Review & Track Premiere: Alunah, Solennial

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on March 1st, 2017 by JJ Koczan

alunah solennial

[Click play above to hear the premiere of ‘A Forest’ from Alunah’s Solennial. Album is out March 17 on Svart Records.]

Visions of countryside rituals, changing seasons, old growth forests and the quiet, wistful contemplations that these ideas can inspire are nothing new atmospherically for Midlands four-piece Alunah, who from their earliest goings have had a strong sense of aesthetic mindfulness and set about developing it. 2017 marks a decade since their first demo, Crystal Voyage, and what they’ve accomplished in the last 10 years is considerable, from their nascent Fall to Earth EP in 2008 and 2009’s split with Queen Elephantine (review here) up through Solennial, their fourth album, which aligns them with respected purveyor Svart Records and brings forth their most complex and deepest-running work yet.

One can trace a clear line of progression on Alunah‘s albums, across 2010’s Call of Avernus (review here), 2012’s White Hoarhound (review here) and 2014’s Awakening the Forest (review here), but the eight tracks/43 minutes of Solennial celebrate a particular moment of arrival for them. Working alongside much-lauded producer and Conan bassist/vocalist Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio, Alunah — guitarist/vocalist Sophie Day, guitarist Dave Day, bassist Daniel Burchmore and drummer Jake Mason — bring more of an ambient sensibility to their output than ever before, and while Fielding is known for his own crushing tones and those he’s able to bring out of others in the studio, and Solennial is plenty heavy in its raw sound, it’s the spaces that Alunah create and fill that allow these songs to come to life in the vivid, colorful way they do.

To wit, the layers of guitar in subdued intro “The Dying Soil” arrive both far forward and far back, and the room between them comes populated by foreboding string sounds. It’s more than a minute before Mason‘s drums enter with thudding toms behind Sophie‘s vocals, calm and descriptive, and the tension the band creates in that moment isn’t unlike what SubRosa brought to “Despair is a Siren” last year, but as “The Dying Soil” ends with a single snare hit snapping the listener to attention, they of course take their own path into the woods. Those curious, as I was, to hear what kinds of tones Alunah would get out of recording at Skyhammer receive an answer in about the first six seconds of “Light of Winter,” which begins with guitar alone proffering a rich, full and churning fuzz, warm and engrossing. It becomes a defining element of Solennial and lends the band a foundation from which to wonder as they will and do.

“Light of Winter” itself is more straightforward in its rolling groove, though Burchmore adds intriguing fills on bass as he’ll do even more righteously in the subsequent “Feast of Torches,” and as songwriting has always been a strength for Alunah, it’s little surprise that “Light of Winter” begins a succession of memorable cuts running through the rest of side A and beyond. And to Solennial‘s credit, it stays informed by the quiet beginning it goes on from “The Dying Soil,” which seems to find an echo at the start of “Feast of Torches.” Though the latter moves into its nod patiently, that only seems to make it more comfortable once it gets there, and the hook is marked out by the addition of male backing vocals behind Sophie, which will come even more to prominence later on the penultimate “Lugh’s Assembly” and bring a gothic flair to the catchiness in the meantime. “Feast of Torches” explores heavy-psych lead work briefly but ends on its chorus and gives way to the ultra-heavy thud and rumble of “The Reckoning of Time,” which clears to let the first verse take hold over guitar and empty space, gradually brought to a movement of airy tones, layered voice and mid-paced toms that kicks into later-Iommi-style riffing.

It’s ultimately with “Feast of Torches” and “The Reckoning of Time” that the narrative of Solennial seems to really let itself be felt. As Alunah shift into “Fire of Thornborough Henge,” “Petrichor,” “Lugh’s Assembly” and the closing The Cure cover, “A Forest,” the lyrics seem to tie together ideas across tracks, and indeed across albums, as Awakening the Forest is alluded to several times, first in “Fire of Thornborough Henge” and then again in “Petrichor” directly. The final two cuts mention forests as well — you might say it’s the title of the last song, which is the first recorded cover Alunah have done — in a more general way, seemingly as a metaphor for confusion, grief, and the seeking of resolution. This would also tie Solennial to its predecessor, but if Alunah needed to distinguish their fourth outing from their third, they do so both in the execution of this conceptual focus and in the performances within the tracks themselves, whether it’s Burchmore‘s bass, which continues to shine, or Sophie‘s vocals, which show greater range throughout but make a particular highlight of “Fire of Thornborough Henge” and carry “Petrichor” through the bulk of its brooding run — string sounds returning deep in the mix along with plotted lead lines of weeping guitar — until the build playing out subtly behind her reaches its apex in greater force of guitar, bass and drums.

Further, Alunah grow more brazen in toying with structure on “Lugh’s Assembly,” the longest inclusion at 7:52. It essentially breaks in half just about four minutes in, departing its initial verse and chorus in favor of a quieter, progressive flow. The drift is held together first by Sophie‘s vocals and then by a fuzzy guitar solo, and “Lugh’s Assembly” rounds out with the reintroduction of those backing vocals for a few lines, again, goth in their impression. They’re quickly arrived and gone — it really is just a few lines — but a new dynamic for Alunah and a point of potential future growth. As Mason‘s drums pick up to start “A Forest,” joined soon by guitar and bass, the atmosphere remains affected by the track prior, though the intro has little in the end to do with the plodding that emerges in the finale at about a minute into the total six-plus.

One can strain to hear some Electric Wizard brought to the closer at points, but again, this is folded into Alunah‘s overarching intent, which has become all the more individual over time and reaches new heights in that regard on Solennial as well. Ending with a momentary push-into-slowdown that brings the strings back up to close along with the last crashes, “A Forest” even as an adopted song underscores the boldness of the four-piece’s forward movement here, instrumentally, vocally, in arrangement, craft and production. Now past their first 10 years, Alunah have yet to conjure an offering that did not build off what they’ve done in the past while introducing new aspects to their sound, and though they’ve never been prone to drastic shifts — that is, one can feel reasonably certain in putting on “The Reckoning of Time” that they’re not about to start playing grindcore for no reason in the middle of it — they’ve only become steadier in their approach. Solennial basks in a solar ritualizing true to its etymology, but moreover, it carries a feeling of mastery behind its creation that stands in henge-like testament to Alunah‘s hard-won maturity as a band. By no means to they seem like they are finished growing, but then, a forest never is.

Alunah on Thee Facebooks

Alunah webstore

Svart Records website

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Tomorrow’s Dream: 200+ of 2017’s Most Anticipated Releases

Posted in Features on January 23rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

tomorrow's dream 2017

Looks like it’s going to be another busy 12 months ahead. It’s been a busy better-part-of-a-month already, so that stands to reason, but you should know that of the several years now that I’ve done these ‘Tomorrow’s Dream’ posts, this is the biggest one yet, with over 150 upcoming releases that — one hopes — will be out between today and the end of 2017.

Actually, at last count, the list tops 180. Do I really expect you to listen to all of them? Nope. Will I? Well, it would be nice. But what I’ve done is gone through and highlighted 35 picks and then built lists off that in order of likelihood of arrival. You’ll note the categories are ‘Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates,’ ‘Definitely Could Happen’ and ‘Would be Awfully Nice.’

Beyond that last one, anything else just seems like speculation — one might as well go “new Sabbath this year!” with zero info backing it up. The idea here is that no matter where a given band is placed, there has been some talk of a new release. In some cases, it’s been years, but I think they’re still worth keeping in mind.

Another caveat: You can expect additions to this list over the next week — probably album titles, band names people (fingers crossed) suggest in the comments, and so on — so it will grow. It always does. The idea is to build as complete a document as possible, not to get it all nailed down immediately, so please, if you have something to contribute and you’re able to do so in a non-prickish, “You didn’t include Band X and therefore don’t deserve to breathe the same air as me,” kind of way, please contribute.

Other than that, I think it’s pretty straightforward what’s going on here and I’ll explain the category parameters as we go, so by all means, let’s jump in.

— Tomorrow’s Dream 2017 —

Presented Alphabetically

1. Abrahma, TBA

Late last year, Paris heavy progressives Abrahma announced a new lineup and third full-length in progress. No reason to think it won’t come to fruition, and a follow-up to 2015’s Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird (review here) is an easy pick to look forward to. Even with the shift in personnel, it seems likely the band will continue their creative development, driven as they are by founding guitarist Seb Bismuth.

2. All Them Witches, Sleeping Through the War

all them witches sleeping through the warIf 2017 ended today, Sleeping Through the War would be my Album of the Year. Of course, there’s a lot of year to go, but for now, Nashville’s All Them Witches have set the standard with their second album for New West Records behind 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker (review here) and fourth overall outing. They’ve got videos up so far for “3-5-7” (posted here) and “Bruce Lee” (posted here). Both are most definitely worth your time. Out Feb. 24. Full review should be later this week.

3. Alunah, Solennial

Seems like UK forest riffers Alunah are on this list every year. Wishful thinking on my part. Nonetheless, their fourth LP and Svart Records debut, Solennial, is out March 17, and if the tease they gave already with the clip for “Fire of Thornborough Henge” (posted here) is anything to go from, its Chris Fielding-produced expanses might just be Alunah‘s most immersive yet.

4. Arbouretum, TBA

I asked the Baltimore folk fuzzers a while back on Thee Facebooks if they had a new record coming in 2017 and they said yes, so that’s what I’m going on here. The last Arbouretum album was 2013’s Coming out of the Fog (review here), and even with frontman Dave Heumann‘s 2015 solo outing, Here in the Deep (review here), factored in, you’d have to say they’re due. Keep an eye on Thrill Jockey for word and I’ll do the same.

5. Atavismo, Inerte

This is another one that already has a spot reserved for it on my Best-of-2017 year-end list. Spanish heavy psych rockers Atavismo up the progressive bliss level with their second full-length, Inerte, without losing the depth of style that made 2014’s Desintegración (review here) so utterly glorious. It probably won’t have the biggest marketing budget of 2017, but if you let Atavismo fly under your radar, you are 100 percent missing out on something special.

6. Bison Machine, TBA

In addition to the video for new track “Cloak and Bones” that premiered here, when Michigan raucousness-purveyors Bison Machine put out the dates for their fall 2016 tour, they included further hints of new material in progress. As much as I dug their earlier-2016 split with SLO and Wild Savages (review here) and 2015’s Hoarfrost (review here), that’s more than enough for me to include them on this list. Killer next-gen heavy rock.

7. Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, TBA

News of a follow-up to Brothers of the Sonic Cloth‘s 2015 Neurot Recordings self-titled debut (review here) came through in October, and it remains some of the best news I’ve heard about 2017 doings. Took them a while to get the first record out, so we’ll see what happens, but it kind of feels like looking forward to a comet about to smash into the planet and cause a mass extinction, and by that I mean awesome. Can’t get here soon enough.

8. Cloud Catcher, Trails of Kosmic Dust

cloud catcher trails of kosmic dustOkay, so maybe I jumped the gun and did a super-early review of Denver trio Cloud Catcher‘s second long-player and Totem Cat Records debut, Trails of Kosmic Dust, but hell, no regrets. Some albums require an early-warning system. Their 2015 debut, Enlightened Beyond Existence (discussed here), was a gem as well, but this is a band in the process of upping their game on every level, and the songwriting and momentum they hone isn’t to be missed.

9. Colour Haze, TBA

I’ve gotten some details on the upcoming full-length from Colour Haze. They do not include a title, artwork, audio, song titles or general direction. Less details, I guess, than word that the CD version of this answer to 2015’s To the Highest Gods We Know (review here) is set to come out next month, as ever, on Elektrohasch. That puts it out in time for Colour Haze‘s upcoming tour with My Sleeping Karma (announced here). Fingers crossed it happens. Colour Haze are perpetual top-albums candidates in my book.

10. Corrosion of Conformity, TBA

Signed to Nuclear Blast after being rejoined by guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, North Carolina’s C.O.C. have been in the studio since last year. The lineup of Keenan, bassist/vocalist Mike Dean and guitarist Woody Weatherman and Reed Mullin on drums is the stuff of legend and last worked together on 2000’s America’s Volume Dealer, so no question this reunion makes for one of 2017’s most anticipated heavy rock records. They nailed the nostalgia factor on tour. Can they now add to their legacy?

11. Elder, TBA

I was incredibly fortunate about a month ago to visit progressive heavy rockers Elder at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA, during the recording process for their upcoming fourth album. I heard a couple of the tracks, and of course it was all raw form, but the movement forward from 2015’s Lore (review here) was palpable. That LP (on Stickman) brought them to a wider audience, and I expect no less from this one as well, since the farther out Elder go sound-wise, the deeper the level of connection with their listeners they seem to engage.

12. Electric Wizard, TBA

Could happen, could not happen. That’s how it goes. Announced for last Halloween. That date came and went. Word of trouble building their own studio surfaced somewhere along the line. That was the last I heard. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up tomorrow, if it showed up in 2018, or if the band broke up and never put it out. They’re Electric Wizard. Anything’s possible.

13. John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues

Out Jan. 28 on NapalmThe Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues (review here) is the first-ever acoustic album from former Kyuss frontman John Garcia, also of Unida, the reunited Slo BurnHermanoVista ChinoZun, etc. — basically the voice of desert rock. He does a couple Kyuss classics for good measure, but shines as well on the new/original tracks, and while it’s a piece for fans more than newcomers — that is, it helps if you know the original version of “Green Machine” — his presence remains as powerful as ever despite this new context.

14. Goya, Harvester of Bongloads

Riffs, dude. Goya seem to have them to spare. The Arizona-based wizard doomers have set a pretty prolific clip for themselves at this point, with at least two short releases out in 2016, one a 7″ of Nirvana covers (review here), and the The Enemy EP (review here). Set for a March 3 release through their own Opoponax Records imprint, Harvester of Bongloads continues the march into the abyss that 2015’s Obelisk (review here) and 2013’s 777 set in motion, finding the band coming more into their own as well. Creative growth — and bongloads! The best of both worlds.

15. Ides of Gemini, TBA

Ides of Gemini are set to record their yet-untitled third album with Sanford Parker early this year, and it will also mark their debut on Rise Above Records upon its release. They’ve also got a new lineup around vocalist Sera Timms and guitarist J. Bennett, so as they look to move forward from 2014’s Old World New Wave (review here), one can’t help but wonder what to expect, but to be honest, not knowing is part of the appeal, especially from a band who so readily specialize in the ethereal.

16. Kind, TBA

Three-fourths of Kind feature elsewhere on this list. Bassist Tom Corino plays in Rozamov. Drummer Matt Couto is in Elder. Vocalist Craig Riggs is in Roadsaw. And for what it’s worth, guitarist Darryl Shepherd has a new band coming together called Test Meat. How likely does that make Kind to release a second LP in 2017? I don’t know, but their 2015 Ripple Music debut, Rocket Science (review here), deserves a follow-up, and I know they’ve demoed some new songs. If it happens, great. If it’s 2018, at least these dudes will be plenty busy besides.

17. Lo-Pan, In Tensions

lo-pan in tensionsYes, Lo-Pan‘s In Tensions (review here) has already been released — CD/LP with an artbook on Aqualamb. It’s out. Limited numbers. You can get it now. Why include it on a list of most anticipated releases? Because that’s how strongly I feel about your need to hear it. The fruit of a shortlived lineup with guitarist Adrian Zambrano, it distinguishes itself from everything they’ve done before in style while still keeping to the core righteousness that one hopes the Ohio outfit will continue to carry forward. It’s more than a stopgap between albums. Listen to it.

18. The Midnight Ghost Train, TBA

It seems to have been a rough ride for hard-boogie specialists The Midnight Ghost Train since their 2015 Napalm debut and third album overall, Cold was the Ground (review here). They’ve never taken it easy on the road or in terms of physicality on stage, and between injuries and who knows what else, their intensity at this point veers toward the directly confrontational. Nonetheless, they’ve been writing for album number four, may or may not have started the recording process, and I expect that confrontationalism to suit them well in their new material.

19. Monster Magnet, TBA

I have it on decent authority that NJ heavy psych innovators Monster Magnet were in the studio this past autumn. I’ve seen no concrete word of a new album in progress from Dave Wyndorf and company, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect to until it was time to start hyping the release, but after their two redux releases, 2015’s Cobras and Fire (review here) and 2014’s Milking the Stars (review here), their range feels broader than ever and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

20. Mothership, High Strangeness

A pivotal moment for Mothership arrives with High Strangeness, and the heavy-touring, heavy-riffing Texas power trio seem to know it. Their third record on Ripple Music pushes into new avenues of expression and keeps the energy of 2014’s Mothership II (review here) and 2012’s Mothership (review here), but thus far into their career, it’s been about their potential and what they might accomplish going forward. 2017 might be the year for Mothership to declare a definitive place in the sphere of American heavy rock.

21. The Obsessed, Sacred

On Halloween 2016, founding The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist and doom icon Scott “Wino” Weinrich announced a new lineup for the band, with his former The Hidden Hand bandmate Bruce Falkinburg on bass/vocals, Sara Seraphim on guitar and Brian Costantino continuing on drums. A genuine surprise. Their first album since 1994, Sacred (due on Relapse) was tracked as the trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman, but clearly they’ve moved into a new era already. Wouldn’t even guess what the future holds, but hopefully Sacred still comes out.

22. Orange Goblin, TBA

When it was announced that London’s Orange Goblin were picked up by Spinefarm as part of that label’s acquisition of Candlelight Records last Spring, the subheadline from the PR wire was “Working on Ninth Studio Album.” I haven’t heard much since then, but even as 2014’s Back from the Abyss (review here) pushed them deeper into metallic territory than ever before, their songs retained the character that’s made the band the institution they are. Always look forward to new Orange Goblin.

23. Pallbearer, Heartless

pallbearer heartlessDoomers, this is your whole year right here. I haven’t heard Pallbearer‘s third album, Heartless (out March 24 on Profound Lore), but I have to think even those who haven’t yet been won over by the Arkansas four-piece’s emotive, deep-running style have to be curious about what they’ve come up with this time around. I know I am. These guys have been making a mark on the genre since their 2012 debut, Sorrow and Extinction (review here), and there’s little doubt Heartless will continue that thread upon its arrival.

24. Radio Moscow, TBA

Fact: Radio Moscow stand among the best classic heavy rock live acts in the US. They’re the kind of band you can watch upwards of 15 gigs in a row — I’ve done it — and find them putting on a better show night after night, in defiance of science, logic and sobriety. Word of their signing to Century Media came just this past week and brought with it confirmation of a follow-up to 2014’s stellar Magical Dirt (review here), and for me to say hell yes, I’m absolutely on board, seems like the no-brainer to end all no-brainers. Can’t wait.

25. Roadsaw, TBA

Nearly six full years later, it’s only fair to call Boston scene godfathers Roadsaw due for a follow-up to their 2011 self-titled (review here). Granted, members have been busy in KindWhite Dynomite, and other projects, but still. Their upcoming outing finds them on Ripple Music after years under the banner of Small Stone Records, and though I haven’t seen a solid release date yet, my understanding is they hit Mad Oak Studio in Allston, MA, this past fall to track it, so seems likely for sooner or later. Sooner, preferably.

26. Rozamov, This Mortal Road

Speaking of albums by Boston bands a while in the making, This Mortal Road (out March 3 on Battleground Records and Dullest Records) is the debut full-length from Boston atmospheric extremists Rozamov. Haven’t heard it yet, but I got a taste of some of the material when I visited the band at New Alliance Audio in Aug. 2015, and the bleak expanses of what I heard seem primed to turn heads. I’m a fan of these guys, but in addition, they’ve found a niche for themselves sound-wise and I’m curious to hear how they bring it to fruition.

27. Samsara Blues Experiment, TBA

It’s been a pleasure over the last couple months to watch a resurgence of Berlin heavy psych trio Samsara Blues Experiment take shape, first with the announcement of a fourth album in October, then with subsequent confirmations for DesertfestRiff Ritual in Barcelona, and a South American tour. Reportedly due in Spring, which fits with the timing on shows, etc., the record will follow 2013’s righteous Waiting for the Flood (review here) and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing it, I’m kind of just glad to have these guys back.

28. Seedy Jeezus, TBA

Work finished earlier this month on Melbourne trio Seedy Jeezus‘ second full-length. As with their 2015 self-titled debut, the band brought Tony Reed of Mos Generator to Australia to produce, and after their blissed-out 2016 collaboration with Earthless guitarist Isaiah MitchellTranquonauts (review here), it’s hard not to wonder what experimentalist tendencies might show in the trio’s style this time out, and likewise difficult not to anticipate what guitarist Lex “Mr. Frumpy” Wattereus comes up with for the cover art.

29. Shroud Eater, Strike the Sun

Not to spoil the surprise, but Feb. 1 I’ll host a track premiere from Florida’s Shroud Eater that finds them working in a different context from everything we’ve heard from them to this point in their rightly-celebrated tenure. They also recently had a split out with Dead Hand, and their second long-player, Strike the Sun, will be their debut through STB Records. It’s been since 2011’s ThunderNoise (review here) that we last got a Shroud Eater album, so you bet your ass I’m dying to know what the last six years have wrought.

30. Sleep, TBA

If Sleep were any other band, they’d probably be in the “Would be Awfully Nice” category. But they’re Sleep, so even the thought of a new record is enough to put them here. The lords of all things coated in THC are reissuing their 2014 single, The Clarity (review here), on Southern Lord next month, but rumors have been swirling about a proper album, which of course would be their first since the now-legendary Dopesmoker. If it happens, it’ll automatically be a heavy underground landmark for 2017, but it’s one I’m going to have in my ears before I really believe it.

31. Stoned Jesus, TBA

Even as they tour playing their second album, 2012’s Seven Thunders Roar (review here), to mark its fifth anniversary and continued impact, Ukrainian trio Stoned Jesus are forging ahead with a fourth record behind 2015’s The Harvest (review here). The capital-‘q’ Question is whether or not looking back at Seven Thunders Roar and engaging that big-riffing side of their sound will have an impact on the new material, and if so, how it will meld with the push of The Harvest. Won’t speculate, but look forward to finding out.

32. Stubb, TBA

Since reveling in the soul of 2015’s Cry of the Ocean (review here) on Ripple, London trio Stubb have swapped out bassists, and they were in Skyhammer Studio this month recording a single that may be an extended psychedelic jam. I’ll take that happily, but I’m even more intrigued at the prospect of a third LP and what guitarist/vocalist Jack Dickinson, bassist/vocalist Tom Hobson and drummer Tom Fyfe might have in store as the band moves forward on multiple levels. Might be 2017, might not.

33. Sun Blood Stories, It Runs Around the Room with Us

sun blood stories it runs around the room with usIt Runs around the Room with Us seems to find peace in its resonant experimentalist drones, loops, open, subdued spaces, but there’s always some underlying sense of foreboding to its drift, as if Boise’s Sun Blood Stories could anticipate the moment before it happened. Toward the end of the follow-up to 2015’s Twilight Midnight Morning (review here), they execute the 90-second assault “Burn” and turn serenity to ash. Look for it in April and look for it again on my best of 2017 list in December.

34. Ufomammut, TBA

Any new offering from the Italian cosmic doom magnates is worth looking forward to, and while Ufomammut have left the 15-year mark behind, they’ve never stopped progressing in style and form. To wit, 2015’s Ecate (review here) was a stunner after 2012’s two-part LP, Oro (review here and review here), tightening the approach but assuring the vibe was no less expansive than ever. They started recording last summer, finished mixing in November, so I’m hoping for word of a release date soon.

35. Vokonis, The Sunken Djinn

Born out of Creedsmen Arise, whose 2015 demo, Temple (review here), offered formative thrills, Swedish trio Vokonis debuted with last year’s Olde One Ascending (review here) and proved there’s still life in post-Sleep riffing when it’s wielded properly. They signed to Ripple in November and confirmed the title of their sophomore effort as The Sunken Djinn, as well as a reissue for the first album, which will probably arrive first. I don’t know how that will affect the timing on this one, but keep an eye out anyway.

Gonna Happen and/or Likely Candidates

Obviously some of these are more likely than others. Some have solidified, announced release dates — Dopelord‘s out this month, Demon Head‘s out in April, etc. — and others come from social media posts of bands in studios and hints at upcoming releases and so on. A big tell is whether or not a band has an album title with their listing, but even some of those without have their new albums done, like Atala and Royal Thunder, so it’s not necessarily absolute.

Either way, while I’m spending your money, you might want to look into:

36. Against the Grain
37. Amenra
38. Atala
39. Attalla, Glacial Rule
40. Ayahuasca Dark Trip, II
41. Beastmaker
42. Beaten Back to Pure
43. Blackout
44. Bretus
45. Buried Feather, Mind of the Swarm
46. The Clamps
47. Cold Stares
48. Coltsblood, Ascending into the Shimmering Darkness
49. Come to Grief, The Worst of Times EP
50. Cortez
51. Cruthu, The Angle of Eternity
52. The Dead-End Alley Band, Storms
53. Dead Witches, Dead Witches
54. Dealer
55. Death Alley, Live at Roadburn
56. Demon Head, Thunder on the Fields
57. The Devil and the Almighty Blues, II
58. Devil Electric
59. Doctor Cyclops, Local Dogs
60. Dool, Here Now There Then
61. Dopelord, Children of the Haze
62. Doublestone, Devil’s Own/Djævlens Egn
63. Dread Sovereign, For Doom the Bell Tolls
64. Drive by Wire
65. Elbrus, Elbrus
66. Electric Age
67. Electric Moon, Stardust Rituals
68. Endless Floods, II
69. Five Horse Johnson
70. Forming the Void, Relic
71. Funeral Horse
72. Greenbeard
73. Green Desert Water
74. Greenleaf
75. Grifter / Suns of Thunder, Split
76. Hair of the Dog, This World Turns
77. Heavy Temple, Chassit
78. Here Lies Man, Here Lies Man
79. Hollow Leg, Murder EP
80. Holy Mount, The Drought
81. Hooded Menace
82. Horisont, About Time
83. Hymn, Perish
84. Lecherous Gaze
85. Magnet, Feel Your Fire
86. Mastodon
87. Merlin, The Wizard
88. Merchant
89. Mindkult, Lucifer’s Dream
90. Mirror Queen
91. Moonbow, War Bear
92. Mos Generator
93. The Moth
94. MotherSloth
95. Mouth, Vortex
96. My Sleeping Karma, Mela Ananda – Live
97. Orango
98. Papir
99. PH, Eternal Hayden
100. Psychedelic Witchcraft, Magick Rites and Spells
101. Royal Thunder
102. Saturn, Beyond Spectra
103. Season of Arrows, Give it to the Mountain
104. Siena Root
105. Six Organs of Admittance, Burning the Threshold
106. Six Sigma, Tuxedo Brown
107. Sólstafir
108. The Sonic Dawn, Into the Long Night
109. Spelljammer
110. Spidergawd, IV
111. Steak
112. Stinking Lizaveta, Journey to the Underworld
113. Sula Bassana, Organ Accumulator
114. Summoner
115. Sun Voyager, Sun Voyager
116. Sweat Lodge, Tokens for Hell EP
117. Thera Roya, Stone and Skin
118. Toke
119. Troubled Horse, Revelation on Repeat
120. VA, Brown Acid The Third Trip
121. Weedpecker
122. Youngblood Supercult, The Great American Death Rattle

Definitely Could Happen

Maybe a recording process is upcoming (Gozu, Cities of Mars, YOB), or a band is looking for a label (The Flying Eyes), or they’ve said new stuff is in the works but the circumstances of an actual release aren’t known (Arc of Ascent, Dead Meadow, High on Fire), or I’ve just seen rumors of their hitting the studio (Freedom Hawk, La Chinga, Ruby the Hatchet). We’ve entered the realm of the entirely possible but not 100 percent.

So, you know, life.

Dig it:

123. The Age of Truth
124. Ape Machine
125. Arc of Ascent
126. At Devil Dirt
127. Bantoriak
128. Bask
129. BCAD
130. BoneHawk
131. La Chinga
132. Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
133. Cities of Mars
134. Crypt Sermon
135. Dead Meadow
136. Death Alley (Studio LP)
137. Dee Calhoun
138. Destroyer of Light
139. Devil
140. Devil Worshipper
141. Duel
142. Dustrider
143. Egypt
144. Electric Moon
145. Elephant Tree
146. Farflung
147. The Flying Eyes
148. Freedom Hawk
149. Gozu
150. The Great Electric Quest
151. Green Meteor, Consumed by a Dying Sun
152. High on Fire
153. Horrendous
154. Insect Ark
155. In the Company of Serpents
156. Iron Monkey
157. Jeremy Irons and the Ratgang Malibus
158. The Judge
159. Killer Boogie
160. King Dead
161. The Kings of Frog Island
162. Lords of Beacon House, Recreational Sorcery
163. Mangoo
164. Mondo Drag
165. Monolord
166. Mountain God
167. The Munsens
168. Naxatras
169. Never Got Caught
170. Ommadon
171. Orchid
172. Ordos
173. Pilgrim
174. Poseidon
175. Purple Hill Witch
176. Ruby the Hatchet
177. Sasquatch
178. Satan’s Satyrs
179. Serpents of Secrecy
180. Shabda
181. Shooting Guns
182. Sleepy Sun
183. Slow Season
184. Snowy Dunes, Atlantis
185. Spectral Haze
186. The Sweet Heat
187. Switchblade Jesus
188. Superchief
189. Tÿburn
190. YOB
191. Zone Six

Would be Awfully Nice

This last category is basically as close as I’m willing to come to rampant speculation. Endless Boogie have hinted at new material, and Queens of the Stone Age have talked about hitting the studio for the last two years. There were rumors about Om, and though Kings Destroy just put out an EP, they have new songs as well, though I doubt we’ll hear them before the end of 2017. I’ll admit that Across Tundras, Fever Dog, Lord Fowl, Lowrider and Hour of 13 are just wishful thinking on my part. A boy can hope:

192. Across Tundras
193. Eggnogg
194. Elephant Tree
195. Endless Boogie
196. Fever Dog
197. Fu Manchu
198. Halfway to Gone
199. Hour of 13
200. Kadavar
201. Kings Destroy
202. Lord Fowl
203. Lowrider
204. Masters of Reality
205. Om
206. Orodruin
207. Queens of the Stone Age

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. Whatever this year brings, I hope it’s been great so far for you and I hope it continues to be so as we proceed inexorably to 2018 and all the also-futuristic-sounding numbers thereafter. At least we know we’ll have plenty of good music to keep us company on that voyage.

As always, comments section is open if there’s anything I’ve left out. I’m happy to add, adjust, etc., as need be, so really, have at it, and thanks in advance.

All the best.

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Alunah Post “Fire of Thornborough Henge” Video; Solennial Preorders Available

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 16th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

alunah

Since the better part of a year ago, when it was first announced that woods-worshiping UK four-piece Alunah had signed to Svart Records for the release of their next album, I’ve been dying to hear how their tones — so gracious and consuming as they’ve become, most recently demonstrated on 2014’s Awakening the Forest (review here) — would sound as captured by producer Chris Fielding, bassist of Conan and engineer at Skyhammer Studio. We get a first sampling in Alunah‘s new video for “Fire of Thornborough Henge,” and it’s been worth the wait. The fuzz is maintained, the clarity refined, and as guitarist/vocalist Soph Day enters into layers of self-harmony, she seems to do so with a greater spaciousness around her than ever before.

It seems to be a habit of mine that whether or not Alunah actually have an album coming out that year, they make the list of most anticipated records. Well, Solennial will be out on March 17 via the aforementioned Svart, and preorders are up now, so this thing is definitely happening. I can only encourage you to dig in as Soph, fellow guitarist Dave Day, bassist Daniel Burchmore and drummer Jake Mason unfurl an initial taste of Alunah‘s fourth full-length, holding fast to crucial elements of their sound — even going so far as to reference Awakening the Forest in the lyrics — but showcasing immediate expansion as well in sound and approach. Holy crap I’m looking forward to this record. More than I already was.

Info and links follow the clip. Check it out and enjoy:

Alunah, “Fire of Thornborough Henge” official video

ALUNAH – FIRE OF THORNBOROUGH HENGE VIDEO AND SOLENNIAL PRE-ORDER

We have a double surprise for you. Today we would like to share our music video for ‘Fire of Thornborough Henge’ and also to inform you that pre-orders are now available for our upcoming album Solennial!

Solennial will be released on 17th March via Svart Records and pre-orders will be available up until 28th February. The first 100 orders from the Alunah store will receive a limited edition embroidered patch, and you can choose from limited edition bone white vinyl, black vinyl or digipak CD: http://www.official-alunah-store.co.uk/

We are playing the following UK dates in support of “Solennial.” A European tour to follow is currently being worked on.

Alunah live:
Friday 31st March: The Chameleon, Nottingham
Saturday 1st April: The Moon Club, Cardiff
Thursday 6th April: The Flapper, Birmingham
Friday 7th April: Bannermans, Edinburgh
Saturday 8th April: Rebellion, Manchester
Sunday 9th April: The Lounge, London

Here’s the video. Enjoy, friends.

Alunah on Thee Facebooks

Alunah webstore

Svart Records website

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Alunah Announce Spring 2017 UK Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 15th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

The challenge is not can I tell you how much I’m looking forward to the arrival of Alunah‘s fourth album, Solennial, but can I do it without gushing? Probably not. But you’ll have to indulge me. The UK four-piece have yet to put out a record that hasn’t stepped forward from its predecessors, and considering how far they took their sound with 2014’s Awakening the Forest (review here), that sets a pretty lofty marker for the new one. To meet it, the band has teamed up with producer Chris Fielding (Conan) at Skyhammer Studio, who has proven himself multiple times over a master at capturing tonal richness, and I frankly can’t wait to hear the results of that partnership.

There. Not too much gushing. Bottom line is I think the record’s gonna be awesome and I’m dying to hear it.

Alunah recently canceled some dates owing to a family matter — from their posts on the social medias it seemed like something that couldn’t be avoided — but they’ve rescheduled a UK run for the end of March and into April, and promise a European tour is forthcoming. I’m wondering if the timing couldn’t be a clue to a release date for Solennial as well, though honestly I’d rather not wait that long. In any case, they’ve got a new video in the works too, so we should get a sampling of the album hopefully sooner than later.

Because have I mentioned I’m looking forward to the album?

Here are the dates:

alunah-uk-tour

ALUNAH – SOLENNIAL UK TOUR

We are playing the following UK dates in support of “Solennial” which is out early next year on Svart Records. A European tour to follow is currently being worked on.

Friday 31st March: The Chameleon, Nottingham
Saturday 1st April: The Moon Club, Cardiff
Thursday 6th April: The Flapper, Birmingham
Friday 7th April: Bannermans, Edinburgh
Saturday 8th April: Rebellion, Manchester
Sunday 9th April: The Lounge, London

Alunah is:
Sophie Day – Vocals & Guitar
David Day – Guitar
Daniel Burchmore – Bass
Jake Mason – Drums

www.facebook.com/alunah.doom
www.alunah.co.uk
www.svartrecords.com

Alunah, “Awakening the Forest” lyric video

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Alunah Announce New Album Solennial Due Early 2017

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 27th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

alunah

UK heavy forest rockers Alunah are currently at Skyhammer Studios, embroiled in the process of putting to tape their fourth full-length, Solennial. Venerable purveyors Svart Records will release the album early next year as the follow-up to 2014’s excellent, why-don’t-I-just-go-ahead-and-put-it-on-right-now-okay-I-think-I-will Awakening the Forest (review here), which came out on Napalm, and if you’re not looking forward to hearing why Chris Fielding can bring to Alunah‘s tones, you’ve either never heard the band before, never heard one of his productions before, or both. This is one that will feature prominently on my 2017 most anticipated list. It’s already been on there for a while.

Art is by Adrian Baxter, and you’ll find that, the tracklist, and parts of a bio I wrote below, all filtered down through the PR wire:

alunah-solennial-700

ALUNAH UNLEASH FIRST DETAILS OF NEW ALBUM!

‘Solennial’ coming early 2017 on Svart Records!

Hailing from the English Midlands, its finest stoner doom outfit ALUNAH are finally back in the studio and have now unveiled first and exciting details about a brand new album, which is set to see the light of day in early 2017 on Finland’s cult label Svart Records!

The charismatic band with their nature inspired, psychedelic and doomish spirit are currently working in the Skyhammer Studios with CONAN’s Chris Fielding, to record their 4th studio album. But while they do, ALUNAH have now unleashed first and hotly anticipated details from their upcoming record titled ‘SOLENNIAL’!

Cover artwork by Adrian Baxter.

“Adrian Baxter is an artist that has been on our radar for a year or so, his work struck a chord with us as soon as we saw it and we just had to work with him. He took my lyrics and created a masterpiece which encompasses every theme and subject matter from “Solennial”, it was completed quite a while ago so we’re happy it is finally seeing the light of day. This week we will be heading up North to Skyhammer Studio to record the album with Chris Fielding; we always aim to try different things with our music but we’re stepping way outside of our comfort zone this time, in more ways than one. We are very proud of the songs and can’t wait for them to be released.” Vocalist & guitarist of Alunah, Sophie Day, comments.

The tracklist of Solennial will read as follows:
1. The Dying Soil
2. Light of Winter
3. Feast of Torches
4. The Reckoning of Time
5. Fire of Thornborough Henge
6. Petrichor
7. Lugh’s Assembly
8. A Forest

For 10 years, since first coming together back in 2006, Alunah have trafficked in a blend of the earthly and the unearthly. Over the course of their three albums – 2010’s Call of Avernus, 2012’s White Hoarhound and 2014’s Awakening the Forest – the four-piece have been a constant force of progression into an individualised take on psychedelic and organic heft. Their material has never lacked structure or groove, but with the melodic vocals of guitarist Sophie Day ever at the fore, they keep an eye toward the ethereal as well.

As they always do, Alunah are moving forward. Sophie, guitarist David Day, bassist Daniel Burchmore and drummer Jake Mason have just recently signed to Svart Records for the early 2017 release of their fourth album Solennial, which they are currently recording with Chris Fielding (Conan) at Skyhammer Studio, also owned by Conan’s Jon Davis. Following in the footsteps of Svart alums Hexvessel, or Jess and the Ancient Ones, Alunah arrive at Svart Records preceded by a reputation for blending nature worship and heavy vibes with a grace that few can match, basking in a sun-soaked spirit of beauty and decay, folklore and deeply personal expression.

Look for them to expand their sonic palette with their upcoming album Solennial, set to be released in early 2017 on Svart Records, and see them build on what they’ve accomplished before in their rich, engaging sound that seems to be always wandering and never, ever lost.

Alunah live:
20.10.2016 UK – London, Devonshire Arms
21.10.2016 NL – Tilburg, Little Devil
22.10.2016 NL – Into the Void Festival, Leeuwarden
28.10.2016 UK – The Coal Vaults, Coventry

www.facebook.com/alunah.doom
www.alunah.co.uk
www.svartrecords.com

Alunah, “Awakening the Forest” lyric video

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