The Yule Lord will bring you "Awakening the Forest" on CD (Yule Lord I) or Vinyl (Yule Lord II), an "Awakening the Forest" t-shirt, a bottle opener, sticker and badge. Offer ends 19/12/14.
Following the release of their third album “Awakening The Forest”, we’ve recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Alunah’s singer Soph Day, the band’s frontwoman and singer!
Rock Overdose: Good evening Soph and congratulations for the release of your third opus, “Awakening The Forest”!
Soph Day: Hi Michael, cheers!
Rock Overdose: You’ve recently returned from a quite extensive tour. How was it and how did it feel experiencing the reaction from the release of the album first hand – amidst your tour?
Soph Day: Overall the tour was great thanks. We visited new countries, played with great bands, experienced ublievable hospitality from the promoters and venues, and met up with new and old friends. It almost didn’t happen due to a van crash on the second day in London, but our van company kindly drove a new van to us to ensure the tour continued. We then experienced more problems whilst driving through the alps, but luckily our guitarist Dave is quite handy with vehicle mechanics. The album was released during our tour so there was a real buzz, and it was great to play places such as Germany on the actual day of release. Some people had the album, some didn’t so there was a mixture of people hearing the songs for the first time and those who already knew the words. The crowds were into it regardless, so yeah it was pretty cool.
Rock Overdose: So, let’s talk a bit about the album… As we said before this is your third release. How would you compare “Awakening The Forest” to your previous two albums?
Soph Day: It’s hard for me to compare them as I know them so well, I would say that our latest album was a lot more considered writing-wise, we spent more time getting the production right, and is perhaps more melancholic and heavier than the other albums. We also have a different bassist on this album, and he has bought a completely new bass sound and style to the album.
Rock Overdose:“Awakening The Forest” is your first album via Napalm Records. How did this signing come about in the first place and how do you feel this deal moves the band forward in musical terms?
Soph Day: We worked with them on the vinyl release of our second album White Hoarhound, and they then approached us about releasing our third album. The label has a great reputation and an impressive roster full of bands that inspired us in the first place, so when they came to us regarding our third album, we were extremely excited. Up until our signing, stoner and doom fans were aware of us but fans of other genres not so, being on Napalm has opened us up to fans of other types of music which is great. Napalm are also great for bouncing ideas off, and we regularly ask their opinion on things, they’re the industry experts so it’s great haven’t access to that knowledge.
Rock Overdose: So, why “Awakening The Forest” Soph? Is there a special meaning behind the album’s title?
Soph Day: Originally it was just going to be a song title, but we liked it so much that we decided to extend it to the album title. It may mean different things to different people, but to me it is about opening your eyes and appreciating the beauty of nature. I had the revelation in a forest shortly after my father died, I realised that I could suddenly die and this would be the last thing of beauty that I saw, and if it was, had I truly appreciated it? When I released that, my senses were awakened and I became a more aware of absolutely everything. I went home and wrote the lyrics for Awakening the Forest.
Rock Overdose: How important is this connection with nature for you and how far does it go when it comes to the lyrical concepts of the tracks from the album Soph? I’m asking because nature always seemed to be a very important aspect in your music.
Soph Day: Yes it’s very important to me, in one way or another nature forms the basis for every song on the album, and almost every song Alunah have ever written. I’m inspired by it’s beauty, it’s ugliness, it’s power, it’s ability to save lives and end them, and it’s ability to lift your spirits and completely crush them. During the writing of this album I lost three close family members, and I spent a lot of time wiht my husband Dave who is also our guitarist, and my dog Olive, wandering in the woods. It allowed me time to think about my family, time to forget my troubles, time to appreciate what I had left and also gave me some physical exercise which is what I needed rather than to lock myself away vegetating.
Rock Overdose: Generally, would you say that this connection goes beyond the music and ever touches you on a personal level Soph?
Soph Day: I think I pretty much answered this in the previous question. I would say that the connection is first and foremost personal, and as a result it gives me inspiration for lyrics.
Rock Overdose: If asked to Soph, what would you say the band really stands for you?
Soph Day: Alunah is more than music for me. It takes me away from the normality of day to day life, it provides a creative channel, it introduces me to new and wonderful people, it takes me to foreign lands where I may not otherwise have visited, and it gives me valuable time with three of my best friends doing what we absolutely love doing.
Rock Overdose: I have to ask you Soph, if I were to judge by what the Alunah is all about and if we take into consideration the legacy of the bands that have come out of Birmingham since the late 60s, is there something in the water of the city then? What was the inspiration behind the formation of the band in the first place?
Soph Day: Haha yeah, I’d say there’s definetly something in the West Midlands’ water. Dave and I met our drummer Jake at one of Dave’s gigs of the band he was in at the time. We had seen Jake and his girlfriend Liv at various gigs in Birmingham, and were always supporting Dave’s band, so Dave told me to go and ask what size shirts they wore so he could say thank you, and I also wanted to tell Liv that I loved her Dozer hoody. I got into a drunken conversation and we ended up arranging a jam session for Dave and Jake. I went along to watch and ended up singing, that is how we got together. So, the inspiration was beer and a mutual love of stoner bands.
Rock Overdose: Your very first album has been long out of print, you did announce you’ll be treating us with a re-release though, right? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Soph Day: Yeah PRC in Canada will be re-releasing it, and it has been announced today that they will also be re-releasing our second album White Hoarhound. They originally contacted us due to them being Alunah fans and hearing about the album selling out, recently White Hoarhound also sold out so they asked to do that as well. They’ve been releasing music for over 20 years, and really know the industry and above all are passionate so we were really happy to do it. Avernus will be released on 7th April 2015, and Hoarhound in the latter part of 2015. Both albums will have official in-store distribution via PRC's partners throughout USA, Canada and Brazil, and limited copies will also be available worldwide from the official Alunah store.
Rock Overdose: The first music video from the album was for the track “Heavy Bough”. Can you tell us a few words about the track itself and the video Soph? I have to say you’ve done a brilliant job on it…
Soph Day: Thanks Michael, we spent a fun weekend at Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire with Rod Thomas who directed it, George Sanderon who was our man of the forest, and Michael Cowell who illustrated our album packaging. The album cover actually inspired the video, so it was important that Mike was there, pluys we filmed a pretty cool artwork video which you can find on YouTube. The song is basically about Yew Trees which sounds a bit shit, but I assure you once you start reading about them, and visiting a few, they’re magificient powerful trees.
Rock Overdose: So, tell us about your future plans now that this leg of the tour is over Soph. What does the future hold for Alunah?
Soph Day: Well we came off tour to some very nice gig offers, one of which sees us getting on a plane to play a festival, so hopefully there will be more of those offers. We’ll be doing those re-releases, and of course writing, writing, writing! We’ve released a new album every two years, and we want that to continue so the work starts now.
Rock Overdose: Thank you so much for the interview Soph! Let’s wrap it up with a message of yours to our readers and the band’s fans!
Soph Day: Thanks Michael, and thank you to all of our Greek fans. Hopefully we can get over there to you guys soon.
Alunah deliver a superior brand of tree-marrying, mushroom-juggling mystic misery from the midst of England’s darkest and most haunted forests. The becloaked Soph Day’s beautiful tones and liquid melodies have won these UK traditional doomers an army of devotees and an opportunity at a big label.
On this, Alunah’s debut with Napalm Records, Day’s unhurried and elegant vocal delivery is strong, inventive and completely captivating. The slow, dense guitars act as a stage for her eloquence, which can turn even a perfunctory Saint Vitus-style riff into a warm and soothing ray of sunshine.
‘Awakening The Forest’ is a natural step forward from 2012’s highly-acclaimed release ‘White Hoarhound’. Natural in that they continue their thematic adherence to the natural world as well as the spirit world, and natural too in the organic feel of the songs’ composition.
Tracks such as the immense, rumbling ‘Heavy Bough’ soar to great heights, their unabashed simplicity adorned with sweet vocal decoration and satisfyingly gigantic choruses. And while some songs do rely heavily on Day’s vocal input, there are also killer stoner riffs that stand up for themselves and build into a hugely consistent and satisfying album.
‘Awakening The Forest’ is more mature and more memorable than Alunah’s previous work. It is an album of accomplished, blossoming songwriting and meaty doom metal hooks.
The languid guitars intertwine like the roots of an ancient elm and the supremely tight rhythm section pounds and groans like the heartbeat of a forest. And while the band joyfully drive their steamroller through the woods and glades of their homeland, there is also a faint echo from an American desert as the gentle influence of Kyuss drifts through to underpin their hypnotising groove.
‘Awakening The Forest’ brings together psychedelic, stoner and traditional doom metal in an effortless and winning style. It’s a well-constructed and expertly produced album that places Alunah at the forefront of British doom. 8/10
In my book, there are two kinds of doom. There’s the long, drawn out, over-the-top doom that just makes me want to sleep, and then there’s bands like Alunah. Fusing Sabbath-style riffage with catchy hooks and almost-pop structures drawn out over typically 6- to 8-minute songs, Alunah’s Awakening The Forest is everything I like about riffy doom. Female vocals in metal are a really divisive element. In my opinion, a lot of bands are happy to settle with cliché, predictable melodies, usually over just a bassline before breaking into a big melodic chorus. Alunah have no such issues. Soph Day’s beautifully haunting tones ring out across the classically crushing doom, creating the sensation of floating through a dark forest, surrounded by mother nature’s dark beauty.
The album has a very classic sounding production which isn’t generally my kind of thing, but on reflection, the record hasn’t been made to be in your face, it’s definitely a more atmospheric listen. Single ‘Heavy Bough’ is probably the weakest track, a bit too much Black Sabbath worship in places for me, and yet still had me singing along with the chorus. What follows is the title track, one of the best examples of modern doom around with easily the best chorus I’ve heard in months. ‘Scourge And The Kiss’ has a subtle, laid-back groove that builds to a crushing outro riff, another example of Alunah’s masterful use of texture on the album. Alunah have outdone themselves with this record and it brings with it the promise of a long career writing slow songs for people that like drugs… in the best possible way.
But to be frank and to adopt a decidedly gonzo style, I would not move me that night if it had not been for Alunah: Briton quartet is one of my most recent discoveries and certainly among the most significant 2014, when the year draws. Having been listening to their third album "Awakening the Forest" before its release (chronic here) and me being gradually left subjugate by tellurian and graceful doom, I wanted to see Alunah on stage - and, if possible, to exchange a few words with Sophie Day, singer and guitarist. Indeed, if the presence of an ethereal female voice is singular in itself, for a group like this, it was necessary to check if the parts on precious and ambitious balance maintained throughout "Awakening the Forest" passed the proof available.
"The Heavy Bough," the first single from the new album, opens the set. Unquestionably a particular atmosphere settles: the public or slam or even headbang strictly speaking, but a small ocean of heads that move slowly but fully in cadence, the rhythm of heavy and greasy riffs like a humus forest after the rain fall, issued by Alunah. Sophie's voice is fair and accurate. "Brick Wood Coven" follows and it's an even darker path where you sink, under a sky that seems to unleash angry storm, mid song. Apparently receptive to these innovations, in harmony, although the audience, eyes closed, went on a trip in their heads. The next song is perhaps the most paradoxical of "Awakening the Forest": "Scourge and the Kiss" seems to look a long time to unfold in an orgy of riffs and a solo, true pinnacle leading the abyss. A plague, the kiss, and death?
"White Hoarhound" from the album of the same name (2012), then just witness the evolution of Alunah to a form of progressive heavy, but mostly Parisian delight fans of the group who have not missed that date nothing in the world suddenly familiar territory, part of the Divan racing frankly, even if the music of English Birmingham is certainly too dreamy to generate real madness. "Awakening the Forest", the song closes a set of forty minutes, slightly frustrating, as a foretaste of a date expected to Alunah, headlining this time, with perhaps his best work that will allow musicians to push their knobs to bottom without losing definition (the only criticism that it is possible to issue, on the evening).
Original French Version: http://www.hardforce.fr/actu/9345/alunah-paris-le-divan-du-monde-03-10-2014-
A shrill sound like a distant light in the dark, which is always bright and flash now opened the third album of the Doommetaller from Birmingham.
Then the sound carpet is rolled out, leading with "Bricket Wood coven" .to a goal. Powerful and sometimes a little scary to drive you Dave Day (guitar), Dan Burchmore (bass), Jake Mason (drums), until this "golden door". You verspürst the urge to open it, but at the moment where you would like to learn what's behind it, a voice will sound that makes you hesitate. Soph Day (vocals, guitar), the frontwoman of Alunah manages to give a rollercoaster of emotions with your voice you. Although it is often painful, and pleading sounds creates it to win with the first note you your confidence by the hand, and you can not now go. Together you'll open in another world with Alunah this "brick wood" from heavy gate.
Threatening darkness buzzing around you and with "Heavy Bough" drill the 4 from Birmingham a really thick board. The "heavy road" is the only connection to the other side about the mystical Doomfluß. Even if the Solis describe the second title the seething Unknown under you, you have the path alone dare to open on the other side another massive wooden door. Now here you years of accession together with Soph the forest.
The black is gray and the environment immersed in a mystical green. Now it is up to you to awaken together with the creatures of the forest this area to life. Again, give Dan, Dave and Jake at this time to weave your best a tapestry of sound that still sounds in "awakening the forest" gloomy, but is becoming more familiar and almost siren-like interpretation of the title can feel you like the forest in front of your "mind's eye" awakened. In "The mask of herne" Soph describes impressive as the guardian of the old park was his time being chased by the hunters and revived by Alchemy. The essence with the mighty antlers and the red coat was born.
With "Sourge and the kiss" it is then also the mystical dark finals of the silver disc. The "Black Priestess" symbolizes the power of the new. Musically you can bring the opposites of the title barely over better. The interplay between guitar and bass, which then merges. And when Soph tries with soothing but always certain voice against this musical tackle "violence", also bass guitar and settle down at the end again! BRILLIANT.
"The Summerland" comes to us then quite different in the ears and the brain. Quiet start and a surprising Soph in a pleading voice of an angel fliest you directly under the skin and in your conscience! "When I go over the meat and the bones of the earth, I will look into the sun ... the battle is won."
"Awakening the forest" Is a Doomalbum the class. Alunahs sound like a big black bird of the sun appears to us darkened and looks down on us and proclaimed the downfall. Only now and you can actually see the sun. The pefekte use of instruments with the multi-faceted voice of Soph geparrt, take with you in the apocalypse of our planet. But be careful, if you once you willing to contend with 4 out of Birmingham you do not let yourself go. I would like to compare this album with classical Impressionists such as Mussorski and Ravel. In her rather brutal, gloomy genre it Alunah create the content of this album concerns pefekt to paint musical pictures that bring the listener on a roller coaster of emotions. Interestingly, the open end for me. We ourselves have it what happens in hand with our planet. We sharpen our feelings again for the essential in life.
Conclusion: The Doomgemeinde has found your Queen. Soph Day and your colleagues were of Napalm Records sent into the arena to the scene to vigorously mix on top and play with.
Original German Version: http://www.nigrum-est-bonum.de/NEB-das-Magazin/CD-Tip
For me, as in Friedrichshain Berlin grew up, who knew the Jagerklause as gastronomy temple, the feasibility of a concert did not really erschhließen here. But I should be a better belert.
The location: appealing ambiance with a hall, billiard room, bar and an urban beer garden with BBQ kitchen. Outside, there were fresh burgers and drinks. The hall has good acoustics and serves exactly the audience about 200 +/- people (estimate), which are always less in Berlin. So I learned from the organizers dads this concert will be the last. Because the rest inclined residents of the communities so his beloved dead silence, as so often in the metropolis prevailed here. Pity!
The Concert: The Friends of Napalm Records advised me to see Alunah. Well, already during the sound check by Brain Police, I realized that the stage lighting was not necessarily suitable photo again today. So we asked our colleagues at Lichpult but for the first title of both bands may be a little more light to cast on stage. Despite promise, the young man has probably forgotten in the excitement, well, never mind. The second gig hats then works, too bad only because Alunah made the beginning. Regardless few images are yes but then come out yet. The hall was filled and after the sound check of Brain Police then entered the Birmingham 4 of the location by the main entrance.
Fix the transporter was dispelled the instruments brought to the stage the Schlagzeugkid unfolds, wired and then soundcheck. Short break for a drink and already went off. Respect. From the tour bus to the stage. The Tour stress was Dave Day (guitar), Dan Burchmore (bass), Jake Mason (drums) and Soph Day (guitar, vocals) of Alunah not noted. And then I saw my black Doomwunder. I've seen many huge gigs, whether the Power of Metal Sabaton and Powerwolf or powerful femal fronted metal by Xandria or Arkona was, but that was what was going on here, a very different, but not bad experience for me.
There were three young musicians from the Birmingham brought everything out of your instruments which went. The perfection of your Könnes elicited bass, guitar and drums a whole which takes possession of your body. As a dark current crept through the hall of the mystic, spherical, epic and brutal came over. Nevertheless, this listening experience was very pleasant and bittersweet for me. And then you began, Soph Day presents with your multi-faceted voice and her guitar against the wobbly Doomfluß your bandmates. Time your voice is pleading, sometimes warning, sometimes like angels. Who listens closely, notes that the vocals are beyond the pull of instruments to try and work out elsewhere in this or seems to float above the band.
In short, Alunah bring the audience with the first note on the edge of the stage from, and can not get rid of the listener. So fans and band part of beautiful dark pictures will paint the four musicians on stage akusstisch. Alunah presented with your new album "Awakening the Forest" is a concept that goes deeper than the 4 anyway does the perfect Doom. The complete CD - review can be found HERE!
Conclusion: The Doomszene has a queen and if Alunah stands for Doom, then here comes the soundtrack to the "downfall". Who has the courage to immerse themselves in the Birminghamern and kidnap musical, is coming their money at a Alunahkonzert.
Original German Version: http://www.nigrum-est-bonum.de/NEB-das-Magazin/LivErlebt
Live Photos >>
The doom/stoner rock genre – heavily influenced by the hippy few that came up with ponderous snoring and echoing guitar sounds in the sixties and seventies – has made a ravishing comeback in recent years, with the Dutch Roadburn festival as yearly occult high mass. Napalm Records also signs bands of that ilk continually. They present us now Alunah, a quartet hailing from Birmingham (where Black Sabbath was born) with their third studio album ‘Awakening The Forest’. The wood ghosts have done their work properly; the six lengthy compositions are true ear candy. By the way, they entered the studio with Esoteric guru Greg Chandler. This assures us of a not too marshy, yet heavy as molten lead sound.
Earlier this quartet – with married couple Sophie and David Day in their ranks – drew some attention with ‘Call Of Avernus’ (2010) and ‘White Hoarhound’ (2012). They shared the stage with bands such as The Sword, High On Fire, Orange Goblin and The Wounded Kings. Due to female vocals they hold the means between the latter one and Avatarium, but in the end Alunah (founded in 2006 and until 2008 called Aluna) can be labelled as traditional doom metal with bluesy overtones.
The slightly psychedelic aureole, the relaxed, nearly sultry vocals of Sophie and the slow pace prevail in all of the songs, but the true charm of Alunah is that they regale their compositions – varying from six till nine minutes long – with sophisticated twists and turns and intermezzos that draw your attention. Bas intermezzos with interaction of drums, vibrating soloing that really come from the heart and the art of working towards climaxes are moments that you realize that Alunah has more than average talents. This is completely utilized all the time, that’s why ‘Awakening The Forest’ turns into a delicious listening experience from start to finish. No dull monotony with these tree surgeons (according to the title), only an empyrean slowing down from hectic life on the sounds of their captivating music. This hovercraft experience through doom land can be highly recommended!
With their third album, Awakening The Forest out at the start of October and a European tour recently drawn to a close, Soph – lead singer and guitarist of Alunah – kindly took some time out to answer a few questions for us.
Alunah are on the cusp of re-releasing their first two albums (as Soph does mention towards the end of the interview) and you can get more details about that on the band’s own web site.
Many thanks to Andy at Napalm for organising things, and obviously to Soph herself for her time.
Three albums in and still a “new” band, only formed in 2006. Tell us a little about where you all came from to find yourselves working together as Alunah.
Yeah I suppose we are still quite new compared to some bands. Dave and I have known each other for years and we used to write and play music together. His old band were playing a gig in Birmingham, and we met our drummer Jake at the gig. We had seen Jake and his girlfriend Liv at various gigs, and were always there supporting Dave’s band. I drunkenly went over to them for a chat and we ended up arranging a jam session for Dave and Jake. I went along to watch and ended up singing.
The usual label the band is given is “stoner” metal, but you yourselves prefer to be less specific – psych, traditional metal, doom… what sort of influences have you had which have led to this mixture of sounds?
We listen to a wide range of music, and I don’t personally confine myself to being a fan of any particular genre. I’m personally influenced by anyone from The Doors, Big Brother and The Holding Company, BB King and Led Zeppelin to Ahab, Jex Thoth, Rose Kemp and Hexvessel.
Whatever pigeonhole you put the band in, female vocals in any of these genres are not as common as in others (symphonic in particular). Does having yourself as lead singer influence the way the music is written at all?
I write all of the vocal melodies, can cover between 3 and 4 octaves, and can hit both really high and really low notes. So I don’t feel that changes have to be made in order to accommodate my vocals; the riffs come first anyway, so I actually write the vocal melodies around the riffs.
Your track lengths are, on average, a little longer than the traditional average. Do you set out to write longer songs or do they just suit the mood and pace of each piece?
Both really, long songs do suit the nature of our music but we also like long songs. It sounds a bit wanky, but I think of each song as a journey, we want people to close their eyes and get lost in it. Our song writing is quite considered, and we always think about the structure of a song, rather than freely jamming it out. Of course, we¹ll jam things out occasionally, but we always like to have an idea of where it’s going. Sometimes we’ll have a song that comes in at 4 minutes, and we may feel that’s too short, so we’ll think about the structure some more and add new sections. We spend months writing one song, and most of our tracks have been re-written 2 or 3 times due to us being our own worst critics. It¹s great having a 16 track album, but the danger is that half of those tracks will be fillers and people will get bored.
Do you find it more challenging to learn these longer songs for live performances?
Not really, we practice a lot and we never go a week without having at least one big practice, regardless of whether we have a gig or not. I’m actually better at learning the longer songs, as I can break them down better in my mind.
How much of the lyrical themes come from your own personal interests? Are you guys particularly into the mythical scene outside of Alunah?
I write all of the lyrics, so anything I sing about is as a result of my own personal interest in it. Nature has always been my biggest inspiration, but I also sing about English pagan history and folk stories on the new album. In the past I have sung about paganism and Wicca in general, as well as general myth and magic. It all interests me, but I have written more of a personal album this time due to me losing three close members of my family whilst writing it.
Three albums in five years – how do you feel your sound has evolved since Call of Avernus?
I still love Call of Avernus as it achieved a personal goal for me, to release an album; I never thought I’d have released three. However, there’s no denying that our sound has evolved since then. We have each improved our playing and singing styles, we think more about the equipment we use and the quality of our production. We also have a different bass player on this album, and he has bought a completely different bass sound and style to Alunah. A combination of all this has changed our sound considerably.
You’ve shared the stage with some very well-known names in recent years. Could you pick a favourite? Or one which made you stand there and think “I cannot believe we’re here…”?
We’ve played with and been humbled by some great bands such as Trouble, Paradise Lost, High on Fire, Saint Vitus, Fu Manchu and Spirit Caravan, and all of them were lovely people. However, bands such as Jex Thoth and Mars Red Sky, who may not be as well known as those guys, were some of the nicest bands we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and playing with. I think our gig at DesertFest Berlin 2013 was a “I cannot believe we’re here…” moment, it was our first time in Germany, second ever gig outside of England, we had a huge crowd who knew all of the words to White Hoarhound, and I kept thinking about the 2006 Sophie whose only ambition was to release an album.
Your live reviews are very positive. How would you describe your show?
It’s pretty basic really, no bells and whistles, we just get up there and aim to put on the best gig we can for people. No gimmicks, it’s just about the music.
With the album just out, what are your plans? You’ve just had a quick jaunt around Europe and I spot the one date confirmed for early next year. Anything else you want to leak?
Yeah, we’ve just spent two weeks in Europe, and came back to some great gig offers which have now been confirmed. One of which is an overseas festival, however we can’t announce what it is yet. Our plan for next year is more touring, a re-release of our previous two albums on PRC Music, and writing for our fourth album.
Terrorizer Magazine and Napalm Records have teamed up to stream our album. It will be available for a limited time, so go and have a listen!
"The songs are more well crafted, the melodies are more evocative, the riffs are even heavier and vocalist Sophie Day sounds stronger than ever"
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