Audrey Horne // Audrey Horne
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —Ozzy meets modern rock! Catchy, well-produced, commercial.
Label: Indie Recordings
Release Date: EU: 01.03.2010 | US: 03.01.2010 (?)
It’s been a long time since a sort of standard modern rock or traditional metal band really showed off anything that this Angry Metal Guy appreciated. For the most part, modern rock has been rehashed BS and overrated post-Seattle scene leftovers. The bands that have tried to convert their sounds (see: the remnants of Guns N’ Roses meets STP or Europe‘s latest incarnation) have really failed at it because the sound is, at its root, boring as hell. Rehashing rock again with thicker guitar tone and a vocalist who will never live up to the classics is pretty much a good way to guarantee that your vocalist buddy goes to rehab, but not much more. Whatever happened to Buckcherry again? Oh right. Flash in the effing pan.
So, it was with great surprise that Audrey Horne is none of these things. Instead, Audrey Horne is a smartly packaged modern rock band with pop, pizazz and some seriously above par songwriting skills. And where are they from? Oh, you guessed it: NORWAY! Wait, you didn’t guess that? That’s right, Audrey Horne, my metal brethren, is made up of a bunch of Norwegian metal dudes who apparently are also suckers for trad rock and metal and who, instead of going the “let’s try to be Iron Maiden” route, went the “let’s make pop rock” route in their quest to pay homage to traditional metal. And they pull it off. It’s just funny to see that Ice Dale (Enslaved) is in this band. ‘Cause he’s in like every project on Indie Recordings. Anyone else notice that? Honestly, I think it’s one of their signing requirements. “Well, we only sign Norwegian bands and you gotta use Ice Dale on guitar.”
But on to the music. This is not a metal album. This is modern rock with pretty good riffs, great melodies and no shortage of wall of sound guitars. This is the kind of thing your buddy would show you and you’d say “Oh, yeah, that’s alright.. but have you heard…”. It’s the kind of thing you’d pick up, but your girlfriend would listen to more than you. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if these guys got picked up by Roadrunner and sent on tour with Nickelback. This is not meant to be an insult (because honestly, these guys put Nickelback to shame in terms of talent, song writing, originality and non-annoyingness), but the sound is palatable, sweet and catchy as hell. However, the listener feels like they’ve heard this before.. but just can’t place it.
That said, we like it! While the record drags on a little at the end, the songs on here are well composed and catchy. The opening track “Charon” bursts out the door to open the record (after the intro track “Vultures”) and had me immediately hooked, largely because of vocalist Toschie’s mix between Ozzy and Scott Weiland and his adhesive melodies, you will have this chorus stuck in your head for days afterwords. The introductory Ozzy channeling isn’t the only time it happens. Instead it can be easily seen on tracks like “Blaze of Ashes” and “Bridge and Anchors”. But these guys are really at their best when they’re doing something that’s a little bit more akin to Tool‘s sound, with sort of atmospheric, melodic verse parts and big, memorable choruses like on the song “Pitch Black Mourning” and “Firehose”. TheÂ only major misfires are ballads. This record contains a couple of them and they are no good.. just no good. Let what is dead stay dead, guys. (Really? “Sail Away”? REALLY?)
Audrey Horne is really good at what they do, but what they do is going to strike different metalheads in different ways. I can see this being really popular with sort of older, more traditional metal fans who are probably in the same age group as the guys in this band. They’re going to find everything they want: catchy choruses, good guitar solos, retro keyboard sounds and highly melodic vocals that harken back to when men were men and they had frills on their jackets. If you’re into that, or into post-grunge modern rock, then we suggest you check this out. ‘Cause, these Norwegians do it better than any American band this Angry Metal Guy has heard in .. well .. years.