Review: Audrey Horne – ‘Blackout’

Christ, it’s been what seems like an eternity since Audrey Horne last released an album. Stop and think about all the crap that’s happened since the boys from Bergen, Norway released ‘Pure Heavy’ in 2014… second thoughts, best not… but if you feel like blocking out the white noise that is current day to day life, and Pornhub has blocked you, then ‘Blackout’ is the perfect soundtrack to make you tune in, drop out, and get jiggy with it. It’s infectious, gets under the skin, and there ain’t no cure for this sucker. Poison might have promised ‘Nothin’ But A Good Time’ decades ago, but let’s face it, Poison were, and still are, shite. Audrey Horne don’t just promise a good time, they bloomin’ well deliver it in spades. ‘Blackout’ is basically a party album and everyone is invited. Take a dash of Iron Maiden, mix it with some Thin Lizzy, throw in some Queen (‘The Game’ era, specifically), stick it in a blender along with some classic ‘80’s AOR, and press the on switch. Hey presto! Out pops ten tracks of high energy rock n’roll. C’mon, how can you not like a tongue-in-cheek track called ‘Rose Alley’ that features so many Thin Lizzy moments it makes your head spin. Alongside ‘Amber Galactic’ by The Night Flight Orchestra, ‘Blackout’ is the finest ‘80’s inspired rock album by a band whose numbers include band members from other, more extreme genres. The twin guitars from Ice Dale (Enslaved) and Thomas Tofthagen (ex-Sahg) are huge, simply huge. The stall is set out straight away with the Maiden-esque intro to opener ‘This Is War’, a classic metal intro with no fannying around. The vocals, however, are pure melodic rock. Vocalist Toschie looks as hard as nails, but his vocals hint at a softer side. The harmonies are bloody massive, and blend really well with the heady smattering of riffs. The strong harmonies continue into ‘Audrevolution’, which is built around an infectious groove that bites down and refuses to let go.  The title track has cowbell! Need I say more? Well, it has such a powerful ‘80’s vibe that repeated listens will see the white suit (with rolled up sleeves) coming out of the wardrobe and the keytar getting dusted off. Imagine Toto with balls. Damn! The guitar solos are pretty damn tasty. ‘This Man’ might begin like a throwback to Thin Lizzy’s ‘Don’t Believe A Word’, but vocally, it takes a turn into Huey Lewis territory. Trust me, it works! A drum solo kicks off ‘Light Your Way’. A freaking drum solo on a record? Dude, why the hell not? Like I said, ‘Blackout’ is a party album, and anything goes. Copious amounts of Hammond organ help give it a Deep Purple tinge, and the jam between the Hammond and the guitars halfway through is the real money shot on the album. ‘California’ is as light and fluffy as the stereotypical SoCal airhead, and features some rather lovely dual guitar melodies. All this fun leads into the bootylicious ‘Satellite’. Instantly, it will have you thinking about how crucial the non-fussy basswork of John Deacon was to Queen, simple as hell, but my god it works. Totally ‘80’s throwback, with what sounds like a tribute to Eddie Van Halen’s solo on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’, it’s a fun song that even the most ardent of Enslaved fans would bust a groove to. ‘Naysayer’ quickly turns the disco/funk of ‘Satellite’ on its head with pure NWOBHM. An early Maiden guitar sound and a few bars of galloping bass helping it on its way. This just leaves the delicious ‘Rose Alley’. Of course, ‘Rosalie’ is a Bob Seger composition, but really it was Lizzy that made it famous. Audrey Horne have their tongues firmly in their collective cheeks throughout, and it truly is a fantastic way to end an album that is best summed up with one word – fun. ‘Blackout’ is available now on Napalm Records. Find more information on the official Audrey Horne Facebook. Review: Disco Stu]]>

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