I’ve been following the folk in Alunah for a few years now. In 2015, I ended up interviewing them three times and managed to see them live quite a few times as well. Whilst I don’t normally listen to this sort of music, there’s always been something about their music which makes it that bit different to their peers. So, let’s see if that theme continues with their latest effort, Solennial.
Right off the bat, it’s a bit different to normal with an almost haunting sounding clean guitar-driven song. Vocalist Sophie Day’s vocals cut through perfectly and add that little cherry on top to the spooky cake. The typical heavily distorted guitars then slam down into the groove laden track that is “Light of Winter”. Having a mid-paced feel to it, it’s hard to not to nod along to the song’s catchy rhythms held down by both Sophie and David Day (guitar).
“Feast of Torches”, reintroduces the clean sounding guitars to begin with before, once again, the noise comes in with drummer Jake adding a good bit of drive to the song. Featuring somewhat of a joint-vocal chorus, it keeps things interesting amidst the groove and riffing. Coming in like a tonne of bricks, “The Reckoning of Time” falls away almost as instantly as it came in. There is a little too much sibilance on the vocals for my liking however. Whether that’s due to the effect on the vocals or the dynamic processing, is very hard to determine. Ending with a joint guitar harmony, the track slowly fades away into the lulls of time and space.
Retaining the groove and adding in some harmonies in the choruses, “Fire of Thornborough Henge” keeps the same tried and tested formula of the other songs but adds little bits here and there to keep things from getting samey. “Petrichor” once again brings the clean guitars back along with what sounds like a cello adding the under melody before the rest of the instruments come in to take over the groove. Having the cello adding a small under-melody adds just that bit extra to the track and makes it one of my personal favourites on the album.
“Lugh’s Assembly” opens with a joint guitar harmony before once again slamming down into the sweet nectar of the main groove. Of particular note, Daniel Burchmore’s bass playing on this track sounds particularly good and sits just right in the mix. Ending proceedings, “A Forest” is actually a cover song. The band have played it when I’ve seen them in the past but have never actually released a recording of their own. Their unique take on it ends the album beautifully and builds open the original in a manner I’ve not heard before.
I’ll openly admit that this sort of music is a bit outside of what I normally listen to. Normally, you’d find me listening to something like Aborted or Persefone or something much more high speed and aggressive. With this album however, it fits perfectly with the jazz-phase that I’ve been going through recently.
Solennial can be considered a step-up from their previous album and is, arguably, one of the most complete albums I’ve heard in a while. Each track expertly flows into the next and like Persefone’s latest, you can’t really jump in at any one point. If I was a vinyl collector, this album would find a warm and welcome place amongst the collection.
Standout tracks: “Feast of Torches”, “Petrichor”, “A Forest”