Friday, 13 July 2018


New Jersey's Green Dragon are not exactly what you would call a "traditional" band, the band don't play live and the music they make together does not really reflect the "hardcore" backgrounds each member comes from or explores in their own respective bands. Green Dragon, Jennifer Klein (bass), Ryan Lipynsky (guitar), Nathan Wilson (drums) and Zack Kurland (guitar/vocals), came together through a series of "happy" accidents and two members mutual appreciation of Deep Purple to just play some tunes together in a basement and occasionally release the results. This lackadaisical approach may have you thinking that Green Dragon don't take what they are doing together too seriously but after listening to their first full album "Green Dragon" you just might want to think again.

Green Dragon's whole reason for being was to get together and just play some "rock" and with their first "official" release that is exactly what they have achieved. The band list a long line of influences and inspirations that stretch the whole rock spectrum, from the Beatles and T.Rex to Agnostic Front and Bathory, but to their credit Green Dragon do not try to sound like any of their heroes, the band cleverly avoiding that whole "retro" trap by using those influences as an essence rather than a blueprint for what they do. First track "Eternal Pyre" serves as a fine example, here we have a title that screams Sabbath and although their are "sabbathian" elements to be found here the overall impression is one of heavy psych with element of shoegaze-ish colouring, an element made all the more prominent by Kurland's slightly phased and clean vocal delivery. On "Poison Finger" the band jam a groove not dissimilar to that executed by Canadian cult psychonauts Quest For Fire, in their heavier moments, but then they confuse the issue by going off on bluesy, guitar swirling hard rock tangent to take things to the close. "Dark Rider" on the other hand is as schizophrenic as it is brilliant, the song shifting back and forth between contemplative tranquillity and swaggering lysergic aggression before suddenly heading off to its finale on a proto-doomic chugging gallop. "Dead Space" closes the album and as its title suggests finds Green Dragon bringing a cosmic, spacey vibe to the table, nothing is straightforward in Green Dragon's world however and  the band cut and paste a little doomic shading just beneath its surface just to keep things interesting.

"Green Dragon" is a superb debut from a band who although only get together occasionally to jam some "rock" have, either by accident or design, stumbled upon a magical formulae for something quite exciting and special.
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

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