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Alunah - Violet Hour

Alunah
Violet Hour
by Gary Hernandez at 26 September 2019, 5:08 AM

When I learned that ALUNAH would be releasing a new album, “Violet Hour,” in October 2019, I went to the beginning of their catalogue and spent the summer listening through every album as well as their “Amber & Gold” EP. Some of the albums I got stuck on, like “Call of the Avernus,” “Solennial,” and, of course, “Amber & Gold.”  Others I breezed through while still appreciating. I can’t remember when I got turned on to ALUNAH, but I do recall being devastated when Sophie Day left the band. It’s so hard for bands to recover from that type of loss, but then came Siân Greenaway and the “Amber & Gold” EP and the world righted itself . . . for a short time, at least. In early 2019 guitarist David Day announced his departure and hence my summer of nostalgia.

So here we are on the cusp of October. The new ALUNAH hits on October 11, and I was fortunate enough to score the review promo from my editors at Metal-Temple. For those who are new to ALUNAH, they are a Doom/Stoner Metal group out of Birmingham, England. They formed in 2007 and hit their stride in 2010 with their first full-length album, “Call of the Avernus.” They now have four albums, two EPs, and one split under their belt, not including their upcoming release. They have a velvety tonality, with a dark, bluesy undercurrent. Thematically, much of their work focuses on nature, pagan rites, folklore, and such, though their recent EP, “Amber & Gold,” signaled a shift to more mundane topics like unrequited love with a phenomenal cover of CHRIS ISAAK’s “Wicked Game.”


With “Violet Hour,” ALUNAH seems to continue edging into new subject matter while staying true to their melodic Doom roots. “Trapped & Bound” leads the album. It is a steady, bottom-heavy track accented with the band’s signature silky, harmonic vocals. This track lets the listener know that the despite a turbulent year, the band has not slipped. By track three, the band kicks into overdrive and delivers probably the best track on the album, “Hunt.” Since Albert King’s recording of “The Hunter” in 1967, the hunt has been a rich blues archetype. “Hunt” certainly lives up to the legacy. If it is true that every album needs at least one massive track, this is it.

Other notable tracks include “Unholy Disease” which, in trademark ALUNAH fashion, completely lights up at the three-quarter mark, and “Lake of Fire,” with its alternating movements and mythic imagery. “Velvet” is one of the most intriguing compositions on the album. It starts off with heavy boots of lead off-set with Sian’s layered vocals intoning foreboding lyrics. What really adds depth is the ultra bluesy break at the 3:33 (!) mark. Burchmore puts down a thick, resonate bass line and Ashton leisurely weaves his way through it for a solid minute like he just met devil at the crossroads.

I can’t say “Violet Hour” is the best album in the ALUNAH catalogue, but it is certainly very good. After their recent shakeups, it is remarkable they got this album out at all. It speaks to the intestinal fortitude of the band, and I know ALUNAH fans, new and old, will be thrilled with the result.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production:  8


4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Trapped & Bound
2. Dance of Deceit
3. Hunt
4. Hypnotised
5. Violet Hour
6. Unholy Disease
7. Velvet
8. Lake of Fire
Lineup:
Jake Mason - Drums
Daniel Burchmore - Bass
Siân Greenaway - Vocals
Dean Ashton - Guitars 
Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
     


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Edited 22 October 2021
 

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