Alunah – “Awakening The Forest” (Napalm Records)
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.