A heavy sort of night musically beckons at The Lounge in London’s Archway. Brummie atmospheric doomsters, Alunah are on the eve of a European tour and to kick things off in style they’ve teamed up with Gévaudan and Kilter for a Wednesday evening riff session. This will be quite an intimate gig as the bands mingle with the punters beforehand.

Kilter are first up with a very smooth, silky groove. Spacious and airy, there’s a gothic, Cult styled vibe with catchy hooks with scything guitar lines. Second song in they cut loose a little with a punk tinged edge. The set gets a bit crunchier as it progresses and songs start to twist and morph into proper groovers. The band well and truly find their feet in the second half of the set and they finish with a Killing Joke spiked urgency on “I Am The One”, delivered with such a cool nonchalance. Given the billing tonight the expected doom experience doesn’t arrive but theirs is a performance that proves to set the evening up well with a tight and refreshing blend of styles that work well. This was my first experience with them and won’t be my last.

Underground Iommi worshippers, Gévaudan are in good spirits. Guitarist Bruce Hamilton’s passion for the riff is infectious and although the gathering is small tonight there is clearly no sense of restraint from any of the band members. Replete with a gong behind the kit, their set starts with a cool 70’s Uriah Heep strut. Tonight they seem to have a more psychedelic infused doom sound than previous occasions when I’ve seen them and it suits well. They consistently manage crushing riffs that are completely irresistible while vocally, it’s a strong outing from Adam Pirmohamed, mixing restraint and ballsy aggression as required. “The Ninth Circle” is all the other worldly stuff you could dream of; a Steppenwolf meets Black Sabbath slab of goodness. Thank you gentlemen.

Alunah have had a change in their ranks recently with vocalist and second guitarist, Sophie Day stepping away from the band. I’ve seen them many times over the years so am keen not only to hear new vocalist Siân Greenaway, but also a band featuring David Day’s sole guitar. Anyone familiar with Alunah and who might have been worried at Soph’s departure can quickly put those concerns to rest. Siân’s delivery is as smooth as you could want, complimenting the band’s original sound but clearly displaying her own identity. Day’s riffs are simply enormous and at times stunning, heavily rooted in Sabbathian richness and weighty as hell. Songs from latest album “Solennial” are given a good airing (check out the 9/10 review by our Spenny) and show just how much this band has grown. Tracks like “Fire Of Thornborough Henge” and “Feast Of Torches” are rich, while earlier band classics like personal track “White Hoarhound” are given the respect they deserve; that signature sound maintained with a new and very satisfying twist.

This was a good gig and all three bands delivered despite a small attendance. Alunah are sure to win some extra fans in Europe as this lineup continues to grow. I, for one am looking forward to catching all three bands again very soon.

Review and photos Johnny Zed