Thursday, November 21, 2013

Audrey Horne – Youngblood


2013 Napalm Records

Back in the day (last year!) Facebook was a place where people posted videos of cool bands and I would follow up if they caught my ear, or band members would find me due to my connections with various New Wave of British Heavy Metal happenings and participants.  Nowadays my limited time on “the social network” consists of scrolling past pictures of other people's unappetizing food,  inane memes about pop icons (I get it, Miley Cyrus is a slut...whatevs), and blocking everyone's Candy Crush invitation.  In the midst of all that, a guy in England called Roger Fauske was posting about a band from Norway called “Audrey Horne”.  I'll admit, the name put me off a bit originally, not being a big Twin Peaks fan, but then again, I listen to Uriah Heep and their name isn't the catchiest....  Back in September Roger  posted he was traveling all the way to France to see them and I thought “OK they must be good if he's going that far!” and asked him to send me a YouTube link to what he thought was their best song.  He sent me a link to the band playing “This Ends Here” from the Masters of Rock Festival in the Czech republic earlier this year.  He could have heard the sound of my jaw dropping in New York all the way to where he was.  It wasn't the best quality video, but the song was extremely catchy (not in a pop music sense) , you could see the band's energy straight away and it didn't hurt that they were all gorgeous Vikings!  I decided I had to hear the rest of the album and immediately went to Amazon and downloaded “Youngblood”.

The album kicks off with “Redemption Song”, the opening riff is a bombastic Arabian-esque motif of twin guitars and bass drums before seuging into the songs main riff.  Usually with songs like this I get my hopes up and its that annoying (to me), death metal vocals (Ala Arch Enemy)  Torkjell Rød's voice is clean and powerful (I think only his mother calls him that – everyone else refers to him as Toschie.) Ironically, guitarist  Ice Dale (real name Arve Isdal) is also in the black metal band Enslaved. 

“Youngblood” is  one well-crafted hard rock song after another, with a “nautical” theme running through all the lyrics. “Here she comes, shipwrecks and all” in “There Goes a Lady”, “I will be the undertow/ drag their crew down rats and all” (actually all of “This Ends Here”.  The song, “The Open Sea”... The band's hometown of Bergen is on the West Coast of Norway so perhaps that had something to do with it?

It's hard to say who exactly Audrey Horne sound like, there are hints of Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, early Van Halen (the intro to “Cards With the Devil”), Byron-era Uriah Heep, (the into to “the Open Sea”.  All the while the band sounds modern while tipping a hit to their influences.  It's not very often a new release makes me sit up and take notice, but “Youngblood” did just that. Definitely an album to check out.  Remind me to thank that fellow Roger for turning me on to them. 

Here's a link to an interview Roger did with them backstage at the  Raismes Fest back in September, the audio quality isn't that great, and the band were pretty drunk (and other things!) but it's fun to watch.

--Rys



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