"A young band hits it big behind the success of a strong debut album. Suddenly, engulfed in praise and playing to bigger audiences, they think they have it all figured out. They write their next album with swagger and release it with confidence; but something isn’t right. The music isn’t the same, and the second album can’t replicate whatever it was that made the first one so good. It is called the sophomore slump, and it happens all the time--after a burst of initial success, a band gets complacent; the songwriting becomes lazy, the riffs lose their edge, and the music seems less inspired.
Stoner/Doom act ALUNAH’s second release, “White Hoarhound,” finds the band turning the sophomore slump on its head and hurdling it entirely. ALUNAH don’t seem to be content with just staying good--they want to be great. And they’re getting damn close. It’s plain as day that the band is devoted to improving their sound after every release and this effort is clear because it translates directly into a better listening experience. It’s a sophomore success, so to speak.
When talking about this record, the logical starting place is the vocals. They are unique not only because they are female, but also because they are stunningly good. Soph Day’s voice is earthy and hypnotic, much like the music itself, and blends wonderfully with everything else happening on the album. I’m not sure whether Day was in charge of writing her own vocal melodies, but they are very well constructed and often drive the song forward more than any other instrument. I would actually compare her performance on “White Hoarhound” to that of a pop singer (a complement, by the way), in that the vocal lines are quite capable of solely carrying every song, although it’s never necessary given the strong instrumentation and songwriting found throughout the album.
Now I’m no expert on female-fronted Metal bands, so I can’t say this decisively. But as of right now, I consider Soph Day to be the best female vocalist in Metal, and it will likely stay that way until I find someone better. I’m not holding my breath.
“White Hoarhound” marks ALUNAH’s third straight strong release (two full lengths and an EP), and it’s decidedly their best yet. In a few short years the band has risen the ranks to become one of the more intriguing active Doom acts to come out of England. If you didn’t have them on your list of music to check out, do yourself a favor and put them near the top."