Audrey Horne is a band of Norwegian black metal musicians playing alternative and “in-your-face”-rock (as they call it themselves). The music’s melodic overall, and with its own little twist. The quartet, made up of members of Enslaved, Sahg and Deride, have released one EP and three albums. At the first listen it might seem like any other melodic alternative rock album, the kind you brush off, thinking you’ve heard the type before. But it doesn’t take long until the little twists and unique atmosphere appear.
Audrey Horne certainly have developed their sound since "Le Fol" in 2007, but not quite as one would expect. They've moved away from the mainstream heavy metal/rock style of "Le Fol" and taken off the edges. There are strong similarities to the previous album, and the lyrics call back to mind songs like “Monster” and “In The End.”
The lyrics follow the same line as those in "Le Fol", and are just as odd. Some songs, like “Blaze of Ashes” and “Firehose”, could’ve been taken from the aforementioned album. They’re still revolving around inter-human relationships and death; some have a mythological approach (“Charon”), while others are more morbid (“Down Like Suicide”).
As a psychologically analytical reader, I find the underlying message of a number of the tracks to be suicide letters. I see "Audrey Horne" as a concept album: a journey from depression to suicide and back to happiness, whether before or after death. That doesn’t mean it’s particularly outstanding; it has been done before. Also, the music doesn’t made it sound like much of a concept album, and neither do the vocals.
The vocals follow the same approach as "Le Fol", and in some songs (“Firehose”) they are processed and buried within the instruments, while they’re perfectly clear and present on other songs (“Bridges and Anchors”). Overall Toschie does a good job, using his own style instead of imitating others. He complements the instruments nicely without taking over the show.
Audrey Horne might be comparable to a number of classic rock and metal acts, but when all is said and done they maintain their own personal style. Throughout the album they keep the same sound, almost repetitively. There are a few guitar solos which unfortunately aren't as good as they could’ve been (they come out sounding mediocre, and aren’t too catchy). The catchy radio-worthy melodies are still there, luckily; what they did this time was including more ballads and concentrated upon making the song's intros and outros flow into and out of each other. In particular, “Pitch Black Mourning” is one that I feel I’ve heard before, but just can’t remember where. It’s a very odd song, but still classic Audrey Horne.
Moving on to the bonus tracks; these are six acoustic tracks that you should hear, among which are Audrey Horne’s first two cover songs. The first three songs (“Desert Song”, “Carrie” and “Bright Lights”) are average acoustic versions of heavier songs which add nothing extra. But on “Nowhere to Run”, a KISS cover, you're in for a surprise. It opens with a slightly drunken voice saying, in Norwegian: “’Ey, play some Kiss, damnit.” And that’s just what they do, seemingly during a jam or practice session. The penultimate song, “Rearview Mirror”, features a female singer, which together with Toschie’s vocals and the band’s instrumental skills, could well have been taken from a Disney movie score. The final song, “Halo” (a Beyoncé cover), is a marvellous cover, and had I not checked who wrote it, I would’ve thought it was one of Audrey Horne’s own songs.
In general, this album is good if you want some background music that doesn’t catch too much attention, though I would recommend buying the digipack bonus version for the acoustic songs.
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Ønskje's rating: 3.5/5