Thanks to Zero Tolerance Magazine for this great live review of Alunah at The Rainbow Venues in Birmingham.
Alunah's track "Awakening The Forest" has been featured on The Sludgelord's "Paralysis Vol 2".
1. The Midnight Ghost Train - BC Trucker 04:05
2. STEAK - PISSER 06:57
3. Black Pussy - For The Sake Of Argument 05:23
4. Conan - Horns For Teeth 05:45
5. Greenhorn - Witch's Bridle 07:53
6. Shepherd - Bog Slime 04:28
7. GURT - Sludge Puppies 04:20
8. Alunah - Awakening The Forest 07:48
9. Ichabod - Squall 09:38
10. Jackpine Snag - Brother Eve 02:24
11. Mother Corona - Wax 06:24
12. Brant Bjork - Ain't No Runnin' 02:57
13. Last Minute To Jaffna - Chapter XV 06:29
14. RODHA - Adrenaline 04:50
15. The Graviators - Leifs Last Breath 05:46
16. Deathkings - When You Were Mine 07:25
17. Thorr-Axe - Gates Of Winter 06:48
18. Bloodmoon - Voidbound 17:51
19. Blackwitch Pudding - Gods Of Grungus 05:14
20. High Fighter - 2Steps Blueskill 05:08
21. MAGI - A Million Questions 06:27
22. Judd Madden - Radio & Tone 06:38
23. Pet The Preacher - The Web 08:37
24. Lockersludge - The Beard Of Doom 03:42
25. Buzzherd - Abuse Of Despair 06:50
26. Nauseahtake - Nautilus-Artifact 12:40
27. PIST - Wither 04:33
28. Astralnaut - Dethroned 07:46
29. BARABBAS - Judas est une femme 08:22
30. Formes - I Am Nothing 06:50
31. The Asound - Throne Of Compulsion 03:22
32. Ordus - The Lost 05:40
Download here: https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/paralysis-vol-2
Invisible Oranges recently featured Alunah in Their "Ten Bands to Introduce Your Friend to Extreme Metal" feature, alongside 3 Inches of Blood, Boris, Tombs and others.
British doom band Alunah’s sound is woven with traces of Black Sabbath influence—they even hail from Birmingham. And one doesn’t need much experience with metal to appreciate that mix of psychedelic melody and moody sludge. Soph Day’s strong but smooth, vocals float on top of riffs that are trippy yet defiant and heavy. Alunah takes their time to pound through their compositions, executing that gloomy doom element, and it only allows more time to hear every spiralling guitar solo or mesmerizing vocal harmony. Each song has a folktale feel, unraveling stories through both lyrics and compositions that evolve in the course of several minutes. Tapping into the early glory days of metal while fleshing out with their own flourishes, Alunah is an accessibly melodic intro to the genre yet a heavy, intriguing sound for a longtime metal listener to explore.
Life On The Road With The “Smuttiest Band In Doom” | Maximum Volume Alunah Interview | The Rainbow Venues, Birmingham
Glam rock gods Cinderella seem like an odd place to begin an interview with Doom Metal gods in waiting, Alunah, but at the start of their 1991 album “Heartbreak Station” there’s a track called “The More Things Change.” “The more things change,” sings Tom Keifer in its chorus, “the more they stay the same.”
The reason for this musing is that it is exactly four months to the day since MV last chatted with Alunah. We did so in the back of a pub prior to their album launch show. Now, we are sitting in the front of another pub just a few hundred yards away with them for a little catch up before their latest outing in what is basically their home town. Time flies when you are in a heavy metal band it seems.
To recap on our last meeting. We had learnt a few things. First, that frontwoman Soph Day has a dodgy pop past involving Take That. Second that drummer Jake – rather like MV – likes Belinda Carlisle a little too much.
Today the bombshells just keep coming. Jake – who had told us when we tried to round the band up for a chat, to “go and find Soph as she’ll make more sense” – has a bit of a Status Quo thing going on and moreover that he emailed Soph the cover of their latest album “Aquostic” (for reference it has a picture of a naked Rick and Francis with only a guitar covering their bits). The singer recoils at the memory: “I mean, ewwww,” she laughs. “There was a little bit of sick in my mouth.”
More importantly though, there is another issue about being in a rock band on the road. There’s no nice way to put this. Farting. Time spent in a van with guitarist David, it transpires gets a little bits smelly, which is kind of a problem when you are on the road: “we’ve been all over Europe and it’s not been pleasant. I mean he does it as soon as he gets in the van,” say the band, giggling.
If all of this seems a world away from the music of Alunah, which is heavy, dark and oppressive, then it’s supposed to be. The four are relaxed in their own company – Soph and David are married – and along with Jake have paid their dues in this band for years. The one exception is bass player Dan Burchmore. The latest in a long line of four stringers to pass through the ranks over the years (“I think we’ve had about eight, but Dan can stay,” grins Soph.) but he has very obviously fitted in seamlessly.
We’d best put our serious faces on and get down to business, then. The day after the album launch on the first of October, the quartet got in their van and headed to the continent. They had spoken with genuine – and rather touching – excitement about going to Paris for a concert, so did it live up to expectations? Happily yes. “It was a great gig, in a beautiful room, where Picasso and Toulouse Le Trec used to go,” says the singer. “There was a good crowd too, so everything went really well.”
Or should that be everything went really well when they eventually got there: “It was a bit of a worry at one stage,” admits Soph. “The Friday night traffic in Paris was horrendous, and we were in the little van, still we got there in the end.”
Transport issues seem to have dogged the band, as they explain: “First the bus broke down, so the hire company came and gave us a new one.” Everything was fine, until that one went wrong too, with Jake adding: “4000 miles over the Alps in a broken van!”
Whilst in the Alps they were supposed to play the second stage at the Swiss Up In Smoke Festival, but one bands misfortune was their gain, as touring partners Lonely Kamel couldn’t make the gig, they asked Alunah to take their place on the main stage. Which brings us round neatly to touring.
There was a time back a few years ago, that you couldn’t go a week without seeing Alunah playing a gig somewhere in the West Midlands, now those appearances are much, much rarer. This is their first gig in the city since that one in October. It turns out that this has been a conscious plan. “We didn’t want people to get sick of seeing us,” admits Soph, with David adding: “I just think if you want to be big, you’ve got to get out there and make it happen for yourself. Play gigs everywhere, get people to know you, there’s no point in playing the same places again and again.”
To that end the night before our chat, the band had been in Glasgow, “It was a great show” but cold!” says David. MV suggests that despite bringing the subzero temperatures down here with them (the interview is conducted with us all wearing coats) they must be glad to be home. Sophie Day’s honest answer is a little surprising: “I’ll probably enjoy last night more,” she admits. “I’ll know a lot of people in here, last night I knew one person. I’d rather play to a room full of strangers than a room full of friends. It feels more of an accomplishment.”
In a little under three hours after our chat, Alunah do take to the stage, in the freezing cold back room. And they do so with considerable panache and skill. There is a confidence about them, and if the music doesn’t quite demand a swagger, it is certainly a cut above the norm in terms of its delivery.
Soph described the music a little before: “Someone said to me last night,” she recalls. “That we sounded like all the things we like, a bit of doom, a bit of psych, Janis Joplin, Sabbath but we’d put our stamp on it. I thought it was really cool. I hope we have done that.”
Alunah, for all the laughing and joking are absolutely serious about music, Sophie talks about her pride in playing with the French psych Lords Mars Red Sky (“my album of last year” she declares.) The band give every indication that were they not playing here tonight, they’d be here watching.
But they know they’ve got work to do too. Last years brilliant “Awakening The Forest” – their third album but first for Napalm Records – needs a follow up soon, but there’s no rush: “I’ve got some ideas for things, and there’s a track that didn’t make “….Forest” that we’d like to use, but nothing is really laid down yet,” says the front lady.
Instead the plans for this year involve touring – the band say they are hoping to go out later in 2015 – and they also speak of wanting to play Scandinavia, which would be a first for them.
The dumb thing that everyone thinks is that life on the road in a rock band must be glamorous. According to those that know, not a bit of it! “We’ve never been a druggy band, so there’s no drugs. There’s rock n roll I suppose, but no sex. Definitely no sex,” says Sophie laughing, before asking: “I’ll bet you didn’t know we were the smuttiest band in doom, did you?!”
The heavy metal heavens opened up at The Unicorn on Saturday night and rained down some of the most pulverising riffage courtesy of five brilliant underground bands. From around the country they came led by Alunah. This was…AWESOME…
There is a healthy crowd from the outset which helped create a lively atmosphere for these bands to showcase their wares.
Alunah’s fast growing reputation for delivering classic British doom metal is well deserved. Those smooth Soph Day vocals over rich, powerful guitar and rhythm work prove why they are young standard bearers for the genre. At times they almost sound imperial and there is a trance-like quality about their set. Tracks from their latest release Awakening The Forest get a nice work out. This is the band to watch in the future.
The music is one thing, the community is another and there was such a nice vibe around The Unicorn tonight.
I’m lucky I get to a lot of gigs but sometimes certain nights really stand out. This was one of them – five absolutely brilliant bands and it was great to see plenty of support.
This four piece produce an innovative musical mix of doom, blues, psychedelic and even some post rock, together with something very special, in the passionate and fabulously interpretive voice of Sophie Day. Add to that Sophie's very engaging lyrical themes around nature, ritual and loss, and this is a band you just need to catch up with!
Alunah open the set with Bricket Wood Coven from the new album. The rhythm configuration of Jake Mason on drums, and Dan Burchmore on bass, powerfully united with the two guitars, propels this song along, with the deepest of wall shaking riffs. The song has a fabulous instrumental section led by some great funky bass work, complemented by Dave Day's beautifully sustained guitar notes, that weave effortlessly over the top.
A highlight early on in the set is Sophie's soulful and passionate singing on Heavy Bough. There is a real swing to this song, conjuring up a definite sixties West Coast psychedelic vibe. To get a sense of what this wonderful band is all about, you should catch the official Napalm Records video for the song on You Tube.
Scourge and the Kiss has a marked melodic sensibility, where Sophie closes her eyes, holds the microphone stand, and reaches for the most emotional of vocals. Dave's soloing here is very lyrical, and adds a real sense of sadness and yearning to this amazing live reading, of what is one of the highlight tracks on the new album. The coming together of the band on the core monumental riff, would give Black Sabbath at their best, a run for their money!
There is a joyfulness too about this band, as they smile at each other during the set, and even the staff behind the bar at Audio are swept up, and start head banging.
The Mask of Herne, sees Sophie, in a sweet moment, attempt to wave away the dry ice enveloping the stage. This song shows how in sympathy are Sophie and Dave's guitars, as they lock perfectly into the opening doom laden riff. Jake's drum patterns here really accent the song, such that they become more like a lead instrument in the song, and his cymbal work is just amazing.
The feedback ending to the set as instruments are put down, and the sound is allowed to reverberate around Audio, is an apt atmospheric end to this powerful and stunning gig. Alunah deserve your attention, their mixing in of a range of musical influences into doom, is completely captivating and so creative, and especially so live. Add to that the unique spellbinding voice of Sophie, and her lyrical vision, and you have something very special at play here.
They are touring in April and May, including Dublin, Limerick, Cardiff, Bristol, and Edinburgh. Don't miss them!
The first thing I noticed, even before ALUNAH hit the stage, was the size of Dave Day's pedal board. No it's not a euphemism. Being a guitarist myself I stood in awe at the sheer majesty of the multitude of brightly coloured metal boxes. I counted 13 of them. I don't know if he used them all but his guitar tone tonight was absolutely killer. After the short intro, a recording of Lead Belly's "In the Pines", ALUNAH launch into “Bricket Wood Coven'' from their last album “Awakening the Forest”. The guitars are just crushingly heavy on this track. Dave Day's Green amp produces a massive wall of sound as he moshes away like some kind of bearded Doom wizard. Front woman Soph Day is on form tonight and her ethereal vocals drift through the venue like smoke pouring off a stage, which it was, Soph had to wave her hand around a bit to clear some of it. “Heavy Bough” was next, another great track from the last album. Dan Burchmore's mop of hair is in perpetual motion throughout as he pounds out his thundering bass lines. Jake Mason, when he can be seen through the mist, sings along and visibly enjoys playing live. ALUNAH play through 9 tracks tonight, a mix of old and new, every one a crowd pleaser. The band put on a convincing performance, with quality material to draw upon, which left no-one in the venue in any doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with. If you can catch them on one of their forthcoming dates then make sure you go out and support them. This was their first time in Scotland and hopefully we'll see them back again soon.
ALUNAH is a band that is, by rights, on the lips of many a metalhead in the UK scene, and those savvy with the Doom/Stoner/Psychedelic echelons of Metal. Fronted by the charismatic Sophie Day, they bring something a little different to the Doom palette - female-fronted Stoner; far more straightforward and Rock-oriented than the spacey and fuzzy WINDHAND, of similar proclivities, ALUNAH's set is nonetheless enchanting. Danny Sanderson recently had a chance to speak with Sophie about the new album, the new record deal and plans for the future.
The last time that we spoke, when you were playing the Star and Garter in Manchester last May, you were finishing the recording process for "Awakening the Forest". How do you feel that the album has been received both critically and by fans?
From what I've read, and from what people have said to us, I believe it's been received really well. It's gone out to a wider array of people this time, so non-doom/stoner fans are picking up on it. Because of that we've had a few negatives, but mostly people who are coming to us after discovering this type of music. On lady messaged us saying "I don't know what doom is, but if this is it I like it". The existing fans seem to be really into it too which is great.
Which is your personal favourite song on the album?
To listen to is "Awakening The Forest" and to play live it's "Scourge and The Kiss".
Where did the title "Awakening the Forest" come from, and how does it fit into the themes on the album?
I had a moment in a forest whilst walking my dog where I suddenly thought that this could be the last thing of beauty that I saw, I could die that day without really appreciating the beautiful world we live in. Things like that weigh heavily on my mind, so I went home and wrote the lyrics. The main themes on the album are that of death and rebirth, as well as paganism and an appreciation of nature, so I'd say it's at home with those.
You are, of course, now signed to Napalm Records, a major label, and you have been doing far more headline shows. This has given you a chance to play with some of the best up and coming Doom/Stoner/Rock bands. Have any of them caught your eye?
Recently we played with Pyre of the Earth and Buried Sleeper in Glasgow, both of those were great. We're playing Edinburgh soon and we asked the promoter if Pyre could play with us, as they were coming to the gig anyway and we all really enjoyed them. Also, we played with some really great bands this last weekend in London, and one which stood out to me was Famyne, a bunch of young lads playing great riffs, great vocals and loving every moment.
One of the upsides of the exposure you have received with this album is that you now have a chance to play further afield than you might have before. Are there any countries, venues or festivals that you hope that you will be able to play in the future?
We've been playing Europe for the past couple of years now, and we're looking at getting over there again this year. We've visited some beautiful countries such as Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, and Austria. We're also playing Malta Doom Metal Fest which is a first for us, and doing a few more dates in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There are the obvious metal festivals that we'd like to be a part of, but I'd be really really happy to tour the Scandinavian countries as apart from Denmark we haven't visited them yet.
This is your third full length album, and obviously that means you now have more material to play live. Has it been harder picking songs to put into your set, and are there any songs that you've had to drop from your usual setlist?
I wouldn't necessary say it was harder, it's actually nice to have a decent selection of songs to choose from, and playing different songs each night keeps us from getting bored. There are times when we have to drop something that's someone's favourite, but we just include it another night.
What are your plans for the immediate future?
We're re-releasing our first two albums "Call of Avernus" and "White Hoarhound" on CD on PRC Music Canada as they are both sold out, "Call of Avernus" is also getting a vinyl release on Hevisike Records. We've got some dates in Ireland and Scotland, a few festivals (Red Sun, Cardiff, Siege of Limerick, and Malta Doom Metal Fest) and are planning a European tour so pretty busy at the moment. We're also working on a lyric video for one of our new songs, and starting to write for the fourth album.
"The next two bands made our MetalMouth “Kick Ass list of 2014”. Sea Bastard and Alunah really are Lords of The Underground..."
"Alunah’s fast growing reputation for delivering classic British doom metal is well deserved. Those smooth Soph Day vocals over rich, powerful guitar and rhythm work prove why they are young standard bearers for the genre. At times they almost sound imperial and there is a trance-like quality about their set. Tracks from their latest release Awakening The Forest get a nice work out. This is the band to watch in the future. The music is one thing, the community is another and there was such a nice vibe around The Unicorn tonight. I’m lucky I get to a lot of gigs but sometimes certain nights really stand out. This was one of them - five absolutely brilliant bands and it was great to see plenty of support."
Before Alunah’s first ever Scottish gig, James from Moshville Times spoke to Sophie and Dan backstage at Audio: http://www.moshville.co.uk/interview/2015/02/interview-sophie-and-dan-of-alunah-jan-31st-2015/
"Onto the headliners, Alunah. Having spoken with Sophie and Dan earlier they classified their music as “Heavy melodic with doom elements” or “Sexy Doom” (Sorry guys I had to put it in, it was too funny not to). Opening with a country style track, the band got straight into their element. Having a sound made up of a thick wall of guitars, with the bass grooving and the drums keeping everything together, it was hard not to nod or headbang along to their music. Playing a mix of songs from their third and second albums along with a song from their first, the band made the most of their one hour set with only brief moments of not playing which involved Sophie thanking everyone for being there or introducing the next song. They were clearly enjoying themselves and delivered an awesome set. In short, the night was a bit different to what I’d normally be at. That didn’t stop me from enjoying it and all the bands from delivering good performances with a good stage sound. If you’ve never heard of any of these bands before, I advise you check them out. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see any of them at a festival in the future."
Paul Castles caught up with singer Soph Day and the rest of the band at their recent hometown gig at The Rainbow: http://www.themidlandsrocks.com/interview-with-soph-day-of-alunah-2/
"Anyone not by now familiar with the Midlands’ doom torchbearers Alunah must be living under a rock. Their progress continues ever upwards, having released their third album, on Napalm, four months ago to the day. That was marked with a special debut release show at Scruffys and while not headlining the Rainbow they were clearly the local heroes most people there had turned out to see. Opening with two atmospheric gems from the album in ‘Bricket Wood Coven’ and ‘Heavy Bough’, Alunah brought proceedings down to a sedate pace but without the heaviness being compromised one dot. The extended intro of ‘Heavy Bough’ added a cold chill when it was unnecessary, on a bitterly cold evening. The riff built to a demonic climax before performing a sharp turn and grabbing you by the throat.Singer Soph Day has an emotion-packed voice, but the softness of her delivery is enhanced by the crust of doom that her bandmates layer on top. The majestically mercurial closer ‘White Hoarhound’ is sadder than a roomful of depressives allowing Alunah to depart to a great ovation."
Thanks to Andy at Maximum Volume Music for the kind words about our set at the Worth The Weight all-dayer in Birmingham on 1st February 2015.
"So four months to the day after they played their album launch for “Awakening The Forest,” Alunah are back. Since then they’ve toured their songs across Europe, before making their return to their home crowd. Barely lit throughout to add to the ambience, they begin with “Bricket Wood Coven,” “..Forest’s” lead track and it’s immediately clear that this is very obviously a band that is comfortable both with the songs and together. Dark, smoke-filled, mystical. All things that you could associate with the group, and as lead man Dave Day picks out the opening riff of “Heavy Bough” they are all things that come to mind. Better still is “Scourge Of The Kiss” with its bass groove, playing over singer/guitarist Soph Day’s vocals. The song is an epic sprawling, beautiful thing, building to a fine conclusion. They celebrate the upcoming re-release of the 2007 debut album with “Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn,” which shows even then they had this sound nailed down. With that, we are right slap bang up to date with “Awakening The Forest” the new album’s superb title track. They finish with “White Hoarhound” which performed those duties on the previous release, and it sounds just as good as ever. Birmingham producing some of the best doom metal in Britain? Things are just the same as ever, then."
Read the full review here >>
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