Alunah / Queen Elephantine – Split 7″ 2009
So, Def Leppard’s Hysteria took four years to arrive which, at the time, seemed a long time until Guns N Roses decided to raise the bar with 17 years between studio albums. That this release is approximately two years later than expected seems almost acceptable in comparison. To be fair both the bands and the label have been beset by problem after problem that has delayed this release but the wait is finally over and has been more than worth it.
Two tracks, one each on delicious purple vinyl…another tasty little release from Catacomb Records whose attention to quality would put a lot of the bigger players to shame. First up Alunah offer “Song of the Sun”. Having seen the band play live countless times, this for me is always the highlight of their set. It’s a riff filled extravaganza that boasts a sublime melody from vocalist Sophie. It has to be said that Sophie has come in for way more than her fair share of criticism for her vocals in the past but this release should silence the naysayers with a well aimed blow to the throat!!! This is a fantastic, confident and above all strong performance that sees her retain the breathy, sultry tones of previous releases but instils it with a greater depth and power than she has achieved before. Elsewhere the band sounds far happier in their skin. Dave Day’s riffs are as catchy as ever and the overall production is lovely and thick with the drums kicking things along like never before. Alunah have the potential to rise above the masses and break out for one reason that most doom bands seem to miss…they can write songs, great songs and not just a bunch of down tuned riffs.
Flip this bad boy over and Queen Elephantine bring the drone with their offering “Mephistopheles”. The jury is still out for me over Queen Elephantine in general. Their drone meets doom meets psychedelia meets tantric Eastern groove doesn’t always sit so comfortably with me coming across as a little lacking in form and direction at times. That said, however, given the restrictions of the 7″ format the guys have to reign in their excesses and have produced a song that borders on being, dare I say it, catchy!!! Granted it doesn’t flow in a traditional structured way and does display a fuzzy approach to psychedelia with some lovely Asian overtones but the guys have created a tune with melody that floats along rather nicely. Whereas previous tracks I’ve heard here and there by this band haven’t really inspired me to check them out any further, this song shows that there is something there worth deeper investigation. I’m not sure if the 7″ format fully does these guys justice…or tracks on compilation albums which is my only previous exposure to them. I think it’s likely that Queen Elephantine will shine on their full length releases or maybe in a live environment.
If you only buy this for the Alunah track it will be a more than worthwhile purchase with the added bonus of Queen Elephantine to complete the package. If you buy this for the Queen Elephantine track then you may well find a new favourite band in Alunah!!! Whatever reason you buy this for, just make sure you bloody well buy it…and quick as this is limited to 250 copies!!!
Label: Catacomb Records
Queen Elephantine: http://queenelephantine.clfrecords.com/
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall