It might be fair to say that Audrey Horne may well have escaped your attention up until now, and if that’s the case, I’m as equally disappointed as i am excited at the prospect of introducing you to their latest album, ‘Pure Heavy’.
‘Pure Heavy’ is an unashamed glorification of everything that is good in heavy rock and metal. I realise that this is quite a statement, and I’m setting the bar high in terms of expectations – especially for those that are familiar with the band’s previous work – but, even the most hardened metalhead would find it very difficult to find any low points on offer here. Let me elaborate…
You see, Audrey Horne haven’t always been the band that’s portrayed here – they released their first full length in 2005 (‘No Hay Banda’) and it was a successful mix of Alice in Chains style “grunge” (Sorry i dont have a better style reference point) and darkened heavy rock vibes, but it was almost overshadowed by some of the band members at the time being in Enslaved and Gorgoroth, but then, that was exactly the reason i picked it up. The major style change didnt come until 2013’s f**ckin awesome ‘Youngblood’, which saw the band leap from moody-metal to full on rock-god-worship. The album was full of dual guitar heroics, memorable choruses and a powerful groove.
It also won the (dubious?) honour of winning BurningFist’s first ever Album of the Year award – surely it couldn’t get any better for these guys, eh? (You can check out the feature here: http://wp.me/p3TUwU-mJ)
And, with that in mind, it was with some trepidation that i came to review ‘Pure Heavy’ as i had very high expectations, but it took just a couple of spins for this to sink right in and dig it’s musical hooks deep in to the flesh! Starting the party, we have ‘Wolf In My Heart’ which sees a bass heavy force build up alongside a stomping riff and beat, speckled with really nice classic rock style guitar interludes and a hell of a catchy chorus – in fact, this is exactly where Audrey Horne shine and is a feature across the entire album.
It’s huge testament to the band’s writing skills that they managed to cram so many memorable parts, not only in to each track but across the entire album, and while some elements will feel familiar, this is because the band are clearly wearing their influences within their tattooed sleeve. You’re going to find the best of Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Deep Purple, KISS, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Motorhead all rolled up in to one very neat package, and then fired out as a fresh, 2014 re-imagining and interpretation. I don’t say this to undermine the band of course, this is meant as flattery and just to give the uninitiated a reference point to get hold of. The band have that natural affinity on how to construct proper songs – they roll and flow so well and bring exciting detours and nuances that expose themselves over extended listens.
One of the best songs I’ve heard in many years appears in the form of ‘Volcano Girl’ which just goes to show the age old adage of “less is more” really does have some merit, as the track has a simple, but oh-so-effective riff and beat that will have you nodding/tapping/moving/headbanging/air-guitaring (delete as appropriate) completely INVOLUNTARILY, and once that chorus grabs you, you’re not gonna be able to get this out of your head. It’s bound to be one of those tracks that will be even better in the live environment too.
“Whooooaaaaa, Sleep Now In The Fire!”
The album is chockablock full of memorable lyrics, middle-8’s, breakdowns, leads, fills and bass riffs, and to the point that every song on offer has its own story to tell. The production helps here too by giving each track its own identity and style. The only slight irk, is that some of the more lead guitar focused tracks sound a touch “thin” when compared like-for-like (“Out of the City” being a good example), but this is being very picky and it certainly doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
Further standout tracks include the mighty “Into The Wild” with its thrashy undertones and “Waiting For The Night” which manages to showcase elements of 80’s pop sensibilities and meld it with Def Leppard-esque dynamics – its an absolute treat, and just like the rest of the songs on offer, you’ll come out the other-side with a feeling of exhilaration and shit-eating grin!
So, i mentioned earlier on about disappointment… Why? Simply put, you’ve been missing out BIG time on some of the coolest rock licks this side of that rock-licking monster from Superifftown, Headbangville! And i also mentioned “excited”… You now get to experience this band for the first time, and that, is a wonderful treat and something you shouldn’t pass up.
You need #PureHeavy in your life… NOW!
Live image used by kind permission and © Per Ole Hagen – Artist Pictures Blog