‘Awakening The Forest’
Release Date: 6th October 2014
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.
Soph Day – Vocals & Guitar
Dave Day – Guitar
Dan Burchmore – Bass
Jake Mason – Drums