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Audrey Horne - "Pure Heavy" (CD)

Audrey Horne - "Pure Heavy" CD cover image

"Pure Heavy" track listing:

1. Wolf In My Heart
2. Holy Roller
3. Out Of The City
4. Volcano Girl
5. Tales From The Crypt
6. Diamond
7. Into The Wild
8. Gravity
9. High And Dry
10. Waiting For The Night
11. Boy Wonder

Reviewed by on September 18, 2014

"...unabashed heavy rock where the hooks are big enough to snag sharks."

Audrey Horne hails from Norway, but don’t expect face paint fashioned after Immortal; the band is more in line with Kiss, at least musically. “Pure Heavy,” the band’s fifth full-length record, is not built on grand stage theatrics. It’s an album perfectly conveyed by the title - unabashed heavy rock where the hooks are big enough to snag sharks. The band found the gods of hard rock as bait to catch such massive riffs, infectious refrain, and charming melodies.

There's no soul-sapping north winds in these Norse rocker’s veins. They look to the big city lights and the hurrah of the crowd for the soul of their music. These are the songs best heard in a arena where your girlfriend can climb unto your shoulders and flash her boobs to hair-sprayed icons of the microphone. While the music often taps into the spirit of the 80's and even the 70's, vocalist Toschie’s tones are more in step with 90's bands. His voice effectively drives the band’s melodies. Although Maiden references pop up here and there in the guitars, don’t expect ear-piercing highs.

Drummer Kjetil Greve fills in the motion of opener “Wolf in My Heart,” while Thomas Tofthagen and Arve Isdal (a.ka. Ice Dale) strike their strings. While Isdal has wind milled his hair in playing with Enslaved and Demonaz, here I envision a wind milling of the arms. Like a B-side song on Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark,” the guitars on “Holy Roller” have a sharper metallic edge than their predecessor. “High and Dry” may contain a title recalling Def Leppard but the string acrobatics are another Maiden-ism. “Into the Wild” not only contains part of a song title from Motley Crue, the riff itself has the same type of engine-revving heaviness as Crue’s “Wild Side.” “Gravity” features a bluesy swagger while “Waiting for the Night” is pure fist pumping majesty.

The guitars are what initially hooked me. The vocals took a little warming up to, but the good-time spirit of the album, especially found in the vocal refrains, are a big part of the album’s charm. The whoas on “Tales From the Crypt” as well as its fraternal nature makes this a good beer-drinking, night-on-the-town tune. The guitar harmonies combined with ohs on “Out of the City” makes for another fun song to sing along to. Both tracks have a major Thin Lizzy feel. “Diamond” then shows the band take a more somber turn with its acoustic melodies.

Audrey Horne may be a disappointment to fans of Enslaved, Deride, and anything from the Norwegian black metal camp. But it will seem disappointing if you’re going into it thinking in those terms. It’s clear to see the group is a vehicle for its members to channel the music they most likely grew up on. Even though it’s a bit of a retro affair, the musicianship and song writing skills are undeniably excellent.

Highs: Solid song writing.

Lows: Some listeners may find the retro sound outdated.

Bottom line: A good hard rock album with unshakably positive vibes.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)