“White Hoarhound” – by Alunah. After spending the greater majority of the year waiting for the newest noise out of Britain, it is finally here! It has been quite a while since I have personally anticipated a sophomore release with so longingly. But, having been given the great fortune of randomly stumbling upon “Call of Avernus,” I was more than ready to give the newest Alunah composition a listen.
From the very beginning, you are taken on a journey, with Soph and the boys playing tour guide into the deep, dark depths of the doomy world they call home. “White Hoarhound” seems to have a mature and sophisticated feel to it. In their first album, I sensed the vibe that Alunah was ready to take on the world. With their latest release, I sensed that Alunah had become the world.
Pseudo-philosophical senses and feelings aside- the notations, vocal melodies, and overall tone of the record tend to lean towards a slower, darker, and deeper base than its predecessor. From the beginning whispers, and eerie tones, you are fully aware that you are about to enter a very different, very real place.
On the first track, “Demeter’s Grief” you are welcomed and reassured that this IS, in fact, the same Alunah you know and love. The doomy qualities you know and love are all there. I won’t bore you with explaining the guitar tones, or tuning used... But, if you have heard an Alunah song before, trust me – it’s them. I am personally a very big fan of what they do. Every riff is well written, well thought out, and always has a clear cut path ahead of it. As always, the riffs are slow and methodical, and never overstep the boundaries of what the song calls for. They solos all seem to have just the right amount of fuzz to separate them from the choruses and verses.
The drums are constant, and keep the pace running quite comfortably. Alunah is a band that enjoys switching the tempo to emphasize important parts of their songs, and the drummer serves as a steady guide through the calmest insanity that you have ever heard.
As always, the vocals are distinct, and beautiful. There is a charming quality about how well the downtuned guitars and vocal styling tend to mesh together, almost perfectly. It is like being reassured of what hope may still exist while you sit in a drudged and muddy storm that signifies the end of the world. It’s crisp, it’s unique, and it’s simply beautiful amongst the filthy sludge.
All in all, this is a great record that gave me everything that I was hoping it would give to me. However, I must state that there was a certain and peculiar uneasiness that filled me while I listened to it. A feeling that there was far more emotion backing the music then the lyrics seem to allude to. “White Hoarhound” has a much, MUCH darker feel to it than “Call of Avernus” did. I imagine that it was written with a very heavy heart. It is not as care-free and jovial as their earlier recordings. In my opinion, it almost seems that this recording seems to be a bit more of a statement then an album. Alunah is here to stay, and does not plan on vacating its place in the world any time soon.
In essence, we’re all ‘doomed.’