Alunah – “Solennial” (Svart Records)
Hailing from the sacred soil of Sabbath, self styled ‘Heavy Earth Musicians’ Alunah do exactly that on their spell bounding new album! Formed just over 10 years ago in Birmingham’s black country, Alunah’s music is decidedly less dark or heavvvy than the likes of Iommi & co, preferring to take a more earthy trip through the gentle, hypnotic vocals of Sophie Day. However, that’s not to say that their doom cast label is a misnomer, cos when guitarist David Day switches on the fuzz and hits the reverb, you can certainly feel the power from their amps as the matching rhythm of bassist Daniel Burchmore and drummer Jake Mason kick in! Steadfast in their approach across 3 prior albums, what I like about this band (besides having that quintessential English doom style) is the way in which there is a karmic feel to their material, so rather than compose, there is a natural vibe to which they add their nature worship and folkloric grooves to make for a captivating psychedelic sun worshiping trip! From the dark, pagan vibe of ‘Light of Winter’ with its slightly raw guitar contrasting beautifully with the trippy harmonies to ‘Petrichor’ (named after the scent produced when rain falls on dry soil) that begins with a lightly plucked guitar and Sophie’s soulful wails before a wave of stoner fuzz heaviness descends like a mist enshrouding a forest, it’s all here in the beauty of “Solennial”. Completing the stone circle for me was the droning heaviness of ‘The Reckoning of Time’, defining why this band is so special from Sophie’s ethereal tones to David’s far our guitar and Mason’s pounding drums, all of which make for a catchy, groovy trip but also a spiritual one in the most down to earth sense that a soul could allow.