Listen to Alunah's Bloodstock interview with The Midlands Rocks:
Paul Castles caught up with singer Soph Day and the rest of the band at their recent hometown gig at The Rainbow: http://www.themidlandsrocks.com/interview-with-soph-day-of-alunah-2/
"Anyone not by now familiar with the Midlands’ doom torchbearers Alunah must be living under a rock. Their progress continues ever upwards, having released their third album, on Napalm, four months ago to the day. That was marked with a special debut release show at Scruffys and while not headlining the Rainbow they were clearly the local heroes most people there had turned out to see. Opening with two atmospheric gems from the album in ‘Bricket Wood Coven’ and ‘Heavy Bough’, Alunah brought proceedings down to a sedate pace but without the heaviness being compromised one dot. The extended intro of ‘Heavy Bough’ added a cold chill when it was unnecessary, on a bitterly cold evening. The riff built to a demonic climax before performing a sharp turn and grabbing you by the throat.Singer Soph Day has an emotion-packed voice, but the softness of her delivery is enhanced by the crust of doom that her bandmates layer on top. The majestically mercurial closer ‘White Hoarhound’ is sadder than a roomful of depressives allowing Alunah to depart to a great ovation."
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.
Midlands Rocks Live Review | Alunah, Lonely Kamel, Nat Bite & The Order of Israfel | Scruffy Murphys, Birmingham (01/10/14)
With an album to launch, Alunah were very much centre stage at Scruffys on an evening when stoner and doom were to the fore, with one interesting curveball thrown into the mix.
The darkest and heaviest band of the night were of course local headliners Alunah who had plenty of friends and family in the house for this showcase album launch show.
Awakening the Forest is their third album, and first on Napalm Records, and they’ve certainly justified their recent deal with this endearingly haunting piece of work. Two tracks from the new album started the set, the manically deep ‘Heavy Bough’ and ‘Bricket Wood Coven’.
The intro to ‘Heavy Bough’ is something approaching doom utopia with its frighteningly downtuned start sending tremors vibrating across Scruffys floor. Singer Soph Day has one of the finest female voices around – and not just in doom crop circles either. Piercingly haunting at times but always under pitch perfect control, Soph has the pleasure of performing with three equally adept musicians, newest member Dan Burchmore now firmly entrenched on bass after a year or so with the band. Dave Day coaxes all the right noises from his guitar to set the landscape for Alunah’s songs to breathe in while Jake Mason’s methodical drumming helps carve these songs into your blackened soul.
The Midlands army of Alunah fans, which I suspect is growing faster than the Selfridges queue for the Boxing Day sale, had already had a taste of ‘Bricket Wood Coven’ which the band performed live earlier in the year. It’s another monstrously heavy slab of doom with a meaty riff so tasty even a vegetarian could be forgiven for taking a bite. Soph again stretches out the dark cloak until the whole floor is under its wing, practically suffocating under the smoky signature of evil.
There was a genuine moment of surprise for Alunah regulars when the band threw in an 80s cover from The Cure. ‘A Forest’ was always one of the goth legends’ finest tunes and it was certainly done justice by Alunah who put their own spin on it. Robert Smith would surely have approved!
Alunah also threw in their old favourites ‘Belial’s Fjord’ and ‘White Hoarhound’ which never fail to melt the hardest of hearts before bringing the curtain down on a great set – and terrific night at Scruffys – with the new album’s title track ‘Awakening the Forest’, another mesmerizing masterpiece from one of the UK’s most enchanting doom bands.
Full Review: http://www.themidlandsrocks.com/alunah-lonely-kamel-nat-bite-the-order-of-israfel-scruffy-murphys-birmingham-wednesday-1st-october-2014/
Listen to Soph's interview: http://www.themidlandsrocks.com/interview-with-soph-of-alunah/
"When you go out for a night of dark deep depressing doom the last thing you want to see is the sun beaming down on you with a smile wider than Cheddar Gorge. That was the case at the Asylum though when it was very difficult to adopt the customary gloomy exterior on such a cheerful pleasant evening in Birmingham.
When local favourites Alunah took the stage they even had to contend with the flickering sun penetrating the high Asylum windows enabling us to see a little bit more of Soph and the band than we have become accustomed. Alunah have been firm favourites of the Birmingham underground scene for a while now, but like an exceptionally good pint of real ale, it’s time for others to be let into the secret.
Alunah have been a fixture on these doomy Asylum nights for a while but the good news is that the band have a tour of their own in the pipeline along with a further jaunt around these isles in support of a yet-to-be-named headline act. They were only able to squeeze in a four-song set but quality over quantity is an approach that usually works and Alunah have that in spades.
The grinding disparate pounding signalled the familiar intro to ‘Demeter’s Grief’, a chilling necro nightmare of a song delivered as always with polish and gentle persuasion by vocalist Soph. Alunah conjure up majestic wispy harmonies but while laced with the essential sorrowful doom ingredients ‘Demeter’s Grief’ has the capacity to ignite, with a frenzied mid-song escapade. The band have a new album out later in the year, via Napalm Records, and we got a taste of what to expect with a new track in ‘Bricket Wood Coven’ before finishing with two angst filled Alunah classics. ‘White Hoarhound’ has a kind of purity running through it with Soph’s haunting cries setting hairs on end but as always with Alunah the sense of evil and the hand of darkness is always within reach. With the Asylum now bewitched by the spells being cast on stage, Alunah closed with the compelling ‘Belials Fjord’. They are back at the Asylum next month along with headliners Purson, on a bill creaking with doom."
- Paul Castles
Read full review: http://www.themidlandsrocks.com/windhand-inter-arma-alunah-asylum-2-birmingham-sunday-13th-april-2014#.U1oKTFVdWE4
Alunah Live Review by Midlands Metalheads - Supporting Grand Magus - The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton - 15/03/14
"Musically they are fantastic; melodic doom grooves with steady driving beats. Their appeal lies in the combination of heavy music and hypnotic, but strong vocals. Singer Soph Day’s commanding voice fits perfectly into the style. Whilst their set feels disappointingly short, their final two tracks are where the band truly shines. White Hoarhound, the title track from their current album, grabs everybody’s attention and the band gives a solid performance, showcasing extremely impressive musical unity.
Final track Belial’s Fjord is an excellent finale, with talented drummer Jake Mason particularly noticeable. As it is the music that makes Alunah truly stand out, it was unfortunate that a slight crackling noise from onstage kept disturbing the performance. Whilst this was probably a minor fault, the hypnotic effect of the music is easily shattered. Overall, this was a mesmerizing performance from an excellent band."
Read the full review: http://www.midlandsmetalheads.com/grand-magus-the-vintage-caravan-asomvel-and-alunah-15th-march-slade-rooms/
Thanks to Paul Castles for this great review of our gig with Karma to Burn, Moghul and Desert Storm at The Asylum2 in Birmingham on 18/07/13! Audio interview with Soph coming soon...
"Next up were one of Birmingham’s brightest bands at the moment, Alunah. It is with a degree of hesitation that I brand these doom fiends as ‘bright’, but some of their uplifting melodies and weighty deliveries have the spirit and ambience that makes your spine tingle. Vocalist Soph has a natural presence and easy charm that transmits well to the audience with opener ‘Call of Avernus’ immediately persuading a few more in the crowd to take a couple of steps forward.
This was the first Alunah gig for new bass player Dan but such were his confidence levels that he appeared to slot seamlessly into the line-up. The Brummies have been busy across Europe playing to some big festival crowds but being knocked off your feet by their blackened waves of despair within the intimate surroundings of the Asylum 2 allows you to get a hot blast of their incessant crushing power at close quarters.
Raw emotion drips through the pores of ‘White Hoarhound’, with Soph’s voice at its bleakest, while Alunah’s customary ice-crushing closer ‘Belials Fjord’ is a smouldering beast that bares its teeth and fixes its gaze directly onto your soul like a blackened demon."
Read the full review here >>
Thanks so much to The Midlands Rocks for this great review!
"It’s safe to assume that when venturing out for a night of Doom, you can leave the needle and thread in the sewing kit. There’ll be no split sides in need of repair after a fit of the giggles, that’s for sure.
Inconspicuously, the sun was blazing for a trip to the musical darkside in Birmingham. Although the great fire god had failed to shine on Dopethrone who had been forced to withdraw from this tempting triple header at the Asylum 2.
The absence of the Canadians was scarcely felt however, with local stand-ins Alunah proving a revelation on the night. Diminutive singer Soph Day has a vocal range and presence that defies her physical stature and the Brummie band served up a starter of Doom that would have graced any table.
Although firmly encased in the Doom pigeon-hole, Alunah aren’t afraid to spread their wings and some of their material has some wonderfully creative and lighter touches that draw you in closer. The night proved to be something of a parting of the waves though with Soph wishing bassist Gary luck with his new musical venture. Alunah will hopefully go from strength to strength once his shoes are filled.
Such was the density of the smoke bellowing from the stage like an over excitable power station that within the intimate confines of the Asylum 2, Soph at times became almost lost in a thick green cloud more suited to some kind of Dickensian docklands murder mystery. Alunah signed off with a smothering Belial’s Fjord which they dedicated to the absent Dopethrone."
Read more >>
Thanks to Chop (review) and Mark Lloyrd (photos) at Midlands Rocks for the review, Soph has since been diagnosed with Glandular Fever and she's making a good recovery so not a bad gig and review considering.
"It’s always nice to break yourself into the New Year gently. Three interviews, three bands to analyse, what more could a reviewer want? Before launching into the bands’ appraisals a quick pat on the back for the venue and staff seems in order: always polite, always efficient, guest list always ready and accurate. Thanks to all involved for making this part of the evening run so smoothly. Without further ado, to the bands…
Selected to get the evening under way were local doomsters Alunah. Sophie’s greeting earlier in the evening of a clutched throat and wave meant that everything was crossed for her voice to hold up throughout the set. Initially things went well, but the less said about the last song the better. One song too far I’m afraid, and hopefully there won’t be any lasting damage to her vocal chords. Can’t fault the ‘show must go on’ attitude though. Musically the band was in fine form, and visually the projector onto the bass drum was a nice touch. Four lengthy compositions off their recently released second album showcased the band’s abilities well. Best wishes to Sophie for a speedy recovery!
Set list: Demeter’s Grief, White Hoarhound, Oak Ritual, Belial’s Fjord
Lonely Kamel were playing their first ever show in the UK. On the evidence of this set they’ll be playing a lot more gigs over here, and hopefully soon. Good as Alunah’s sound was, Lonely Kamel sounded massive, with slicing guitar tones and a perfectly mic-ed drumkit. Classing them as a stoner outfit is selling them somewhat short; their three quarters of an hour set encompassed aspects of classic rock, doom, stoner, and blues rock to name but a few. Such was their crossover appeal that they’d have fitted comfortably on a bill with a whole gamut of bands – Wolf, Orange Goblin, and Year Long Disaster sprang immediately to mind. It’s astonishing that a band that have been around as long as they have, with three albums under their belt, have such a low profile over here. If their performances on the rest of the tour are anywhere near as good as this, you’ll be hearing a lot more about these guys. Journalists have a reputation for being a cynical bunch, and much of the time it’s true. Then you witness a set like this, grin from ear to ear, and realise just why you enjoy going to gigs so much. Solid as a rock musically, with a frontman from the Mikael Akerfeldt school of banter, expect great things from them. Absolutely stunning.
Set list: The Boys, Don’t Piss On The Lizard, I’m Your God, Rotten Seed, Damn You’re Hot, Evil Man, Stick With Your Plan, Spacerider
Tough act for The Sword to follow then? Maybe so, but with seventy minutes stage time and the benefit of four albums worth of material and ten years’ experience to draw upon, it proved to be well within their capabilities. Perhaps you could question the selection of songs played, and perhaps the lack of audience involvement and crowd addresses could be held against them, but otherwise this was the best I’ve seen them play since they supported Nebula onThe Age Of Winters tour.
New drummer Jimmy has settled in remarkably well; he hits the kit frighteningly hard, whilst utilising considerable finesse with his fills and runs. The dual guitar work and thumping bass is as solid as ever. Being picky, some of the slower material dragged a little, but the more up tempo songs more than compensated for this. All in all a return to form, a quality display to round off a thoroughly enjoyable evening, with the bar set very high for future gigs to surpass. Looks like 2013 could be quite a year!!
Set list: Apocryphon, Freya, Hammer Of Heaven, Tres Brujas, How Heavy This Axe, Cloak Of Feathers, The Hidden Masters, Dying Earth, Maiden, Mother & Crone, To Take The Black, Seven Sisters, Arrows In The Dark, The Horned Goddess, Veil Of Isis. Encore; Winters Wolves."
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)
Hope you're all getting ready to eat too much, drink far too much and receive/give some awesome pressies! Who says the true meaning of Christmas is lost on us! We also want to thank everyone who made 2011 such an amazing year for us, with special thanks to the following:
Mark at PsycheDOOMelic Records for having enough faith in us to sign us and release our second album in 2012.
The awesome Mez of Heretic Promotions at Scruffy Murphys in Birmingham for being one of the best promoters and sound engineers that we deal with. Scruffy's is the best underground music venue in the Midlands and Mez does them proud! Two more awesome promoters - Dan and Reece at DesertScene! Constantly bringing the best bands over to the UK to play and inviting Alunah to play with them. This year we were invited to support Acid King and Karma to Burn and next year we're on the DesertFest bill - these guys deserve a HUGE thank you. There are loads of promoters who have helped us out this year - too many to mention so if we've not mentioned you we still love ya!!
Bob at Soggy Bog who has continually supported us throughout the year and for inviting Soph to guest on one of his podcasts (listen here). Hellride Music, Core of Destruction Radio, Grip of Delusion Radio, Midlands Rocks, Blood Worm Brand and anyone else we've missed.
Bit cheesy but everyone in 2011 who has watched us, listened to us, brought our merch, brought us drinks, told everyone how much they like us and even told everyone how much they hate us... it's all good!
Massive thanks and salutations to the following bands who we've had the pleasure of sharing a stage with this year, if we've missed you it's nowt personal we were probaby just drunk! Acid King, Carlton Melton, Sally, Lifer, General, Karma to Burn, Fu Manchu, Black Spiders, Bastard of The Skies, Engines of Armageddon, Meadows, Iron Void, Viking Skull, Slab, Desert Storm, Pig Iron, Stone Axe, Stubb, Trippy Wicked and the Kosmic Children of the Knight (I used the full name lads!!), Firebird, Serpent Venom, A Million Miles, Gringo, Shebrew, Gurt and Dopefight.
2012 will be even better, we'll give birth to our second album which again will be recorded by the awesome Greg Chandler but mixed and mastered by Tony Reed of Stone Axe. we're supporting A Pale Horse Named Death (members of Type of Negative, Biohazard and Life of Agony - tickets £9 from us with free p&p), we're featuring on the Fallng Down zine compilation (track can be listened to here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl8aLhOpAew
) We're embarking on a couple of tours... more details soon but one will hopefully be with a PsycheDOOMelic label mate, the mighty DesertFest in Camden in April, and the International Powerhouse Doom Fest at Scruffy Murphys with Stone Axe (USA), Stubb (UK), Trippy Wicked and the Kosmic Children of the Knight (UK), Cultura Tres (VEN) and Banda de la Muerte (ARG).
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! See you in 2012!
Big thanks to Desert Scene for putting this show on and for all the support that people gave us, there was a lot of sweaty love in that room!! The awesome reviewers and photographers from Midlands Rocks were in attendance and their thoughts can be read here:
All blog posts by Alunah
Upcoming Alunah Gigs >>
Saturday 6th May
MFC, Coevorden (NL)
Sunday 7th May
Route 66, Dusseldorf (DE)
Monday 8th May
Music City, Antwerp (BE)
Tuesday 9th May
Kurzbar, Mannheim (DE)
Wednesday 10th May
Immerhin, Würzburg (DE)
Thursday 11th May
Coq d'Or, Olten (CH)
Friday 12th May
Bloom, Mezzago (IT)