As exporters of heavy music we in the UK can feel rightly proud, since as way back as the mid sixties we have consistently delivered the goods, giving the world such heavy hitters as Cream, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and that's without mentioning the so-called mid table bands like Budgie, The Groundhogs, Hawkwind and so many others. One might think that the flow of ass-kicking British bands might have curtailed with the passage of time, or at the very least been stemmed somewhat, but with the emergence of British bands like Boss Keloid, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Sound of Origin and the subject of this review, Green Lung, it would seem as though its business as usual in good 'ol Blighty.
Green Lung, Tom Templar (vocals); Scott Black (guitar); Joseph Ghast (bass); Matt Wiseman (drums) and John Wright (organ), have come a long way in a comparatively short space of time, the first green shoots of what this band would become and where they would be headed where planted with their demo "Green Man Rising" a promising two tracker that blended heavy psych with elements of hard rock and doom, it was a little raw and untamed but you could almost taste the potential within its grooves. The band followed this up with the EP "Free The Witch" a stunning collection of songs brimming over with raucous refrains and thunderous rhythms that also showed the band had an ear for a good melody. "Free The Witch" was good but what was about to come next was a game changer. "Woodland Rites", the bands debut full album, sent the over-ground and the underground press into virtual meltdown with Kerrang magazine calling it "‘Killer, sample-strewn psych-doom" and Metal Hammer describing it as "Surging with all the druggy riffs and spooky psychedelia you could ever want", it also made March 2019's #1 spot on that bastion of monthly good taste The Doom Charts beating some serious contenders to get there. The critical success of "Woodland Rites" meant that the bands next album needed to be something special, a big ask but it is one Green Lung's latest release "Black Harvest" delivers on.
There is an occult/pagan vibe to much of Green Lung's themes and that is reflected in the opening vocal to opening track "The Harrowing", Templar urging us to "Come up to the hill for The Harrowing" in sombre tones backed by ominous dark droning noise, the song then exploding into a metallic groove decorated in exquisite swathes of swirling organ and neo-classical guitar textures backed by thunderous drumming and bone shaking bass. Next up is "Old Gods" a stonking rocker with more than a pinch of Celtic flavouring in its sonic attack, imagine Pagan Altar jamming with Deep Purple and you might just get a handle on what you are hearing, however as the songs seems to be reaching a noisy crescendo it suddenly and quite unexpectedly shifts into a slightly mellower groove that features some clever vocal interplay and trade off harmonies If "Old Gods" was Green Lung channelling their inner Deep Purple then next track "Leaders of The Blind" is them paying homage to Uriah Heep, the songs strident organ rich grooves frame a clean melodic vocal that is further enhanced by Scott Black's scorching lead work. Next track "Reaper's Scythe" continues the Heep-ish attack of its predecessor but throws a little occult rock flavouring into the mix to spice things up while "Graveyard Sun" brings things down to tell a vampiric love story lamenting dawn's that will never come against a suitably atmospheric musical backdrop. Title track "Black Harvest" is an instrumental, although it does contain some Gregorian-like cadences in its moody intro, and gives the listener the chance to really appreciate what a superb musical unit this band have become without the distraction of a vocal, Wiseman's busy thunderous drums and Ghast's winding bass lines laying down a solid foundation of rhythmic might for Wright and Black to launch off on their respective flights of fancy. "Upon The Altar" finds Green Lung going all in on an occult flavoured rocker that is full to brimming over with Dennis Wheatley style lyrical imagery, Templar promising to "deliver to the devil a daughter" in clean but sinister tones. The band shift tack slightly for next song "Bear The Mark", the band hitting into a groove that although still heavy has a slightly more old school hard rock meter. "Doomsayer" mixes Green Lung's classic rock leanings with a little proto-metallic doom, if you are one of those rare beasts that shudder when confronted with the sound of keyboards then this is not the song for you as Wright is all over this, his swirling keys swooping in and out of the dark refrains that surround them, his playing supporting Black's scorching guitar riffs and solos in places replacing them in others. "Born to a Dying World" closes the album and is a song with gentle/heavy/gentle dynamic, quaint and folk-like one minute, searing hot and heavy the next ,the songs barely concealed green message finding Templar mournfully bemoaning a world doomed by those inhabiting it..