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Audrey Horne: Devil’s Bell

Twin Peaks is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and one of the characters that I love the most is Sherilyn Fenn’s Audrey Horne. She was funny, mysterious, beautiful, and shameless. When I saw that Scandavian hard rock band Audrey Horne used her name as their own, I was instantly intrigued. Not only do I think that referencing the show is a large indicator of good taste, but they presumably also shared the same love for her character. As I began to listen to the band’s seventh album, The Devil’s Bell, I quickly realized that there were going to be a lot more references to art that I love throughout. The band sounds straight out of the 80’s, and the songs and titles reference David Bowie, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, etc. They have a lot going for them with their sound. Lead singer Toschie has a very infectious voice. It is not particularly heavy, but it is very catchy and melodic, and serves as a highlight of the group’s sound. There are blazing and melodic lead guitar parts, catchy riffs, and some excellent hooks. Even though I like what I hear on the album, it’s a bit hard to ignore that everything the band does sounds like something else.

The album opens relatively strong with the track “Ashes to Ashes” (An obvious David Bowie reference). The second song “Animal” is decent too. Even though these tracks have a bit of a familiar sound to them, they still show the band being somewhat their own. This ends after these tracks. The third song “Breakout” sounds straight off Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osbourne. The riffs sound like guitarist Jake E. Lee, and the tonality of Toschie’s voice sounds a lot like Ozzy. I did think this was a very catchy song though, and I still liked it. Starting with the fourth song, “Return to Grave Valley”, the band begins to sound like an Iron Maiden cover band. The main difference between the two bands is that Toschie sounds nothing like Bruce Dickinson, Paul Di’Anno, or Blayze Bayley. The band pulls off the Iron Maiden sound relatively well, but I have no need to hear another band do what one of my favorite bands of all time already did. All the songs are well constructed too, but the blatant familiarity makes them a bit hard to praise. The last couple tracks of the album are a bit interesting though. “Toxic Twins” opens with a Maiden sounding riff, but the verses and choruses have a bit of an Alternative feel, which is refreshing compared to the rest of the album. The last song “From Darkness” sounds a lot like an Ozzy tune. The opening riff is pretty killer, sounding like something that Randy Rhoads would have done. Toschie sounds quite a bit like Ozzy on this one too. The interesting part is the Thin Lizzy sounding twin lead guitar parts during the chorus. Even though the influences are obvious, I think the clash of sounds is kind of cool. My favorite songs are “Ashes to Ashes”, “Break Out”, “Toxic Twins”, and “From Darkness”.

Overall, this is not a bad album by any means. I think the band is very talented as musicians, and I like Toschie’s voice a lot. My main issue is that there isn’t much that makes the band stand out as individuals. A band that I compared them to a lot while listening is Ghost. Both bands are going after a vintage sound and pay homage to bands they love often. The difference is that Ghost also has a lot of originality in their compositions and sound. This album is very listenable, and there were some moments that I really enjoyed. For the most part, it left me frustrated. I hear a lot of potential with this band, but every time another song started, I knew exactly who they were trying to sound like. While they did all these bands justice for the most part, I just wanted to hear more originality. I honestly felt like I was listening to a cover album, even though all the songs were original compositions. This isn’t an album that I would recommend or dissuade listeners from checking out. I think there could be an appeal if you are looking for a throwback album. If you’re looking for something unique, it may disappoint.

Audrey Horne is:
Toschie: Lead Vocals
Ice Dale: Guitar
Thomas Tofthagen: Guitar
Kjetil Greve: Drums
Espen Lien: Bass

Track Listing:
  1. Ashes To Ashes
  2. Animal
  3. Breakout
  4. Return To Grave Valley
  5. Danse Macabre
  6. Devil’s Bell
  7. All Is Lost
  8. Toxic Twins
  9. From Darkness

Added: April 2nd 2022
Reviewer: Ryan Gavalier
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 505
Language: english

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