“Doom with a difference” was my first impression after playing the 2nd full length studio album, White Hoarhound by Birmingham based Pagan doom metal band Alunah. The reason for this is the haunting vocals of female Soph Day. I have not come across a female fronted doom metal band before and her clean delivery gives the listener insight to the meaning of the 7 tracks here.
White Hoarhound follows their debut album Call Of Averlus and e.p Fall To Earth but is their first release on PscychDOOMelic Records due out on Monday,Sept. 3rd. Recorded by Greg Chandler and mixed/mastered by Tony Reed, it is nearly 50 minutes of crushing but at times melodic doom metal.
The sign of a good doom metal band is feedback and a surge of this opens the album’s first track, the claustrophobic Demeter’s Grief. The main riff comes in with Gaz Imber’s bass weaving in and out of it. The song comes to life when Soph’s vocals begin. Demeter’s Grief’s almost 8 minute length has 2 Black Sabbath type tempo changes with intermittent guitar solos. The tone of which bring to mind Ed Mundel, ex Monster Magnet guitarist. The title track follows with lumbering guitars with a higher range vocal. There is a Thin Lizzy style guitar break midway, that is if they played it at Alunah speed!
Belial’s Fjord begins with an Indian wardance style drum patterns as heavily distorted guitars rise and fall around them. A very atmospheric number, again just under the 8 minute mark, giving the band an opportunity to punish their instruments as Soph wails ” Yeah eh eh Belial’s Fjord “. The pace picks up with the mid paced stomp of The Offering with a stoner riff similar to Kiss’ Detroit Rock City! The guitar solo midway slows the track right down, trading notes with the bass guitar.
Chester Midsummer Witch Parade’s spacey intro is followed by a juddering bass riff which is then taken on by guitar as if it wasn’t heavy enough already! It surges like this until the 5 minute mark as the tempo shifts with added serrating wah wah guitar solos. White Hoarhound closes with parts 1 & 2 of Oak Ritual. Part 1 is a brief acoustic/keyboard lead number with a pleading vocal. The 11 minute Part 2 is a different beast altogether as one fuzzed up riff after another compete with hammer blow drums. This continues until the 4th minute as a guitar solo incorporates the main riff with a lilting vocal as the song fades out at 7 minutes. After 2 minute’s silence, the song ends with keyboards over a thunderstorm sound effect.
White Hoarhound is a very challenging but rewarding listening experience and i can highly recommend it for fans of stoner/doom/psychedelic metal.
I award the album 9.5/10.
Track listing :-
Chester Midsummer’s Witch Parade.
Oak Ritual Parts 1 & 2.
Band line up :-
Soph Day – Vocals/guitar.
Dave Day – Guitar.
Gaz Imber- Bass.
Jake Mason – Drums.