Birmingham based Doom/Stoner quartet ALUNAH proved to be a sturdy choice to co-headline the Dooms day at The Firehouse; their stage presence was incredibly enchanting from the word go and their music was remarkably charming, with these two aspects within their show it’s no wonder they are slowly growing a fan base. Their sound provided The Firehouse with heart-pounding beats, riffs and solos fused incredibly with Soph Day’s captivating, relaxing vocal work; this provided an extremely psychedelic, brutal and chilled environment. The perfect ambience for the Doom Metal head.
There were relatively few people in the audience for tonight’s gig and while I felt quite sorry for the support bands, a few bars into Alunah’s first track, ‘White Hoarhound’, I no longer cared, such is the transcendent magic of their live performances.
Tonight’s set list took songs from all three of their albums, which made me reflect on how they’ve progressed as a live band. I first saw Alunah back in 2009, when they were very passionate and had great songs, but were still quite raw and not too experienced in the ways of stagecraft. Tonight was a perfect example of four musicians clearly enjoying what they do and doing it exceptionally well, but the resulting performance was even greater than the sum of their parts. They were incredibly tight (in particular ‘Belial’s Fjord’ has never sounded better or doomier), and they seemed relaxed and happy to banter amongst themselves and with the audience.
Their set list tonight included a cover of ‘A Forest’ by The Cure, which got a great reaction from the crowd. The highlights of tonight’s show for me were ‘Bricket Wood Coven’ thanks to its uplifting chorus, and the encore, ‘Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’ from their underrated first album.
All of the bands that played tonight deserved a bigger crowd, but I hope that those of us who were there made up for the lack of numbers by the power of our enthusiasm. This was a perfect gig – intimate, friendly, loud and heavy.
Alunah (13/13) with their intoxicating and creative mixture of doom and blues are making their debut at Bloodstock on the Sophie stage, and immediately demonstrate how well suited their powerful musicality and sound is to a bigger stage. It sounds fantastic from out in the audience, and guitarist Dave Day's first solo is full of the most incredible melody and atmospheric sustain. Bricket Wood Coven is another highlight with its great jazz like drum fills and the beautifully executed bass coda to the song, that is greeted with spontaneous cheers from the audience, and closes with another jaw dropping melodic guitar solo from Dave. Highlight of this great set is undoubtedly Sophie Day's mesmerising vocals on Scourge and the Kiss,, where during a gentle section in the song, with her head tilted slightly towards the microphone, she is communicating every word with pure and very moving emotion. When we interviewed Sophie prior to their set, she disarmingly said ‘I hope we get a crowd after all of this… I’m hoping it rains so everyone comes to shelter …’. It is no surprise to Room Thirteen that Bloodstock took Alunah to their hearts, and the audience loved their stunning set. A triumphant debut!
Taking shelter from the scorchio sunshine at Bloodstock Open Air 2015, we find ourselves in the Sophie tent for some doom on a grand scale from Alunah. To be honest we were expecting them to be good but not quite this good. The doomey bass lines and sheer weight were there but the icing on the leaden cake was undoubtedly Soph Day’s vocals which give Alunah an extra dimension over most of their contemporaries in the crowded UK Doom scene.
We really liked the last Alunah album, and if you’re looking for a Sophie Stage highlight for the entire weekend, then the sublime live version of Bricket Wood Coven will take some beating.
Whilst the gods of stoner rock might have just rocked the foundations of the main stage, the tree folk of Alunah were just beginning their own take on the genre on the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Having released their latest album Awaken The Forest the band performed various different cuts from the album along with the more classic material, each receiving just as uproarious approval than the last. With front woman, Soph Day having an enormous personality to match that of the crushing riffs bestowed upon the unsuspecting Bloodstock crowd today. An excellent foreshadowing of things to come from the band, particularly with their tour later this year.
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.
Printed reviews, features and adverts from magazines as we have them.
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.
Thanks to Ryan Lee Spearman for writing this SECOND "Awakening the Forest" review for Metal Mouth:
Bearing the weight of the phenomenal ‘White Hoarhound’ on their shoulders, Alunah have a lot to live up to in ‘Awakening The Forest’. Hailing from Birmingham, a city known for spewing out it’s own fair share of doom, more notably, a little up and coming doom band by the name of Black Sabbath. Jokes aside, Alunah are fast becoming an ever shining diamond in the rough,and if their previous album is anything to go by, this promises to be quite the gloomy affair. Expect huge riffs.
From the first chords of ‘Bricket Wood Coven’, you’re reminded of that rich warm tone that made people fall for this band in the first place, as well as the hypnotizing vocals of Soph Day, who is like a siren drawing sailors to their untimely demise. But instead of jagged rocks, these hardy men (and lady) of the sea have slow, stoner like grooves to smash their faces against. It’s pretty clear that Alunah are maintaining the same level as their previous album which a very high level indeed.
‘Heavy Bough’ is where the riffs begin. Very heavy on the fuzz, it’s like they’re straight out of the 1970s complete with all the dodgy mustaches a guy could ask for. The music is in no rush to get anywhere, it’s like a leisurely stroll through a dark forest, and spending your time time feeding deer and picking mushrooms, very rewarding in its own way. The slow pace at which ATF pulls its self along continues through that hypothetical forest is relentless, and although it moves, it trundles along like a sloth yet its presence is gargantuan. Much like a horde of ents, on their way to Isangard to confront Saruman.
As the album progresses, the measuring stick set by White Hoarhound is smashed into a million pieces. It’s a shame that some of the atmosphere from the previous effort is gone, but the musicianship and songwriting in its place makes up for it to say the least. The sound is monumentally cleaner, and gives the band a slick, dazzling veneer that we’ve not seen before, especially on Soph’s vocals and the solos. It’s an obvious step up to what the band were previously, I’m not saying they were bad before, far from it. It’s just that now they’ve hit a higher plateau that puts them amongst the finest in UK doom.
There’s a real intent from Alunah in this album, they’re obviously ready to take that massive leap forward, and Awakening The Forest insures that they stay there. It’s astonishing how far of a progression it is in terms of sheer quality, and like I said before, they belong amongst the best and the brightest, in mean, umm, gloomiest bands of the genre.
With bands like Cathedral and Orange Goblin flying the flag for UK doom, the Birmingham 4 piece are mere footsteps behind, if not, on par with quality, they just lack the years of touring and building the name. You can rest assured that they’ll get there in the end though, especially with albums like this.
Already a massive fan of Alunah, I was already aware of the brilliance that was White Hoarhound, and to say they smashed it this time around with this release is somewhat of an understatement.
Read our FIRST Metal Mouth review by Gary Trueman here: http://metalmouth.net/2014/09/alunah-awakening-the-forest/
Brum doom metal with a difference as Alunah make major label debut
It’s probably three and a half years since MVM walked into Birmingham’s tiny upstairs at the Asylum venue to watch the extremely mighty Stone Axe. One of the support bands were just setting up.
A few minutes later the group got onstage, played a funereal doom riff and the singer added her take over the top. They were good, and everyone knew it.
In the intervening time, if you’ve seen a doom or stoner gig in Birmingham and beyond then you’ve seen Alunah too. These men – and lady – have paid their dues and then some.
The hard work had paid off for them and album number three “Awakening The Forest” is appearing on Napalm Records, with an attendant European tour to coincide, the only question remaining is whether they could produce something that showcased their sound as well as you would hope: the answer is absolutely unequivocal but we’ll get there in due course.
The spectre of the great Birmingham band who essentially invented this sound is never far away from “…..Forest,” which, although only six tracks clocks in at nearly an hour. The air is dense and thick, the atmosphere almost oppressive, right from the moment “Bricket Wood Coven” builds it’s way slowly and deliberately and tells it’s tale of a shadowy woman.
If anything “Heavy Bough” , which follows, takes things up a notch, adding more groove and a mighty riff from guitarist Dave Day, while the title track is a frankly enormous affair, with the vocals from Soph Day, who writes most of these mystical lyrics, taking on a discordant quality as they worm their way through the verse.
“The Mask Of Herne” is arguably the heaviest thing on offer here, almost pounding through what – for this record anyway – is a short and jaunty six minutes, while the rhythm section of new bass player Dan Burchmore and Jake Mason on Drums, is all over “The Scourge And The Kiss,” and the track is one of the one of the albums highlights. Lord knows what it’s about, and given that one of its lines is “the ritual is passed around,” you are probably best not asking, but it is quite superb.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about “…..Forest” is that there is so much light and shade here – and that’s not easy in doom metal. Closing track “Summerland” begins in an almost quiet, understated fashion, but builds into a fine crescendo. As it does, it showcases a band that will not just be constrained to one thing, to one style and these fresh ideas are really evident here.
“Awakening The Forest” is an album Alunah can be extremely proud of. It will be tagged as Doom Metal, but actually it has so much more than that to enjoy.
So have they showcased their sound in the way that everyone who saw them live hoped they would? You bet! Surely it’s not just the forest that will know Alunah are around.
Back in 2012 I had the great honour of reviewing Alunah's excellent second album, 'White Hoarhound'. So, it was a no-brainer to accept the offer of writing about their new wax, 'Awakening The Forest'. Before I continue, two rather significant changes have occured for the band since last time that needs to be mentioned. First off, bass player Gaz Imber has been replaced by Dan Burchmore and secondly, Alunah are now signed to Napalm Records after the sad demise of psycheDOOMelic Records. Now, please join me as I attempt to give an amazing album by a great band the credit they deserve.
Having always focused on nature and the mysteries that the old mother emanates, Alunah has also brought in other inspirations. This time around though, the band has really embraced Mother Nature and steered their creative forces towards her. Tales of withcraft and magic are still present which is only natural since especially witchcraft has strong ties with nature.
Slow, captivating, spellbinding and hypnotic, 'Bricket Wood Coven' opens up the proceedings and I am immediately hooked. Beautiful and mesmerizing it is clear that Alunah have found their way, or path, and they keep pushing the limits. Starting off almost Candlemass-sounding, 'Heavy Bough' quickly changes to some nice Sabbath inspired playing. Of course, once Sophie starts to sing her etheral voice alters the texture of the song as I feel the ancient forces of nature envelop me. The title track follows next and begins in a very hypnotic way, pulling me deep into the song. Once I'm fully devoured by it, 'Awakening The Forest' works it's magic and I see the true beauty of a forest waking up from a winter's sleep.
Heavy on fuzz pedal riffs 'The Mask Of Herne' is a beast. The contrasts of slow heavy doom against Sophie's dreamy yet commanding voice plays a huge part in Alunah creating their own sound. It's no more apparent on this song and while it, as well as the other songs, starts out a certain way, the band always change them up only to return to the beginning. Cyclical is probably the best word for it and Alunah has mastered this excellently. 'Scourge And The Kiss' is the most "proper" doom song on the album. Slightly faster than the others for the most part, it's more erie and foreboding in typical doom fashion. The guitar interplay between Sophie and David is amazing, not that it's ever bad, but here they really excel. Beautiful! All great things have to come to end and 'Awakening The Forest' is unfortunately not exempt from this. However, when you end an album with a song like 'The Summerland' everything is forgiven. While the theme of the song is still within the sphere of nature, the structure of it is different. Dreamy, soaring, meditative and progressive (almost) in approach, it is the perfect way to end a fantastic album.
What can I say? Alunah is one of England's best bands and although it's been a long wait - well, two years can be a long time for a fan and everything is relative - for 'Awakening The Forest' to be released, they are now dead set for greatness and the exposure they truly deserve. They have a true gem in their hands and the sky is the limit for them. So, do yourself the favour and the band as well and get your hands on this amazing wax!
Another seminal doom metal album and another memorable record fronted by an exceptionally talented female singer. Just as Witch Mountain (see above) must be mourning the loss of Uta Plotkin, members of Alunah must be praying Sophie Day is here to stay.
The charismatic, eerie, foreboding vocalist is the big draw where this quintessentially British band is concerned. Pitching every note perfectly, Day envelopes the listener in a stifling atmosphere of bleak brilliance.
The title track marries a haunting vocal tone with trad metal lead guitar and scuzzed up riffs spawned to blow the biggest speaker stacks this side of a Spinal Tap arena show.
When doom is delivered with such aural dexterity it offers wild hope rather than instilling a deep fear. And on this evidence Alunah, three albums into an incredibly exciting career, can be the standard bearers for a genre in rude health. SR
RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Awakening The Belief
Hailing from Birmingham in England comes Alunah, a psychedelic doom band who unsurprisingly are influenced by the mighty Black Sabbath, yet have their own magical identity woven out’ve paganism, nature and the earthy hypnotic vocal melodies courtesy of Sophie Day. Despite being melancholic and singing about dark themes, the overall feel of Alunah’s material is anything but depressive, instead proceeding along the lines of the cleaner, groovier sound of that other West Midlands band, Cathedral. More importantly, Alunah have a very English identity, right from the title of the opening number ‘Bricket Wood Coven’ right down to the lyrical content covering the mythology of the Green Man as well as the very real English Yew tree. Whilst David Day’s matching guitar creates a thick, fuzz toned groove canopy reminiscent of early Kyuss with Dan Burchmore’s bass adding even more smog, the riffs are surprisingly uplifting and move along with tempo albeit during the trippy, quiet passages when Jake Mason’s drums are very often the only prominent sound in the mix on songs like ‘The Mask Of Herne‘ and ‘Scourge And The Kiss’. However, it’s Sophie Day’s hippy vocals that truly captivate throughout this 3rd mystical album, enchanting and certainly never forgotten long after the last song finished in my mind, they are both angelic and innocent in delivering tales of death, life and re-birth. Having now played alongside international artists such as Saint Vitus, Trouble, Paradise Lost, High on Fire, and The Sword at prestigious festivals such as DesertFest (Berlin and London), Heavy Days in Doom Town (Copenhagen) and Hard Rock Hell (North Wales), Alunah stand poised to bring visions of the rolling English countryside further afield on this arousing and alluring album.
Coming from Birmingham (that’s England, not Alabama), for many the spiritual birthplace of heavy metal as the city that spawned Black Sabbath, Alunah are a band that has a long and dark musical heritage to live up to. Now, whilst undoubtedly the band take influence from the slower, doom laden pieces of their legendary predecessors, lyrically Alunah have delved into neo-pagan mythology to produce this, their third full length album ‘Awakening the Forest’.
‘Bricket Wood Coven’ in true doom style opens with drawn out low end guitar distortion, merging with a fuzzy bass and crawling drum beat to form a wall of dark riffs. This sludgy wall of sound provides a dark counterpoint to Soph Day’s clear vocals of latter day magic and mysticism. ‘Heavy Bough’ follows with the lead guitar’s amp set firmly to Volume IV, but with Ms Day occasionally playing in the higher register of her range, lending a lighter note to a track that with gruff male vocals could easily lose any individuality when stacked up against other doom acts. Layering those same vocals gives title track ‘Awakening the Forest’ a near ethereal feeling, as does the sometimes lighter guitar work, dual guitar harmonies mixing with the pounding riffs during its near eight minute length.
‘The Mask of Herne’ plunders Celtic mythology for its lyrical theme, whilst musically there is more than a nod to Electric Wizard in the guitar distortion, whilst ‘Scourge And The Kiss’ has a bass line that rumbles with a powerful menace that builds up the atmosphere of dark ritual magic. The band then leave the best to last with ‘The Summerland’ a nine minute plus work that starts with light, almost prog pastoral playing before the gentle ethereal vocals join in, the whole track meandering almost blissfully along to its conclusion via guitar solos that owe as much to Snowy White’s ‘Bird of Paradise’ as to Tony Iommi’s ‘Iron Man.’
What sets Alunah apart from many other acts in the Stoner-Doom genre is without a doubt the strong vocals of Soph Day, her sometimes light, sometimes deep, but always clear delivery being a stark contrast to the sometimes guttural singing of many male vocalists in the genre, and knowing that, the band play to that, making sure it is never overpowered by their strong musicianship. After the high benchmark that Alunah set themselves with their 2012 release ‘White Hoarhound’, anything but a strong follow up would have disappointed the listener. ‘Awakening the Forest’ does not disappoint.
Doom Metal is a sub-genre full of bands who see the first four Black Sabbath albums as the holy grail of music with the sound that they want to emulate or improve upon.
Most of these bands hail from places a long way from the grimy industrial birthplace of Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill so it is nice to come across a band in the genre who are actually from the West Midlands of England and close to the roots that inspired a legendary band.
While they are clearly musically linked to all things doom Metal, Alunah have taken the sensible step of stretching out their sound to include other influences. They have the slightly underproduced sound, slow dense heavy guitar riffs and tendencies to stretch songs out to six minutes plus wherever possible that you might expect to find but there is a lot more besides.
The starting point is of course having a female singer and Soph Day's hauntingly understated melodies give the songs a different vibe, adding a kind of folky, psychedelic edge somehow. The way the vocals are slightly buried in the mix further encourages a kind of 70s hippy vibe.
When guitarist Dave Day isn't churning out huge slabs of dense riffs he has a surprisingly light touch, playing some beautiful melodic passages and solos. I feel a lot of blues in the songs, especially when they stretch things out a bit and sound like they are jamming 70s style.
The songs themselves have titles like 'Bricket Wood Coven' and 'The Mask Of Herne' and all sound suitably mystical and atmospheric but overall they are swamped by the vibe. This doesn't mean the songs are bad, merely that there is no outstanding combination of riffs and lyrics al la 'War Pigs' or 'Children Of The Grave' to stick in your mind.
Doom Metal when it is done correctly can sound amazing and on this, their third full length release Alunah have shown that they can take the original premise and add other elements to it creating a sound that is a throwback to the 70s. It is so authentic and unusual now that it should appeal to those who love and doom Metal and perhaps could appeal to many who usually don't.
It's a shame given their roots that looking at their tour in support of the album release there are many more dates in Europe than in the UK suggesting that there is more of a market for them abroad. I'm sure they'd be fascinating to experience live but meantime this album is worth a listen especially if you have an open mind and retro tendencies.
3.5 / 5
Hailing from the UK, this English doom metal quartet released their wall of sound guitars and heavy groove oriented cadence on its’ third album, AWAKENING THE FOREST, via Napalm Records.
Upon first listen to BRICKET WOOD COVEN, the albums first track, I imagined myself in the deep forest staring up at the imperial night sky indulging in some northern lights bliss. The sheer density of Dave Days’ guitar tone, which sounds like he’s using the legendary guitar amp Green by Matamp, and the deep blues groove behind it is reminiscent of late 70’s rock and the modern doom/stoner rock sound. Not that this sound is necessarily unique but the deadpan, Lori S. (Acid King), style vocal of Sophie Day brings a sombre calm to the music.
THE MASK OF HERNE is where I think the album breaks up from the monotony of your typical stoner rock jam. AWAKENING THE FOREST is dark as is but this track brings an element of Type O Negative into the picture with hypnotic, dark, head-bobbing riffs. ALUNAH saved the best for last with the closer, THE SUMMERLAND. The band incorporates an atmospheric instrumental intro and slowly builds into the climax, which consists of a heavy as the gates of hell opening up riff, full on doom ending.
There are definite times on the album where the pace of the songs seem to blend together leaving the listener a bit restless. The guitar tone alone though, for those of us who love that full on saturated, doom, heavy as piss sound, is worthy of giving this album a listen.
Birmingham, the planet’s epicentre of doom! After the legend that is Black Sabbath and so many others who followed in their footsteps, it’s time for Alunah. With a slow, grooving, slightly psychedelic sound and feel, their the second album ‘White Hoarhound’ is going to take over the world. As this particular style is almost 40 years old, there’s not that many new angles, but it’s like watching majestic mountains or the rolling waves, it’s cut from, and by, everlasting beauty. With sleazy guitars and just a pinch of NWOBHM you’ll easily be drawn in the the lair of Alunah. The band play a style which hasn’t changed since the seventies, but caught in that strange little bubble with them, unaffected by time you will feel the incredible high that is pure uncut DOOM. Like a siren, they’re beckoning you toward your fate, to crash your ship on the rocks of ‘White Hoarhound’. You won’t be able to resist the urge, so all listeners, beware… Martijn Welzen
Having only just been introduced to this band I have come to realise just how great they are and the most exciting thing is that this is their second album – more to discover. If you delve into the world of Alunah you soon come to realise just how big their fan base is and how much recognition they have achieved from both of their albums. It is also worth noting that they have spent the last 6 years building up a reputation for being one the most hardworking and consistent live bands - they are certainly looking at a very successful career ahead of them!
Their second full length album White Hoarhound (PsycheDOOMelic Records) is a wonderfully dark and heavy record; weaving the darkest doom riffs, fuzzy guitars, soaring yet earthy vocals and occult lyrics – this a delicious mix of witchery. I have to note here that this isn’t just a few heavy tracks and some samples thrown in for good measure; this album is the full package. It is atmospheric, dark and laden with references of the pagan world – even the cover compliments the sounds that are hidden within. And, it has to be said that Alunah are definitely one of those bands that stand out from the rest if this album is anything to go by.
So, don't just take my word for it and go purchase this album - http://www.alunah.bigcartel.com/
Let me proclaim a shameful personal truth, I've never been all that taken with Alunah, but White Hoarhound could well be the record that changes all that.
Having seen them live before and heard previous album Call of Avernus I'd possibly written them off as another metallic doom band (as I still maintain there are far too many Sabbath also-rans about). What has impressed me with White Hoarhound is an instilled sense of autumnal misery that envelopes the slow to medium pace they have adopted and the lyrics of singer and guitarist Soph Day.
The whole album has an undeniable Sabbath influence and brings to mind the 90s doom and roll stylings of Khang, who used to combine great lyrics with a both downtrodden but uplifting sound, as Alunah are doing here.
Although I'm not getting the vibe that this is a concept album, there is certainly a theme running through the songs. Fantasy and whimsical stories are told, all with a notion of dread or sadness and Soph's vocals seem to be a real standout on here, something which I'd not previously noticed before. There's some effects on them at times, which actually serves to lift them, rather than mask her talents, no autotune for these guys, more cosmic space phasing.
The closing pair of songs, Oak Ritual one and two are almost mirrored, the first plots an acoustic course, with some Planet Caravan style meandering and self-introspection taking over. The theme bursts into life in part two as the sound takes off, the central lyrics rising to the surface, sounding even more epic the second time round.
Elsewhere, the title track seems the most legendary and mythical in creating a story, not unlike a fireside ghost story or an introduction to an epic fantasy film, Soph's lyrics slowly reveal a narrative you can really immerse yourself in. More of this kind of thing please, here at ninehertz towers we hear enough about fast cars, women and booze to last us a lifetime. Cheers Alunah, your individuality has fought through here and you've made your highly-honed art stand out in ways we rarely see.
Forged in the heart of the Midlands, White Hoarhound is a riff-laden trip through a doom landscape that resonates through the ages back to the birth of metal and the dark entry of heavy metal that exploded on the scene courtesy of the granddaddies of all metal Black Sabbath.
This album is the follow up to the bands début Call of Avernus and the first on their new label psycheDOOMelic and sees a huge step in quality and production. Fast becoming one of the most sought after live acts on the doom/stoner/desert rock scene, Alunah have managed to capture that raw energy on this album that has won them so many plaudits.
The album itself kicks off with ‘Demeter’s Grief’ and the Sabbath legacy is immediately apparent, but then the vocals kick in and it’s obvious this is no mere clone of the Brummie legends. The juxtaposition of heavy doom riffs and the delicate, haunting vocals of Soph Day are what makes this band stand out from others in this genre.
The teeth rattling riffs continue with the title track ‘White Hoarhound’, probably the most accessible and commercial track on the album and a good starting point for new comers. The epic ‘Belial’s Fjord’ on the other hand is eight minutes of doom heaven which will appeal to the die hard aficionados.
The versatility of this band is shown on the final two tracks, ‘Oak Ritual I’, a beautifully crafted acoustic based song followed by ‘Oak Ritual II’, a ten minute opus that encompasses all that this band is about.
For the psychedelic doom fraternity, this is a little gem and for those looking to discover new sounds, it may seem heavy going at first, but I urge you to stick with it and you will be won over by those dirty sludgy riffs that are kept under control by the mesmeric vocals.
- Tony Gaskin (8 out of 10)
Alunah are a Doom/Stoner Metal Band with a lot of cool psych/occult rock blended into their music. Alunah have been touted as one of the best Stoner/Doom Metal Bands the UK has to offer at the moment. And you know what it's praise wholly deserved. Alunah bring a fresh perspective to Doom/Stoner Metal.
They released their critically acclaimed debut album - Call of Avernus back in 2010. Well Alunah are back two years later with their most daring and creative work to date - White Hoarhound.
What follows is a 7 song and 50 minute blast of amazing Stoner/Doom Metal riffage from one of the very best female fronted bands the scene has to offer.
Alunah are led by the majestic and sultry vocals of the immensely talented Soph Day who has been described as one of the best female lead singers in the scene today. And on this evidence it's easy to see why.
Plus she is backed up by a great band behind her. These guys just fucking rock from start to finish.
You know when you hear the opening riffs of Demeter's Grief your in for a great time. It gets right down to business of playing sublime Psych based Doom/Stoner Metal riffs. A superb 7:37 minute epic that will get you in the mood to rock out in no time at all.
Next up is the brilliant title track - White Hoarhound - and possibly my fave track on the album as it has a crushing guitar riff that even the top bands would be proud to call their own. Plus some eerie vocals and lyrics to match that had from the word go. The 5:30 minutes just flies by and shows what truly talented songwriters Alunah actually are.
This song could be the perfect soundtrack to the next British big cult horror film. As it perfectly blends the style of a creepy sinister horror film that Britain used to make back in the day.
Alunah have other excellent songs and tricks up their sleeve by blending superb Occult references through out but driven by a great modern Doom/Stoner Metal edge.
Check out great tracks - Belial's Fjord, Chester Midsummer Watch Parade and the amazing two part classic - Oak Ritual Part 1 and Part 2.
Oak Ritual Part 2 is a 10 minute beast that is true force of nature. And one that only Alunah can deliver. Some of the best riffs are on this song. It will last long in the memory.
This album is already been acclaimed as a future classic and masterpiece. And you know what it. It fucking is. Alunah have delivered their best work to date. This should propel the guys onto the next level of Doom/Stoner Metal.
And it shows another truly talented female vocalist to look out for. It seems like the ladies of Doom/Stoner Metal are showing their male counterparts on how to deliver truly emotional charged and action packed vocals.
Now if we can get Soph, Hel & Taz from Undersmile, Mlny from Royal Thunder and Stevie from Dark Castle to form one big super-group I would die a happy man.
Anyway back to grounded reality. This album is a must for all fans of Doom/Stoner Metal. It's expertly recorded by Greg Chandler who done the recent excellent GENERAL. Remember Alunah features Gaz from General on Bass Duties. Plus this album has been mixed/mastered by the legend that is Tony Reed of Stone Axe and Mos Generator.
So yeah this album is something special and I urge you all to check it out now.
Brilliant. End Of.
White Hoarhound is available to buy on PsycheDOOMelic Records from all good stockists now. Or head over to Alunah's BandCamp Page and select whichever format you need.
“Doom with a difference” was my first impression after playing the 2nd full length studio album, White Hoarhound by Birmingham based Pagan doom metal band Alunah. The reason for this is the haunting vocals of female Soph Day. I have not come across a female fronted doom metal band before and her clean delivery gives the listener insight to the meaning of the 7 tracks here.
White Hoarhound follows their debut album Call Of Averlus and e.p Fall To Earth but is their first release on PscychDOOMelic Records due out on Monday,Sept. 3rd. Recorded by Greg Chandler and mixed/mastered by Tony Reed, it is nearly 50 minutes of crushing but at times melodic doom metal.
The sign of a good doom metal band is feedback and a surge of this opens the album’s first track, the claustrophobic Demeter’s Grief. The main riff comes in with Gaz Imber’s bass weaving in and out of it. The song comes to life when Soph’s vocals begin. Demeter’s Grief’s almost 8 minute length has 2 Black Sabbath type tempo changes with intermittent guitar solos. The tone of which bring to mind Ed Mundel, ex Monster Magnet guitarist. The title track follows with lumbering guitars with a higher range vocal. There is a Thin Lizzy style guitar break midway, that is if they played it at Alunah speed!
Belial’s Fjord begins with an Indian wardance style drum patterns as heavily distorted guitars rise and fall around them. A very atmospheric number, again just under the 8 minute mark, giving the band an opportunity to punish their instruments as Soph wails ” Yeah eh eh Belial’s Fjord “. The pace picks up with the mid paced stomp of The Offering with a stoner riff similar to Kiss’ Detroit Rock City! The guitar solo midway slows the track right down, trading notes with the bass guitar.
Chester Midsummer Witch Parade’s spacey intro is followed by a juddering bass riff which is then taken on by guitar as if it wasn’t heavy enough already! It surges like this until the 5 minute mark as the tempo shifts with added serrating wah wah guitar solos. White Hoarhound closes with parts 1 & 2 of Oak Ritual. Part 1 is a brief acoustic/keyboard lead number with a pleading vocal. The 11 minute Part 2 is a different beast altogether as one fuzzed up riff after another compete with hammer blow drums. This continues until the 4th minute as a guitar solo incorporates the main riff with a lilting vocal as the song fades out at 7 minutes. After 2 minute’s silence, the song ends with keyboards over a thunderstorm sound effect.
White Hoarhound is a very challenging but rewarding listening experience and i can highly recommend it for fans of stoner/doom/psychedelic metal.
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Upcoming Alunah Gigs >>
Friday 31st March 2017
The Chameleon, Nottingham
Saturday 1st April 2017
The Moon Club, Cardiff
Thursday 6th April 2017
The Flapper, Birmingham
Friday 7th April 2017
Saturday 8th April 2017
Sunday 9th April 2017
The Lounge, London