivated me. After all, I never expected anything to top that album's blend of heavy rock and shamelessly catchy choruses, a formula which I've still rarely heard done better by another band. Yeah, Audrey Horne were fucking awesome, they gave us legitimate all-time jams in "Threshold" and "Jaws", and even after so many years Blackout
is stolidly passable rock-n-roll. What more is there to say"