Moving into their second decade as a band with their fourth record ‘Youngblood’, Audrey Horne are back and sounding fantastic. The Norwegians have had a bit of an identity crisis throughout their career. They’ve been lumped in with bands like Tool as ‘Alt-metal’, ‘Post-Grunge’ has been mentioned and their Scandinavian roots often lead people to think they might be some sort of Meshuggah or Kvelertak wannabe. Reviewers and fans are both as lazy as each other, so it’s understandable that these tags are easily applied, but with ‘Youngblood’ we have something a little different.
It may be a statement right off the music review crib sheet; but Audrey Horne have really matured into album number four. ‘Youngblood’ is simply a warm sounding, well-crafted classic rock album. Regardless of the songs, the album sounds beautiful, softened around the corners rather than the razor sharp edges of a lot of modern music. There is an abundance of classic rock influences but the attitude, and in particular Toschie’s vocals on the CD, make sure it’s not a tribute show.
‘Redemption Blues’ starts things off. Opening with a mountain of twin guitars that turn into a stomper of a song with a sing-along chorus and decent portion of guitar solo, it’s a favourite to open the live show and has NWOBHM stamped all over it. ‘Straight into your Grave’ opens with a Motorhead style chug which it retains throughout the song but overall it is another memorable sing-long that sticks in the mind. A theme that runs through ‘Youngblood’.
The title track slows down to power ballad territory but without being cheesy, with a smashing crescendo of squeaky guitars and Lizzy-style riffs to finish. It possesses all the elements of real chart botherer.
Audrey Horne are at their best when they are rocking hard though. There’s plenty of big songs on here to get heads banging and fists pumping, too many to name in fact. Similarly there are more reflective parts to provide some depth and respite from the blitz of riffs.
Audrey Horne have really come up trumps here. Assuming their current fans are growing up with them, their fan base is sure to swell as they pick up new followers thanks to the awesome ‘Youngblood’. It’s a great classic rock record that doesn’t sound too desperate to capture a particular timeframe. The influences filter through nicely, but there’s something very honest about the good time feeling on display here. ‘Youngblood’ is both a career best and hopefully a carrier changer!