Alunah bring you Doom and Metal with a magical Folklore theme and are based in the depths of Birmingham. They formed back in 2006 and despite having undergone a few changes over the years, they retain the fitting description of ‘Psych Blues Doomsters’. As with many creative spirits, they used the lockdown years to write new material and this latest album, their sixth, is the end product. ’Strange Machine’ can be said to be more varied than its predecessors, as it echoes the personal struggles that each of the band members faced, during the last two years.
The title track quietly whirls and spins before creeping into view. Temperate chords from Matt Noble, blend with the soulful vocals of Siân Greenaway as it glides along. More intersecting guitar is followed by Dan Burchmore’s haunting bass, which makes this quite an intricate opener. ‘Over The Hills’ is simply crafted and rises in the midst with graceful tempo, then the guitar strings are overlapped with the undercurrent of the rhythm section. The album develops as we reach the third song ‘Fade Into Fantasy’, melodic and floating vocals add a ghostly ambiance, making it quite a stirring piece. The drums of Jake Mason herald the start of ‘Broken Stone’ which has a lower and increasingly demonic tone. Tapping into ’Sabbath’ for inspiring riffs, the essence of the ‘Heavy Metal’ sound is clearly apparent. I like the higher ‘whoo hoo’ vocals on ‘Psychedelic Expressway’ which brings a transparent and clearer side to the band. Enticing with its lighter edge, it lingers holding you in its arms for a moment, before drifting away into the vastness. ‘The Earth Spins’ has guest guitarist, Shane Wesley of Crowbar on board. Another track that offers simplistic chimes, but binds together with succulent intertwining sections. At over five minutes in length it carries weight and diversity and is one of the stand out numbers, written to highlight personal issues from Siân and the band.
There’s quite a contrast with ‘Silver’ the temperature soars during this slightly faster episode. Still hovering with a sense of doom and murk though and the guitars set the tone, with riveting solos and deeper riffs. ‘Teaching Carnal Sins’ is a title that’s thought provoking if nothing else. It’s a song with a pulse and more eerie vocals from Siân. As it gets into its stride, it cavorts with a roaring pace and there are more individual guitar licks before the sudden finish. ‘Dead Woman Walking’ sums up the theme of how this album was conceived. There are more note pickings and a slow chug, that epitomise the feel of desperation and after all nine tracks, you can finally sense how Alunah came to write this impressive piece of work.
An album that twists and bends, taking you into the realm of confused minds. But minds that have survived and have allowed their personal issues help to create such an array of fascinating music. ‘Strange Machine’ indeed, but wondrous and illuminating.
‘An album that twists and bends, taking you into the realm of confused minds, Wondrous and illuminating’
Highlights – Strange Machine , Psychedelic Expressway, The Earth Spins, Silver.
Alunah are – Siân Greenaway – Vocals Matt Noble – Guitar Dan Burchmore – Bass & Jake Mason – Drums
Tracklisting – 1. Strange Machine 2. Over The Hills 3. Fade Into Fantasy 4. Broken Stone 5. Psychedelic Expressway 6. The Earth Spins ( With Guest, Shane Wesley of Crowbar) 7. Silver 8. Teaching Carnal Sins 9. Dead Woman Walking
ALBUM Available here –
15 ULTRA LTD TEST PRESS VINYL
150 ULTRA LTD TRANSPARENT SPLATTER BLUE-ORANGE VINYL
400 LTD BABY BLUE VINYL
Produced by Chris Fielding
Relased by Heavy Psych Sounds
Artwork by Mariano Peccinetti.