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Album Review : Alunah – ‘Violet Hour

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Midlands four-piece Alunah show that, without doubt, you can take something primal and brutal but turn it into a thing of beauty. Their 60’s tinged doom metal follows in the footsteps of pioneers Black Sabbath but is, if anything, more unnerving than the Legends ever released and, with Sian Greenaway fronting the band, have a vocalist who can really seduce the listener.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMnKYDlJgVo&w=560&h=315]

Trapped and Bound’ opens with dense riffs and heavy as thunder drums before enchanting vocals come in sounding like an angry Grace Slick and finally Dean Ashton kicks in with a tasty, funked up guitar solo. ‘Dance of Deceit’ also makes a huge impression, driving and forceful, it doesn’t just bluster and crush but does something more subtle and deadly too.

Having the air of something that could have been penned at the tale end of the days of ‘flower power’, ‘Hunt’ is a gorgeous and seductive slice of heavy and twisted psychedelia. Hypnotic and strangely futuristic, it radiates a sense of edgy wonder as Greenaway comes across as a primal and earthy force.

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The singer comes to the fore again as she mesmerises over the cascading stoner fretwork of the aptly titled ‘Hypnotised’, the track swirling and pulsating to a shuddering finish. The album’s title track turns more towards a menacing blues shuffle with drummer Jake Mason and Daniel Burchmore on bass really turning up the heat, their playing hitting a solid groove and they then truly launch into the galloping riff of ‘Unholy Disease’.

One of the most epic tracks on the release, this is a full-blooded assault on the senses as the huge vocals and guitar solo lift the song out into the stratosphere.

Not to be outdone or anti-climactic, ‘Velvet’ blends a riff almost plucked from Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ with the mystical and Far Eastern vibe of Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ to devastating effect but the band manage to top even this with closer ‘Lake of Fire’.

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Opening with some cool keys playing, the track is a real head trip, yet more exquisite vocals grow and swell until they’re the size to fill a cathedral. The huge scale and ambition of Alanuh is encapsulated in this final track but, in truth, the whole album is a one titanic magic carpet ride from start to finish. The aural equivalent of Hansel and Gretel’s forest, ‘Violet Hour’ is certainly something to get yourself lost in.

Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

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