Alunah – Awakening the Forest (2014)

Label: Napalm Records

Review by Alessandra Cognetta

Fall seems to be a good season for doom metal, as UK’s Alunah have released their newest effort, “Awakening the Forest”, at the beginning of October. The band follows the direction set with “White Hoarhound”, greatly polishing their path in the process. Alunah managed to reach a good balance between defining their own style and keeping close to the roots of traditional stoner doom at the same time.

They are able to create a heavy atmosphere even with simple means, as the bass-lead crescendo from the opener “Bricket Wood Coven” shows. Soph Day’s vocals go hand in hand with the instruments, never taking over. Her voice is steady and elusive at once, delivering the lyrics with ease. The lyrical themes are obscure and intriguing, taking inspiration from ancient English traditions, legends and celebrations from the Middle Ages. They are supported by a matching arrangement that keeps dark tones and a slow, almost ritualistic pace. There are exceptions, like the first single, “Heavy Bough”, where the rhythm seamlessly shift into groovier sounds, when needed. The eerie, intertwining vocal lines in the following title track set off one of the most noteworthy songs of this release, showcasing a wide range of emotions. “The Mask of Herne” is a great example of how Alunah implemented different moods and energies into one piece. Another inspired moment is the second half “The Scourge and the Kiss”, especially its solo, bursting in the outro. The bonus track, “The Summerland”, is an emotional, gloomy ballad and one of the most interesting songs Alunah provides in an already strong album.

The sound, rough and sometimes a bit distant, fits really well with the overall musical setting. The album is homogeneous and well-structured, offering a variety of different moments even throughout a single song. Alunah is able to build tension and a growing expectation in the listener, who can do nothing but wait for the songs to unfold, note after note. “Awakening the Forest” is definitely an achievement for the English band, who proved their worth with this mesmerizing release.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Bricket Wood Coven
  2. Heavy Bough
  3. Awakening the Forest
  4. The Mask of Herne
  5. Scourge and the Kiss
  6. The Summerland (Bonus Track)

 

Line Up

  • Soph Day – Vocals & Guitar
  • Dave Day – Guitar
  • Dan Burchmore – Bass
  • Jake Mason – Drums

 

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