Audrey Horne is a band that have split the opinion of some of my more extreme metal following friends, mourning as they do the fact that a band once formed of members of Enslaved, Gorgoroth and the like did not slap on the corpse paint and growl. Instead, the band are clearly influenced by the rock of days gone by, and not the late sixties/early seventies sound of so many current retro sounding bands. Rather they musically move on a whole decade plus, an era of high heeled boots, shoulder pads, and big hair, and that’s just the men. So, true kvlt metal warriors look away; those willing to smile, read on.
‘Wolf In My Heart’ fires in first and sets the tone for the album, early Van Halen riffing mixed with massive choruses and a production that sounds like a huge pile of money was thrown at the album. I’m sure that’s not the case, but whoever was twiddling the knobs made every penny count in recreating a sumptuous layered sound as big as David Lee Roth’s ego! Okay, maybe not that big, but you must forgive my hyperbole. ‘Holy Roller’ rocks out the speakers next, a chugging fist pumper of a number that could happily ride shotgun with Saxon’s ‘Motorcycle Man’, whilst the twin guitar harmonies of ‘Out Of The City’ would put a twinkle into the late great Phil Lynott’s Irish eyes, as well as plastering a grin on my ugly mug. Hell, my memories were even thrown back to formative images of a leather clad Suzy Quatro with the stomping opening of ‘Tales From the Crypt’, the stripped back verses and pounding rhythm sounding like they lived on ‘Devil Gate Drive’, even if the lyrics jump forward to 1986.
Whilst the period of rock that the band are so clearly so respectful of is somewhat out of fashion these days, and remaining acts from that period that are still touring tend to be over the top dinosaurs like Kiss, Audrey Horne have dug through the mud of that period, found some real gems, and energetically polished them into a product that is just plain and simply fun. ‘Into The Wild’ has got riffs and hooks aplenty to get an audience chanting along and fists to be raised with bandanas tied around the wrists, whilst ‘Gravity’ to me just screams of late Bad Company, a track which like the whole of ‘Pure Heavy’ is dripping with note perfect hard rock. Hell, if you even want a bit of NWOBHM, the band deliver that in spades with ‘High And Dry’, a number that is just lacking Di’Anno’s growl to complete the temporal jump back to 1978.
I’ve been lucky enough to catch Audrey Horne live at what was sadly a massively under-attended gig in Glasgow, and the band played with an energy and enthusiasm undiminished by the poor turn-out. That same passion comes through in each and every track on the album; ‘Pure Heavy’ is not an album of darkness and shoe gazing, it is one of unashamed joy, and in my book, there’s nothing wrong with that folks.