ALBUM REVIEW: Alunah ‘Awakening The Forest’

Alunah Awakening The Forest

ALUNAH
‘Awakening The Forest’
Napalm Records
(Released October 2014)
8/10

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.

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