AUDREY HORNE, a name that’s come back into prominence over the last twelve months; first Sherilyn Fenn reprised her famous character from Twin Peaks last year in the critically acclaimed reboot and this Friday the Norwegians who took on the same moniker for their band have their first album in four years dropping. Comprising members of ENSLAVED and SAHG, the new album is entitled Blackout and arrives via Napalm Records.
At the halfway stage of this record, there is a song called Light Your Way. It’s the heaviest thing on the record at that point, with a driving JUDAS PRIEST riff, thundering keyboards a la DEEP PURPLE and another great solo from the hands of Arve Isdal. All of a sudden AUDREY HORNE are at full throttle and Blackout turns into a show-stopper. Following song California contains more of a THIN LIZZY feel but is no less effective as a melodious, hard rock anthem, Naysayer channels the spirit of IRON MAIDEN and the twin-axe attack so wonderfully crafted by them and closing song Rose Alley is potentially the best on the whole album; despite some surprisingly lacklustre drumming, the chorus is huge and the guitars are once again on top form.
What makes this all the more incredible is that the first half of Blackout is turgid and a chore to get through, far inferior to what’s waiting later on. This Is War is a bold song to open the album with being over six minutes in length and it doesn’t pay off; despite a promising opening, it turns into a middle-of-the-road rock song with little character of edge. Still, it’s better than the title track which comprises some of the most painful lyrics ever penned and goes on for far too long, which at four-and-a-quarter minutes in length is saying something. Audrevolution has more about it but again suffers from poor lyrics and This Man somehow manages to be worse than both of them – the line “She’s got eyes that don’t like what they see/And I should know because I’m watching her from across the universe’ makes BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE look like Poet Laureates. Thankfully, and rather appropriately, Midnight Man shows promise and is a nice set up for the rest of the record as explained above.
A mixed bag then for AUDREY HORNE, with a storming second half making up for a very weak first and asking the question why the back five songs couldn’t have just made up an extended EP. It’s an odd record, Blackout, but one that just about passes the test.
Blackout is set for release on January 12th via Napalm Records.
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