UK band ALUNAH was formed back in 2006, and from 2010 and onward they have released studio albums at a steady pace. “Solennial” is their fourth studio production, and was released through Finnish label Svart Records in the spring of 2017.
Doom metal can be quite a few different things, but Alunah wears the doom mantle proudly from what I can see. And they have opted for a classic doom metal sound too, at least as the main foundation and common denominator running through their most recent album. The name Black Sabbath is, indeed, one easy and even needed to drop early on when describing their compositions.
This is a band that love their vintage Iommi riffs, and to the extent that they are pushed to the front of the mix at that. The guitar riffs is a dominating presence, and when not in a distinct classic Sabbath mode they opt for a darker, more massive sound that to my ears is comparable with what Electric Wizard did on their classic “Dopethrone” album.
There is a bit more to this band than merely replicating the classic sounds of Black Sabbath and, at least to a minor extent, Electric Wizard. The carefully controlled and distinctly atmospheric laden lead vocals of Sophie Day represents one additional dimension, mixed beneath the guitar riffs and thus providing a contrast both in tone and presence, which suits this material rather well. The frequent use of plucked guitar details, as opening prologues as well as on longer passages in the songs, does add something of a folky vibe to the material as well. The flowing, elegant guitar soloing serves as a fine contrast to the darker and more massive guitar riffs, and the occasional use of strings, presumably cello, does flavor the songs in which they are used with a slight Gothic presence as well. On concluding track A Forest a bit of a new wave feel is added in, which rather comes with the territory one might expect, as this is a piece originally penned and performed by The Cure.
While Alunah is a band that does have their own subtle identity marks on the music they explore, vintage doom metal is the name of the game here, and those who are fondly in love with the guitar sound used by Black Sabbath in the 70’s and to some extent also the more massive version of these used by bands such as Electric Wizard should know their visiting time with this band and this album. Especially if they also like music of this specific nature performed with a female lead vocalist.
My rating: 80/100
The Dying Soil, Light of Winter, Feast of Torches, The Reckoning of Time, Fire of Thornborough Henge, Petrichor, Lugh’s Assembly, A Forest