Printed reviews, features and adverts from magazines as we have them.
Printed reviews, features and adverts from magazines as we have them.
Alunah has left a gigantic foot print in the doom genre already. Evading the sophomore jinx, their previous album, White Hoarhound (2012, PsycheDOOMelic), continued to floor fans and critics; just as their debut full length had, Call of Avernus (2010, Catacomb Records). I recall reading the review of their initial ep, Fall to Earth (2008, Catacomb Records) on Doommantia.com and quickly purchased it. I have been slowly banging my head to this Sabbathian riff machine since.
Evoking the foreboding mood of Alunah’s home, the same dilapidated industrial shell of declining factories and tower blocks as Black Sabbath’s inspiration, Birmingham, England has molded Alunah’s eerie sound. Fuzz drenched guitars push a slow plodding pace. Soph Day’s voice is not angelic and not growled. She approaches the mic with a subdued looming croon that warns and simultaneously seduces.
“Awakening the Forest” is a codeine drenched display of precision. Patient, the track hides under a cloak of a riff that covers all surroundings. The middle of the eight minute track is a tempered build with a smooth guitar solo. The two short songs run to the six minute mark. The six tracks run to forty-five minutes. “Scourge and The Kiss” has a down-tuned, swinging riff, the just stays shy of full gear. The dirty road riff is similar to an Earthride or Kyuss, but always remins an Alunah tune with Soph Day’s singing and smoky atmosphere. This riff, though, certainly is volcanic in the final third of the song.
Lyrically, the songs sound like invocations. Tales of Majik and Pagan inquiries stamp each track, and the artwork. Regardless of the execution, the starting point is of true loss and pain. “I wrote the lyrics when I’d just lost my dad, nan and grandad. It was a pretty bleak time for me. I thought a lot about death, but didn’t want the lyrical theme to be depressing. I was reading around the subject of life cycles and how pagans deal with death. I also believe in making a difference while we’re here.“ Soph Day, my interview.
Awakening the Forest is a paradigm of doom metal. if you want to scrap over genre-splitting titles, go ahead. Alunah lands on the cleaner production side. This is not Bongripper or Triptykon. The opener perfectly sets the mood. “Brick Wood Coven” has that Iommi tremolo meander over a sparse groove embedded rhythm section that echoes through the album. Alunah know how to use quiet and omission as well as a riff. [Soph] Day croons beautifully and the slow riffs will propel you to sway in agreement. Lyrics speak of spirits and nature’s power. Every check on the doom list is authentic and leaves a yearning for next year’s output.
FFO: The Skull, Earth, Black Pyramid, Hour of 13, The Gates of Slumber (Hutch)
Summary: Alunah know how to use quiet and omission as well as a riff. [Soph] Day croons beautifully and the slow riffs will propel you to sway in agreement. Lyrics speak of spirits and nature’s power.
The whole female fronted doom/occult rock format has reached saturation point in recent years, with it becoming more and more difficult to isolate the more credible bands with some actual decent songwriting talent amidst the scores of pretenders. Birmingham’s Alunah have been kicking around on the doom scene since 2008, but up until now have escaped my radar. Third album Awakening the Forest follows on from their 2010 debut, Call of Avernus, and the apparently very well received sophomore effort, White Hoarhound (2012). Well I certainly have some catching up to do if their previous albums can reach anywhere near the colossal quality of Awakening the Forest. Alunah craft a fresh and distinctly modern sound that pays healthy respects to the forefathers of doom, from the bluesy hues of early Black Sabbath to the crushing riffage of Cathedral. Throw in some contemporary doom, psychedelic rock and stoner influences and you have the basic blueprint for the weighty sound Alunah creates.
Alunah’s hazy, stoned-out psychedelic combo forms a masterful slab of earthy modern doom, rich in songwriting dynamics and featuring some of the downright catchiest vocal hooks and melodies I’ve had the pleasure of hearing on a heavy album this year. Soph Day is not merely a decorative, pleasant ornament for the band to play behind. She takes control of each song, her smoky pipes offering an engaging blend of emotion, grit and soulfulness. Importantly, the rest of the band are no slouches in the instrumental or songwriting departments either. They collectively lay down a powerful and diverse platform, led by the fuzzy heavy riffs and melodic leads of both Soph Day and fellow guitarist Dave Day. Meanwhile the strong rhythm section of Dan Burchmore (bass) and Jake Mason (drums) deliver a powerhouse mix of inventive playing and dependable anchorage. Delivered within hefty time capsules, each song forms a distinctive part of the greater journey of epic, doomy blissfulness. The songs travel at a relaxed pace while never becoming too plodding, offering enough interesting musical ideas, hooky songwriting and subtle dynamic shifts to comfortably carry the weighty song lengths and plodding tempos. Alunah’s earthy jams and playful musicianship lends the album plenty of character, avoiding self-indulgent meandering and staying grounded within the context of the songs.
The overall tone might sway on the side of melancholy, but Awakening the Forest is far from being a depressive or oppressive doom experience. In fact the overall accessibility of the material, which thankfully doesn’t diminish the ample heaviness on display, should find a broad audience while still satiating the tastes of doom aficionados. Opener “Bricket Wood Coven” seduces from the get-go, casting an enchanting spell through its crushingly heavy slow riffs, bluesy swagger and compelling vocal melodies. Around the five minute mark some killer laidback jamming ensues before climaxing in a satisfyingly heavy manner. “Heavy Bough”, by comparison with the opener and much of the remainder of the album, is quite an uptempo heavy rocker loaded with strong riffs, groovy basslines and a highly addictive chorus that you’ll likely be humming for days. Meanwhile, the darker languid dirge of the title track features some beguiling guitar melodies that are beautifully thickened and accentuated by the weighty bass and another fine vocal performance.
Awakening the Forest maintains its memorable high songwriting standard from start to finish, culminating in the patient, heart wrenching balladry of epic closer, “The Summerland”. Aside from the obvious strengths in songwriting and craftsmanship, Awakening the Forest is also very well equipped on the production front. The guitars sound huge, clear and crunchy; the bass adds a thick cushion of sonic heft, while the organic sounding drums are punchy but unobtrusive. Bookended by mammoth releases from Pallbearer and YOB, 2014 has been more of a case of quality over quantity on the doom front. You can now add Awakening the Forest to the shortlist of standout doom albums to drop this year, with Alunah delivering a top notch album of hefty sonic fuzz and irresistible hooks that deserves to be heard.
It’s that time of year again! With 2014 coming to a close, we look back on the metal songs which impacted our ears since Jan. 1. For this list, we’re taking into account fan response, songwriting prowess, popularity, creative progression, technical ability and many more dynamics. After a year’s worth of thought, listening to everything we can get our hands on and keeping our ears to the ground, we give you our choices for the 20 Best Metal Songs of 2014!
British doom act Alunah released the killer 'Awakening the Forest' album this year, led by the track 'Heavy Bough.' The piece of doom psychedelia is a slow burn which becomes increasingly hypnotic as frontwoman Soph Day begins her calm vocal approach. The rest of 'Heavy Bough' is carried by a solid instrumental foundation reminiscent of classic Black Sabbath, though the song consistently maintains its own identity.
Fall seems to be a good season for doom metal, as UK’s Alunah have released their newest effort, “Awakening the Forest”, at the beginning of October. The band follows the direction set with “White Hoarhound”, greatly polishing their path in the process. Alunah managed to reach a good balance between defining their own style and keeping close to the roots of traditional stoner doom at the same time.
They are able to create a heavy atmosphere even with simple means, as the bass-lead crescendo from the opener “Bricket Wood Coven” shows. Soph Day’s vocals go hand in hand with the instruments, never taking over. Her voice is steady and elusive at once, delivering the lyrics with ease. The lyrical themes are obscure and intriguing, taking inspiration from ancient English traditions, legends and celebrations from the Middle Ages. They are supported by a matching arrangement that keeps dark tones and a slow, almost ritualistic pace. There are exceptions, like the first single, “Heavy Bough”, where the rhythm seamlessly shift into groovier sounds, when needed. The eerie, intertwining vocal lines in the following title track set off one of the most noteworthy songs of this release, showcasing a wide range of emotions. “The Mask of Herne” is a great example of how Alunah implemented different moods and energies into one piece. Another inspired moment is the second half “The Scourge and the Kiss”, especially its solo, bursting in the outro. The bonus track, “The Summerland”, is an emotional, gloomy ballad and one of the most interesting songs Alunah provides in an already strong album.
The sound, rough and sometimes a bit distant, fits really well with the overall musical setting. The album is homogeneous and well-structured, offering a variety of different moments even throughout a single song. Alunah is able to build tension and a growing expectation in the listener, who can do nothing but wait for the songs to unfold, note after note. “Awakening the Forest” is definitely an achievement for the English band, who proved their worth with this mesmerizing release.
Rating – 85/100
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.
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
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!
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/
In Birmingham we think prompt to Black Sabbath. Is this place in some press even described as the birthplace of Heavy Metal. But there is more, Judas Priest, Napalm Death Godflesh to give but three examples, were founded in Birmingham. Alunah this is carrying a very heavy history on the frail backs. The band itself as Doom Metal, with Stoner metal influences. The similarity with eg Black Sabbath is not far away. With this third album Awaking the Forest is, therefore, indeed, a walk through the forest become that will long remain resonate.
With an average duration of six to eight minutes pet track it seems to be a very long journey. This brings us to the dark side of the forest where the branches cracking under our feet. The menacing undertone, as we in doom metal are just that, fully present. Slowly but surely, the songs seem to grab you by the throat, until you can hardly breathe. Bricket Wood Coven does immerse us in a very intoxicating atmosphere where the perfect blend of cutting guitar riffs, pulverizing drums and plaintive voice you meet. All this is in a dark dress, which seems to be no place for any positivity.
The entire album seems to continue on that momentum. The decor is furthermore in line with what has ever occurred, so nothing new under the wind. The title song Awaking the Forest, with a duration of approximately eight minutes, cuts deeper through our hearts. Be our ears and souls lethargic and slow, like a poison, edited, until we leave the forest with a face of horror and anxious look behind us. But nowhere is the pace really the height, or walls demolished. No, it all remains the same menacing, terrifying slow motion go. From which we can conclude that there is no surprising twists are in this record, we would like a flaw can in many cases to take.
However, because the songs can very much on your slashing hardly stop listening to the album on his end has come. It seems as if the songs put you in a trance, which you can compare with psychedelic music. Thus we again make the comparison with, for example Black Sabbath. We are thus actually the negative of this album Awaking the Forest come, what we lack in originality, making this band is likely to linger in the gray area where hundreds of other artists in this genre houses. But the global Doom Metal fan will certainly find something to their liking in this record.
Alunah brings with Awaking the Forest a record that may not have high tops will shave off, or will achieve top ten listings. But this most perfectly put together album than on purely technical level will certainly doom metal fans do to higher places float. This walk has us, as a fan of the first hour, virtue done and brought to absolute rest. A dark, almost sinister calm, though. But more we do not need to be persuaded us. Awaking the Forest has become fodder for fans of the first hour, and global listeners doom metal genre. Which should not be more, right?
Orignal Dutch Version: http://www.snoozecontrol.be/index.php/reviews/17-buitenlandse-reviews/3440-alunah-awaking-the-forest
When I received the digital promo for Birmingham’s ALUNAH’s third offering “Awakening The Forest” and looked at the earthy-colored cover artwork, my first thoughts were “a forest, a horned god and a voice to-die-for; how much better can this get?” and I guess the first spins of the opening track “Bricket Wood Coven” didn’t leave much room for any doubts. Sure, ALUNAH’s name on the cover is a solid guarantee of Iommi-esque riffage and thicker-than-thick basslines, so I wasn’t expecting anything less than what this band is offering in the third studio release.
So yes, Sophie’s vintage, ghostly reading, David’s crushing guitar leads and Jake’s dominant drumming are present, while the latest lineup addition, Dan Burchmore on bass, seems to be the fourth ace in ALUNAH’s poker winning sleeve. And speaking about ‘winning’, just listen to the super-addictive riff of the CATHEDRAL-esque “Heavy Bough” and tell me you haven’t started foot-tapping... Plus, things get even more interesting with the rest of the songs, like the album’s self-titled track, bringing some UK Doom / Death influences on the table, carrying along an almost ANATHEMA-like (from the mid ‘90s) scent, while the guitars on “The Mask Of Herne” seem to be a true pilgrimage to Mr. Wino and Maryland’s Doom Metal scene.
I bet now you have gotten the point; the UK Doom quartet proves once more that it’s not your average Doom band, and actually shows that they got the skills and the knowledge, not only to awake an entire forest, but crush the head of every unfaithful and skeptical mind against (oc)cult female-fronted bands. Horns up, peeps, ALUNAH is back!
Alunah is a cool and tasty doom metal band from the West Midlands, UK. On their third album the band gets deeper into slow, heavy and gloomy traditional stoner doom with not as much psychedelic aspects as on their previous album White Hoarhound (2012). The opener "Bricket Wood Coven" has a very nice, bluesy stoner doom vibe that I really like. The female vocals are perfect for the repetitive, slow and heavy music, and we also get some solo guitar. There's got to be some solo guitar in doom metal, if you ask me. The doom boogie "Heavy Bough" is a bit more melodic bringing to mind Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre and also Jex Thoth. Very nice! The title track is slower again, and surprisingly atmospheric, harmonic and melodic. The track "The Mask of Herne" is pretty cool as well, and the long "Scourge and the Kiss" has a groovy, almost grunge-like basic riff. "The Summerland (Bonus Track)" is the longest track on the album and starts off in dreamy, peaceful manner, and stays slow but gets heavier along the way. This is a beautiful, melancholic heavy metal ballad, I would say, and a good way to end this great album. Worth checking out!
The British Birmingham (also home of example, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest!) Brings us another band that deals with occult / psychedelic stoner / doom rock / metal. In recent years, steadily working on a live reputation, including, among others, performances at festivals like Desert Fest (Berlin and London) and Heavy Days In Doom Town (Copenhagen). The band The band has also been some records released: Call of Avernus (2010) and White Hoarhound (2012) were the new album The Awakening Forest (the first Napalm) for. I myself am a bit surprised that I actually did not know the music of this band.
Although, the latter is relative, because actually I know this kind of music all indeed. Alunah namely elaborates upon the heavy sound that first Black Sabbath and later a band like Saint Vitus, Cathedral but for example also announced. Either classic heavy doom, a mysterious edge of melody and feeling put in long, drawn-out songs. What this band has its own course, the female vocals, which controlled and a little conjuring lyrics for bears.
Six numbers only, but long and exciting. The sturdy, heavy riffs and drum rhythms in the base are equipped with subtle (acoustic) guitar and quiet, spellbinding, yet passionate and powerful vocals (the latter two from the lady in the company). When the slow lumbering sound wall opener Bricket Wood Coven itself clears, I actually sold immediately. These are already eight minutes pleasure, which is also room for the rhythm section to assert themselves. Heavy Bough is the next most compact track on the album, and Napalm must have therefore also suitable as video, thought so.
Title track Awakening The Forest is a wonderfully atmospheric doom song with a nice floaty feel. Especially the combination of vocals with nice sounds will let you enjoy unwieldy entrainment without music is boring. Make the following songs that unequivocally clear: loom, spherical and floaty, but not a second boring; be strong doom! Especially Scourge And The Kiss is a delightful spherical scene!
I would closing The Summerland unlike previous numbers define as dreamy. Not as heavy, but as spherical; more acoustic, with even more space for fine whining vocals and guitar work. Initially get used after previous violence, but that ultimately no less beautiful. The song has as good a beautiful climax. I am ashamed that this should retroactively adjust my acquaintance with Alunah be. On the other hand, I think Awakening The Forest or a perfect entrant!
Original Dutch Version: http://www.wingsofdeath.net/Alunah-Awakening-The-Forest
'Awakening The Forest' is the third album of the Alunah originating from the British West Midlands. Is The foursome - Sophie Day (vocals, guitar), Dave Day (guitar), Dan Burchmore (bass) and Jake Mason (drums) - bringing a mix of doom metal, psychedelic rock, classic hard rock and elements of the blues. Names of bands like Black Sabbath and Cathedral shoot me spontaneously to mind when listening to this album. The heavy, bulky and solid rhythms, as in these two examples, interspersed with slightly bluesy and especially psychedelic feeling influences. That slow, unwieldy sounding "wall of sound" is broken and supplemented with handsome, drawn-out guitar interventions and especially by the incantation, extremely quiet and calm vocals of Sophie, which happened both powerful and soulful. Only six songs has this album, but they are also quite long drawn out without anywhere but to repeat or bored. It should also musically not always extremely heavy and cumbersome, they prove to the closing 'The Summerland, where calm, quiet and spellbinding acoustic guitars determine the intro, followed by the addition of bass and drums, the pace and strength a very slightly be increased without losing the conjuring and calm effect, and then later switch back to their "normal" powerful and heavy sound. It ensures immediately that you will be immediately after the psychedelic fade out the "repeat" button on your CD player is pressed again and again you delivered to the incantatory vocals and ponderous pace of this album. Along with Avatarium that Jennie-Ann Smith also been a vocalist in grades counts, this Alunah for me is the new hype in the world of doom metal.
Original Dutch Version: http://www.keysandchords.com/cd-metals-blog/alunah-awakening-the-forest
Was has BLACK SABBATH, GODFLESH, NAPALM DEATH, JUDAS PRIEST, BOLT THROWER, DIAMOND HEAD, CATHEDRAL und LED ZEPPELIN got in common?
True, they come from Birmingham, the fully applies therefore rightly regarded as the birthplace of heavy metal. Whether also the "Brummies" of ALUNAH some day someone will remember for?
A certain recognition value alone is given by the voice of front woman and Rhythm guitarist Sophie Day. The lady uses her body resonance, sounds like the stronger sister of Jessica Toth (JEX THOTH), with their music, anyway ALUNAH can best be compared. In contrast to the always clouded Californians sound Mrs. Sophie, her husband David, drummer Jake Mason and the newly added bassist Dan Burchmore, however, significantly reduced. Psychedelic is ALUNAH sound not much to feel, but the long, carried by grave stone heavy riffs songs always inherent in a certain warmth that preserves the melancholy mood in front of slipping into Depressive. Best example: 'Heavy Bough', which is a hot favorite for the Doom Song of the Year with his Groove, David Greg Mackintosh Memorial leads and the simply fantastic chorus.
Unfortunately the rest of the material reaches these heights (or depths?) Only in phases. 'Bricket Wood Coven', reminiscent of the BLACK Sabbath birth opener is also to settle on nine-level, and the eponymous, decorated with fine double-Leads 'The Forest Awakening' stirs the heart doomverliebte. 'The Mask Of Herne' on the other hand knows neither how to tie the two long tracks at the end, while the final, halbballadeske 'The Summerland' releases after all a wonderful relaxing song.
Bottom line ALUNAH is on album number three, a further increase succeeded with the quartet should establish in the international class. The jump in the DOOM World League is probably just a slice (and a few tempo variations).
Original German Version: http://www.streetclip.tv/magazine/details/reviews/article/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.
ALUNAH, “Awakening the Forest” (Napalm) - Over the past four years (sic - 8), British doom unit Alunah have been making some of the most alluring, powerful music in metal. Sadly, they’ve flown way under the radar in America, but that could change with their tremendous new opus “Awakening the Forest.” This is easily the best, most elegant of all of their records, and they really hit on something during these six cuts.
Vocalist/guitarist Sophie Day is an absolute revelation, as she commands while delivering her vocals, refusing to let you drop your attention for even a second. The tracks range between six and nine minutes long, with the band keeping you engaged throughout, and people into groups such as SubRosa could find a lot to like here. As good as all of the tracks on this album, the centerpiece title track stands the tallest of all of them. The music builds the piece perfectly, and Day’s tremendous vocal melodies and domination of the hook takes the track over the top. There are a lot of doom bands out there today, and it’s never easy to pick and choose the good ones. But Alunah is on a powerful streak of consistency, and they’ve never sounded a great as they do on this album.
Birmingham doomers Alunah make their debut on Napalm Records with Awakening the Forest, their third album. It’s been a long two years since their sophomore outing, White Hoarhound (review here), left such a resounding impression — four since their debut, Call of Avernus (review here), was released — and in that time, some things have changed and others haven’t. The four-piece have traded out bassists, bringing Dan Burchmore aboard, and clocked considerable road time in support of their material, touring in the UK and Europe that’s resulted in a considerable forward movement in their songwriting. Their overarching approach, however, is consistent, as is their presentation. Awakening the Forest, like its predecessor, was recorded by Esoteric‘s Greg Chandler and mastered by Mos Generator‘s Tony Reed, and there’s sonic cohesiveness as a result between the two records. Likewise, Alunah‘s latest maintains the band’s penchant for themes of nature worship, guitarist/vocalist Soph Day here using metaphor and, one imagines, some escapism in coping with the loss of her father, songs like opener “Bricket Wood Coven,” “Heavy Bough” and “The Summerland” evoking an organic feel in lyric and tone alike, a fuller-sounding production from Chandler not taking away from the underlying warmth in Day‘s tone or that of her fellow guitarist David Day, the foursome rounded out by Jake Mason on drums. All told, Awakening the Forest‘s six tracks cover 45 minutes of expansive, rolling doom given an otherworldly feel by Soph‘s echoing vocals and fluid movement between and within the individual pieces.
It breaks about evenly into two vinyl sides and works that way as well, but I prefer a linear, CD-style listen because it underscores two elements working very much in Awakening the Forest‘s favor: The languidness of groove and the immersiveness of the record as a whole. You could put a platter-flip between “Awakening the Forest” and “The Mask of Herne” — which is the shortest cut included at 5:53 — but I’ll take it front-to-back and really dig into the chance to get lost in Alunah‘s rollout, slower here than on the last album overall but with choruses no less memorable or engaging, an overarching sleepy-woods feel pervading each cut in succession, beginning with “Bricket Wood Coven,” which oozes out choice, open-feeling riffing for its eight-minute entirety, Soph telling tales of a high priestess calling the moon, and by the time it’s over, the spell has been duly cast. The subsequent “Heavy Bough,” while shorter and somewhat more uptempo, is ultimately no less ethereal, and with “Awakening the Forest” and “The Mask of Herne” following — the latter referring to the antlers donned by Herne the Hunter, a ghost said in English folklore to haunt Windsor Forest, referenced in the album’s cover art — Alunah‘s hypnosis is long since complete, the title-track offering a high point in its hook, early soloing and spacious post-midpoint jam, and the latter launching Awakening the Forest‘s second half with particularly graceful vocal layering and a steady affirmation that the consuming fuzz on the songs prior was no fluke. Not that there was any doubt, but the reassurance is welcome all the same ahead of the closing duo, “Scourge and the Kiss” and “The Summerland.”
At 8:39 and 9:05, respectively, “Scourge and the Kiss” and “The Summerland” are the two longest songs on the album, and paired next to each other they make the trance-inducing aspects of earlier cuts all the more apparent. In its structure and focus on the chorus, “Scourge and the Kiss” stands in line with “Awakening the Forest” and “Bricket Wood Coven” as another strong execution of Alunah‘s songwriting, trading off brooding quietness with bigger-toned riffs and layered leads between the two intertwining guitars over the rhythmic foundation from Burchmore and Mason. In its vocals and in those leads, it gives heavy psychedelic flourish to what the band has already accomplished, and in the context of the album, it keeps the momentum moving forward, but the larger impression is made my the closer, which delves as close as Alunah have come to minimalism. A linear build begins soft and sentimental with the guitars, and immediately the focus is on atmosphere more than anywhere else on Awakening the Forest. Soph delivers her first vocals shortly before three minutes in, and though weightier distortion kicks in around the halfway point, a patient sensibility holding firm as “The Summerland” works its way toward its payoff. It never loses its contemplative, melancholy spirit, and that’s how Awakening the Forest ends. They don’t force an adrenaline surge where one doesn’t want to be, and above all, the final moments of Awakening the Forest seem honest in their intent and emotional portrayal. Whatever pagan elements might be at work throughout, Alunah‘s third album doesn’t veer from its human core, and for that, and for its marking the continued growth of the band and their coming into own in what they do, moving beyond their influences to an increasingly individualized approach, Awakening the Forest is their strongest outing yet.
It is fashionable to doom right now, and labels do not make mistakes. The renewed interest in the genre, the majors are aware and sign a vengeance training more or less competent but have a big promotion when a new release or the announcement of a tour . Simply put, the business is working well and the groups are not going to complain, and rightly so. New signing Napalm Records (really), the English Alunah seem, on paper, an additional combo in this fight, nothing apart from others. Yet it did not count on the appearance of the great White Hoarhound, two years earlier, placing our young British among the most promising musicians of the scene. This Fall is an ideal time to further bucolic getaways along the quartet who gives us his third album, called Awakening the Forest.
The group has a very unique signature, which really distinguishes their music for much of the doom scene. Although there is a strong presence of the rhythm section and the base metal, the whole work is imbued with a real sweetness, a soothing hand makes listening to this lovely offering. Yet Alunah is a metal record, delivering sealed riffs and heavy, like the stylistic codes require it. These guitars, run by Sophie and David often form the structures of the tracks and the listener navigates the world of dreamy combo thanks to them, as these instruments are placed in the center of the disc. They are not looking for technical achievement elsewhere. Simply find the right melody, riff that carries that invite to accompany the English in their journey to the heart of nature, a very present theme in their music. This recipe is paying off, as the chiaroscuro effect is mastered yet simple, spontaneous. The formula in any ambivalence us into these haunting atmospheres that icing on the cake, differ from those of the previous game. Stay the course without falling into hackneyed scheme is not always clear, the expectations were so high but Alunah demonstrates its ability to meet this challenge successfully.
Furthermore, the voice of Sophie Day is still and always a great asset, as it fits perfectly with the perspective from which these compositions are written. Storyteller, rocking, the singer is there to guide, give a hand and to discover the landscapes drawn through the various tracks. It is true that the sweet and simple song of frontwoman is quite unusual in the genre, moving away from many stereotypes and out of the shackles that can be faced. It is part of the strong identity of Alunah, who at as albums, manages to build a personality becoming stronger. Do not expect to be impressed by any extraordinary capability, voice register Sophie is not unlimited. But in his role, the English is impeccable, and knows his duties in wonder. His performance thus wants the image of the music and harmony of these two elements is constantly measured accurately by the combo. This dreamy aspect is, at bottom, not so far from approaching a Subrosa, although instrumentally, both teams further apart, the facet sludge being absent in four UK.
Thus, emphasis is placed on the cohesion between the creators of this album, which has a wonderful osmosis. This pooling of talent allows everyone to come up with pieces of excellent craftsmanship, forming a homogeneous whole, and distinct from both. The titles seem to melt into each other, and in the right way. The enchantment is complete from beginning to end and each of the six pieces brings his significant contribution. "Heavy Bough" is distinguished by its catchiness, its memorable chorus, while the self-titled "Awakening the Forest" has a much more peaceful and contemplative atmosphere, where the presence of beautiful vocal harmonies adorn the vocal lines a mystical aura. Each piece is a string of its own to stand out without overshadowing the other rooms. This is what makes the strength of Alunah from White Hoarhound, and obviously, the musicians know it.
Each listening to Awakening the Forest reveals something that might have been previously obscure. The disc is rich, and long service life reveals the work of a goldsmith Alunah it comes to writing. So a work more to place in the basket of the great successes of the year. Let it be said, the British talent to spare and do not intend to stop there way. Still largely unknown, the group managed to Klitschko two excellent achievements in a row. Fans of doom, do not miss this offering great sensitivity.
Final Score: 8.5 / 10
Original French Version: http://www.lagrosseradio.com/metal/webzine-metal/chronique-metal/p10123-alunah-awakening-the-forest.html
It’s shocking that doom female singers have only recently become popular; after all, if you listen to the timbre of Ozzy Osbourne‘s voice over those early Iommi riffs, it seems to parallel the soft tones of female opera singers and the way they contrast with bottom-heavy classical arrangements. But female-fronted doom is where we’ve finally arrived and it’s a trend that is definitely welcomed. When it creates ethereal, backwoods ritual shit like the music enclosed here, how can it NOT be received enthusiastically by the metal masses?
As a bit of a doom novice, Awakening the Forest was my first foray in to the world of Birmingham’s Alunah, and I was, on the whole, pleased with what I found. While it’s far from the most creative or inventive thing I’ve come across in the genre, it’s certainly not the derivative, boring mess that some doom acts can be. The band is great at creating a certain vibe and not relying on the usual tropes of their genre to get there. For example, I don’t feel like singer Sophie Day is trying to summon demons when she sings, but rather like she’s communing with nature. While it’s an angle that I’ve heard before, it’s also one that is underused compared the usual occult and/or cannabis-related leanings of many of the genres better known practitioners.
As to the band, the most important part of being an effective doom ensemble is to keep the songs moving forward. With the slow burn so essential to the genre, some acts find themselves floundering and flopping around within their own songs. I’ve always found that to be both self-indulgent and INCREDIBLY boring to listen to (maybe I just don’t get it). David Day (guitars) doesn’t let this happen; he’s always pushing the song forward, creating compelling riff after compelling riff, never making the listener wait for the band to catch up. The whole band, in fact, is very good at keeping the listener engaged and maintaining the overall structure of each song.
This is the key of what Alunah have created on their third full-length record: well-structured and engaging songs. They don’t clutter up the album with overt worship and imitation of Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus, nor do they meander about with long, droning passages of nothing but feedback. They keep the listener engaged and entertained with compositions that feel like they live and breath. This is what the best music does, regardless of the genre it falls into. Awakening the Forest is immersive, entertaining, and definitely up there with the best metal I’ve heard this year.
It was Birmingham that was central in the development of heavy rock, metal and doom. With bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, the industrial city of Great Britain can look back on a beautiful past in music. Yet it is not so that it is extinct in the present. Alunah is one of the new exponents of the music of Birmingham. That band comes via Napalm Records meta wakening The Forest.
The six tracks on Awakening The Forest, which is the successor to the well received White Hoarhound from 2012, let's hear what Alunah until capable of. The foursome manages to create that dares to move to Pink Floyd. Doom atmosphere The fairytale 'Scourge And The Kiss' is a good example. The song, which derive the beautiful, bright and soothing vocals of Sophie Day, ends with perhaps the best, enchanting and also understated guitar solo on the record. Just before awakening The Forest fans will all have a chance.
Influences of Pink Floyd are also strongly heard in 'The Summerland. Only when the drums make its appearance, comes the doom back into play. It Alunah know where to find. A nice balance Then the track is getting heavier built. This tells the foursome music to be made, without the listener being aware of it. A big turnaround That is a power that many acts will be jealous of. That in 'The Mask Of Herne' also flirting with the elements of stoner rock, makes the tire more compliments will receive. Only
Birmingham has Alunah another band that the town is on the card to appear. The album is a complete rock album where the influences of doom at the service of the rock. Awakening The Forest is a reason for which people can be awakened.
Original Netherlands Version: http://www.whiteroomreviews.nl/cdreview/awakening-forest
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.
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Upcoming Alunah Gigs >>
Friday 31st March
The Chameleon, Nottingham
Thursday 6th April
The Flapper, Birmingham
Friday 7th April
Saturday 8th April
Sunday 9th April
The Lounge, London
Saturday 6th May
MFC, Coevorden (NL)
Sunday 7th May
Route 66, Dusseldorf (DE)
Monday 8th May
Music City, Antwerp (BE)
Tuesday 9th May
Wednesday 10th May
Immerhin, Würzburg (DE)
Thursday 11th May
Coq d'Or, Olten (CH)
Friday 12th May
Bloom, Mezzago (IT)