Audrey Horne – “Pure Heavy” (Napalm Records)
Despite hailing from Black Metal central namely Bergen, and having members who’ve played in Gorgoroth and Enslaved, Audrey Horne is an altogether mellower affair with hints of hard and stoner rock – although it’s true that the band are named after a character in David Lynch’s cult 90s series Twin Peaks. Clean, multi layered harmony vocals with plenty of oooing and whoa – oh harmonies leaning towards ABBA (well they’re Norwegian right? – ed) groove along to Thin Lizzy melody meets rockin riffs with hints of Iron Maiden in the solos of guitars from Thomas Tofthagen (SAHG) and Arve Isdal (ENSLAVED). Coming out just a year after its predecessor album “Youngblood” the sound is unsurprisingly similar, although aside from the chugging ‘Into The Wild’ and the 70s Kiss anthemic ‘Volcano Girl’ the album is surprisingly lightweight considering the album title, not to mention the revved up album cover. It’s like these songs are the lighter cast offs from last year and the featherweight but organic sound treats them exactly as such, although that’s not a problem if you like your hard rock somewhat chilled in a fjord before being served up. Still I did enjoy the finale of ‘Boy Wonder’ which seemed to brilliantly encapsulate the album from a black metallic opening riff to a cool stoner groove with those beautiful harmonies given an Ozzy touch culminating in a chorus that was made for airplay in the US. I guess that’s the essence of what I always thought Audrey Horne were about, just like their televised namesake a little quirky and too off the wall for some, yet somehow reflecting eccentric brilliance in its veritable cornucopia of sounds?