Almost too good to be true
With previous albums the Norwegian band Audrey Horne
built up a reputation of a decent hard rock band with melancholic yet groovy sound. What they showed with Youngblood
though is that musicians with black metal background can also pay a tribute to all the 70's and 80's classics without losing their specific sound. Without being shameless copycats the band created an album which fulfils most of the classic musical rock'n'roll clichés and spiced it up in their own way. Already the cover doubtlessly inspired by Kiss
classic Rock and Roll Over is a great proof.
It is rather impossible to find any song on the album that is worse than others, only those that fit in the album a little less. But taken one by one, each and every song is catchy and has a radio hit potential without losing a single drop of complexity. None of the skills of the great musicians of Audrey Horne
remained hidden. The band successfully managed not to oversimplify their work just in sake of creating songs that are likeable; every single one of the songs is so catchy simply because... it is great.
It would be unfair to say that being old school is the only strong feature of the album, even though it is the first thing to come on one's mind already after seeing the album cover. What the band did with a surprising ease is keeping only the best of the eighties and seventies cheesiness (yes, those years were cheesy in the best sense of the word) and replacing the rest with their own fresh approach. You can find both whiny guitars as well as the riffs that would perfectly fit into a black metal epic composition. The keys and choruses as well enhance the whole retro feeling of the album without unnecessarily overdriving it. The lyrics of majority of the songs remained rather melancholic but none of them misses at least a dash of dry sense of humour.
The band decided not to publish a bonus disk but only a limited number of albums with bonus tracks this time so the fans still got something on top of already great album. The bonus material contains three tracks - a new one, I Wanna Know You, that might have been put only to the limited amount of albums because being on all of them would cause an overflow of awesomeness, and two less polished and more raw demo versions of the preceding This Ends Here and The Open Sea.
What remains a mystery is whether the band intends to keep with their new sound or if the album was an outstanding sideslip of their musical development. In both cases Youndblood is an exquisite record that deserves attention from those who like to keep it true and old school as well as from those who look for something new and fresh. This album has a great ability to satisfy both groups of listeners.