Audrey Horne - Pure Heavy - (6.5/10)
Published on October 11, 2014
What more can you ask for than an album full of good songs? Well how about an album full of good songs that you want to come back to time and time again? That’s where Audrey Horne have delivered in the past, but may just have come up short on fifth album, Pure Heavy.
Audrey Horne’s previous album, Youngblood was one of best hard rock / heavy metal albums of 2013. It had memorable, killer rock anthems such as “This Ends Here” and “The King Is Dead” and stood proudly ahead of most of its peers. Pure Heavy may not be the follow up that fans of that album were hoping for.
The first half of the album sounds like a tribute act, such is the similarity in sound to some of the most influential rock acts of the past. Much of the opening track, “Wolf In My Heart”, especially the guitars, sounds uncannily like The Who. The chorus is less like Daltrey & co, but the rest of this could be a Who song and not a particularly good one. Surely no one sounds this Who-like by accident?
“Out Of The City” is a dead ringer for Thin Lizzy. The guitars and chorus couldn’t sound more like Lizzy, all that’s missing are Phil Lynott’s dulcet tones. A familiar theme is in evidence here, as while it’s not awful by any means, it wouldn’t be one of Lizzy’s better album tracks. (BTW, how utterly awesome that the band have got Johan Hegg to appear in the promo video for this song!!!)
A couple of the other early tracks recall Blizzard-era Ozzy, while the clapping start to “Tales From The Crypt” brings to mind “Devil Gate Drive”. The song is actually a rock n roll sing-along, including name checks for “Dave Lee” and “Mr Sixx”. It might be fun played live, but it’s no better than an average pub-touring rock band.
While some of these influences may have been present on Youngblood, they were used in creating songs that were all Audrey Horne’s own; here, it seems like an unabashed attempt to channel the spirits of those rock and metal pioneers.
For the rest of this album, Audrey Horne stop trying so hard to recreate other bands and play it like their excellent previous album, with good tunes and big choruses. There are moments when the guitars remind us of Lizzy or Aerosmith, for example, but it’s brief and far less overbearing.
It’s a shame that “Diamond” was used as an unnecessary prelude to the following track, as although brief and gentle, it has the makings of a nice tune and could have been developed as decent ballad. That next track is worth the wait, though, as “Into The Wild” is quite possible the best song here. It’s catchy with a huge, memorable chorus and will certainly get heads nodding. This is what you pay your money for.
The good news doesn’t stop there, as the album ends in far better form than it starts. “Waiting For The Night” is very commercial-sounding pop/rock with an enormously catchy chorus. Like many pop songs, though, it does get tiresome after a few listens. Album closer, “Boy Wonder”, is closest to the wonderful anthems of Youngblood, with Maiden-style bass, nice guitars and another big memorable chorus. It’s no “This Ends Here”, but it’s one of the standouts of Audrey Horne 2014.
Although Pure Heavy does improve markedly when it stops sounding like a tribute album, it remains a disappointment. Disappointment, of course, stems from expectation. When expectations are high, disappointment is all the more likely and that is the case here. Audrey Horne are probably incapable of putting out a poor record, but having set the bar so high, they have failed to get anywhere near it this time round.
It simply boils down to the quality of the songs. Unlike Youngblood, Pure Heavy lacks songs that I’d want to come back to time and time again. There’s no shortage of good songs here, but the predecessor had great songs and they are what is are missing. There are far better hard rock / heavy metal albums around this year – check out the really good releases from the likes of Forensick or LostPray, for example. Or just put Youngblood on again.