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Alunah : White Hoarhound

With Alunah's last offering, Stoner fans will not find a better soundtrack for their autumnal ritual fires.

During the first seconds, I was sure I had done a mistake and put my old copy of 'Spine Of God' into my player. But no, this is not your Dave Wyndorff singing but the charming Sophie Day. Now, last time I'd heard Alunah, it was on their split with Queen Elephantine in 2009: At that time, the Birmingham-based band was already taking the own road out of pure Orange Goblin infused Stoner Rock to something heavier and darker. So, it doesn't come as a real suprise to hear the band now sounding like a spacey pagan version of Acid King - with the same kind of fat and thundering bass lines.

If the British outfit displays more or less the same kind of guitar and bass tone than the Californians, it's the vocals that make the real difference. Somehow, Sophie Day sings more like she's fronting a plain "classic" Doom band, and in some songs she sounds a bit like Sabine Hamad-Linfoot from Rituals Of The Oak : the same nostalgic vibe in the voice, the same longing-for-yesteryear moods. This is quite striking in the two-part 'Oak Ritual', which has a strong psychedelic heaviness yet does hold a touching melancholy as if Miss Day was mourning good things long gone. Still, this is pure Stoner Doom: the opening riff and the priestess-like singing of Sophie Day on 'Demeter's Grief' brings to mind vivid images of old rituals in a temple in ruins under the full moon. On the other hand, the eponymous song sounds like if Candlemass has suddenly decided to include Jus Osborn and Liz Cuningham in their line-up : the chorus has this kind of venomous line and melody, that'll get stuck in your head for some long, long time.

True to the Stoner Doom ethos, the songs don't mind a bit of speeding and are full of intense heat and majestic hallucniatory solos. A lot of praise must be sung to the excellent guitar work of David Day on this album, which is even better than his contribution to Sonic Lord. The year 2012 has already seen the release of plenty of great albums of the Stoner Doom genre (like the two parts ofhe conceptual 'Oro', from Ufomammut), and that Alunah's offering deserves to be mentioned among them. I hope they'll continue that way, for they're pretty good at doing what they do and it could get even better. Right now, Stoner fans will not find a better soundtrack for their autumnal ritual fires: the season of the witch has never sounded so appealing.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Demeter's Grief
2. White Hoarhound
3. Belial's Fjord
4. The Offering
5. Chester Midsummer Watch Parade
6. Oak Ritual I
7. Oak Ritual II

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes

Visit the Alunah bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-09-03 by Laurent Lignon
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