Review & Full EP Stream: Green Lung, Free the Witch

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

green lung Free the Witch

[Click play above to stream the Free the Witch EP by Green Lung in its entirety. EP is out Feb. 19 on Deckhead Records.]

It’s only been eight months or so since London’s Green Lung issued their debut two-songer digital single, but apparently that’s been enough time for them to clarify a few things about their sound. Most notably: their sound itself. With the Deckhead Records tape release of their debut EP, the four-song Free the Witch, the four-piece turn away from some of the more blown-out aspects of the prior Green Man Rising (review here), with a crisp production that brooks no sacrifice either in its atmospheric spaces or tonal depth but nonetheless strikes with a clean, bright impression, whether it’s in the righteous hooks of opening duo “Lady Lucifer” and “Free the Witch” — which seem to be in competition with each other to determine the catchier chorus — or in “Living Fossil” and the eight-minute finale “Older than the Hills,” which respectively delve into low-end-driven nod (still pretty damn catchy) and slower, more patient build and payoff (also still pretty damn catchy).

Of course, a big part of the difference might be that this time around, Green Lung, which is comprised of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, went to an actual studio — Bear Bites Horse, where the likes of Torpor, Terminal Cheesecake and Vodun have also recorded — to work with engineer/mixer Wayne Adams instead of putting the songs to tape in their practice space as they did with Green Man Rising, but another way in which Free the Witch distinguishes itself from the prior outing and in general is in the band’s focus on structure. These songs are executed with purpose, and while they have a flow, most especially between the latter two on a one-into-the-next level, and a sense of space throughout, they remain vigilant in their direction. They are as efficient.

That’s not to say they’re spare. “Lady Lucifer,” “Free the Witch” and “Living Fossil” all run between five and six minutes long, and even in the raucous, crashing opener — which surely would be or would’ve been or could still be, I suppose, a highlight of any debut full-length — there is room in that time for atmospheric diverging. This comes paired with a notable change in the vocal approach of Templar, who gave hints of the echoing style he uses here on “Green Man Rising,” but seems at least for the time being to have left behind the gruff, Ben Ward-style bark with which that post-Sabbath melodic approach shared time. It is another way in which Green Lung seem to be following the path of fellow Londoners Elephant Tree, whose aesthetic underwent similar clarifying between their first EP and album.

green lung

I wouldn’t bet that Green Lung are finished growing into themselves, but as “Lady Lucifer” gives way with a drum fill to the forward gallop of the complementary “Free the Witch” — a two-sided tape, indeed, since the latter ends in silence before “Living Fossil” takes hold — the work they’ve undertaken in beginning their progression is appreciable both in its effort and outcome. Their debut EP, in other words, kicks a good bit of ass. And as an early-outing EP should, it acts as a showcase of their material and potential for the longer term; promise displayed in their songwriting and breadth alike. “Free the Witch,” with a noteworthy guest organ spot in a pre-solo jam section by Joe Murgatroyd (also backing vocals), resolves with a slowdown into largesse that earns Templar‘s cavernous effects, and eases the way into “Living Fossil,” which though faster initially, continues to broaden the sphere.

While it seems to follow a similar structure to the title-track, with a bass-led break from the boogie at its midpoint where the preceding cut was more guitar-led, instead the penultimate cut picks up with its chorus again and moves into a secondary hook to finish with a vibrant last push and a ringout that paves the way for Cave to set the stage for “Older than the Hills,” which pushes further outward. Much as they were able to control the stricter chorusmaking of “Lady Lucifer,” so too do Green Lung prove ready to handle the increased stretch of “Older than the Hills,” which, again, is the slowest and most patient inclusion here, proclaiming its hook in a wide space of its own creation.

If it seems like I’m painting a picture of nothing but encouraging signs from the band, I am, and consciously, but that’s not to say I think their creative evolution has peaked or is finished. Rather, what’s impossible not to take away from Free the Witch is that Green Lungas a unit have begun what one hopes will be the ongoing task of growing as a band, and while their first single indicated a drive toward an individualized sound, to hear that come so much more to fruition after such a short stretch of time is satisfying to say the least. It is still soon to speculate on what a debut long-player from them might bring, but if they’re able to employ the lessons of these songs the way they were those of the single coming into this EP, they would seem to be poised to make a significant sonic impact. The real work is ahead of them, but even in leading one to think of Green Lung‘s longer-term prospects, Free the Witch helps establish their presence in London’s crowded scene and in the greater heavy underground. A success on every level.

Green Lung on Thee Facebooks

Green Lung on Instagram

Green Lung website

Green Lung on Bandcamp

Deckhead Records on Instagram

Deckhead Records on Bandcamp

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Green Lung Announce Debut EP Free the Witch out Feb. 19; New Single Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 24th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

green lung

London’s Green Lung will release their first EP, Free the Witch, on Feb. 19. You might recall the band hit on a fascinating stylistic blend of pastoralism, heavy riffing and underlying metallurgy with their 2017 two-songer demo, Green Man Rising (review here). Well, I’m not saying I’ve heard the new four-track outing or anything — oh wait, that is very much what I’m saying, yes — but it would seem at least on first/second impression that Free the Witch finds Green Lung working to solidify a cohesive whole and individual approach from their swath of influences, and, if the eight-minute roll of “Older than the Hills” is anything to go by, getting to where they’re going with little to no trouble whatsoever.

Bottom line: If you’ve dug the work of Elephant Tree or were into the first Sigiriya record when that came along, keep an eye on these guys.

To herald the EP’s impending issue, Green Lung have a new single straming for opening track “Lady Lucifer.” You can check it out at the bottom of this post, of course, but first, the PR wire has its requisite say:

green lung free the witch

GREEN LUNG announce debut EP Free the Witch, release ‘Lady Lucifer’ single

???Today Green Lung release ‘Lady Lucifer’, a single taken from their upcoming debut EP Free the Witch, set to be released on 19th February on digital and cassette via Deckhead Records. The single (along with b-side ‘When the Axe Comes Down’) is streaming now on Spotify.

‘Lady Lucifer’, the follow-up to last year’s well received demo ‘Green Man Rising’, sees the band encounter a femme fatale straight out of a 70s Jess Franco or Jean Rollin movie. Producer Wayne Adams of Bear Bites Horse Studio (Vodun, Ghold, Riddles) brings the band’s sound into high definition, shearing off the woolly fuzz of the demo and sharpening the impact of their soaring vocals and thundering tone. With an irresistible chorus, barrage of riffs and virtuosic solo, the single harks back to the occult-obsessed catchiness and groove of early 90s purveyors of doom and gloom like Cathedral and Type O Negative, displaying an uncanny ear for melody without sacrificing any of the band’s psychedelic heaviness. The accompanying promo video, directed by Tracy Mathewson, features clips of the band performing alongside a host of leading ladies from vintage horror cinema.

The Free the Witch EP is now available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page, and on Deckhead Records’ Bandcamp for US customers.

Green Lung bio:

Green Lung combine crushing heaviness with soaring hooks, summoning up the proto-metal spectres of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the psychedelic heft of heavy prog and the anthemic gloom of Danzig and Type O Negative; all the while dragging those influences into the 21st Century and sculpting them into a sound that is entirely their own.

Hailing from South London and made up of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, the band released a demo, ‘Green Man Rising’, in 2017 which will be followed by a debut EP, Free the Witch, on February 19th 2018. The band have been critically acclaimed and have shared the stage with a host of UK heavy titans including the likes of Desert Storm and Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard.

Green Lung is:
Tom Templar – Vocals
Scott Masson – Guitar
Andrew Cave – Bass
Matt Wiseman – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/greenlungband
https://www.instagram.com/greenlungband/
http://www.greenlung.co.uk/
https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/
https://deckheadrecords.bandcamp.com/

Green Lung, “Lady Lucifer”

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Quarterly Review: Loss, BardSpec, Sinner Sinners, Cavra, Black Tremor & Sea Witch, Supersonic Blues, Masterhand, Green Lung, Benthic Realm, Lâmina

Posted in Reviews on July 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

Day two of the Quarterly Review and all is chugging along. I was on the road for part of the day yesterday and will be again today, so there’s some chaos underlying what I’m sure on the surface seems like an outwardly smooth process — ha. — but yeah, things are moving forward. Today is a good mix of stuff, which makes getting through it somewhat easier on my end, as opposed to trying to find 50 different ways to say “riffy,” so I hope you take the time to sample some audio as you make your way through, to get a feel for where these bands are coming from. A couple highlights of the week in here, as always. We go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Loss, Horizonless

loss horizonless

Horizonless (on Profound Lore) marks a welcome if excruciating return from Nashville death-doomers Loss, who debuted six years ago with 2011’s Despond (review here) and who, much to their credit, waste no time in making up for their absence with 64 soul-crushing minutes across nine slabs of hyperbole-ready atmospheric misery. The longer, rumble-caked, slow-motion lumbering of “The Joy of all Who Sorrow,” “All Grows on Tears,” “Naught,” the title-track and closer “When Death is All” (which boasts guests spots from Leviathan’s Wrest, Dark Castle’s Stevie Floyd and producer Billy Anderson) are companioned by shorter ambient works like the creepy horror soundtrack “I.O.” and the hum of “Moved Beyond Murder,” but the deeper it goes, the more Horizonless lives up to its name in creating a sense of unremitting, skyline-engulfing darkness. That doesn’t mean it’s without an emotional center. As Loss demonstrate throughout, there’s nothing that escapes their consumptive scope, and as they shift through the organ-laced “The End Steps Forth,” “Horizonless,” “Banishment” and the long-fading wash of the finale, the album seems as much about eating its own heart as yours. A process both gorgeous and brutal.

Loss on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

BardSpec, Hydrogen

bardspec hydrogen

It’s only fair to call Hydrogen an experimentalist work, but don’t necessarily take that to mean that Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson doesn’t have an overarching vision for what his BardSpec project is. With contributions along the way from Today is the Day’s Steve Austin and former Trinacria compatriot Iver Sandøy (also Manngard), Bjørnson crafts extended pieces of ambient guitar and electronica-infused beats on works like “Fire Tongue” and the thumping “Salt,” resulting in two kinds of interwoven progressive otherworldlinesses not so much battling it out as exploring the spaces around each other. Hydrogen veers toward the hypnotic even through the more manic-churning bonus track “Teeth,” but from the psych-dance transience of “Bone” (video posted here) to the unfolding wash of “Gamma,” BardSpec is engaged in creating its own aesthetic that’s not only apart from what Bjørnson is most known for in Enslaved, but apart even from its influences in modern atmospherics and classic, electronics-infused prog.

BardSpec on Thee Facebooks

ByNorse Music website

 

Sinner Sinners, Optimism Disorder

There’s a current of rawer punk running beneath Sinner Sinners’ songwriting – or on the surface of it if you happen to be listening to “California” or “Outsider” or “Hate Yourself” or “Preachers,” etc. – but especially when the L.A. outfit draw back on the push a bit, their Last Hurrah Records and Cadavra Records full-length Optimism Disorder bears the hallmarks of Rancho de la Luna, the studio where it was recorded. To wit, the core duo of Steve and Sam Thill lead the way through the Queens of the Stone Age-style drive of opener “Last Drop” (video posted here), “Desperation Saved Me (Out of Desperation)” and though finale “Celexa Blues” is more aggressive, its tones and overall hue, particularly in the context of the bounce of “Together We Stand” and “Too Much to Dream” earlier, still have that desert-heavy aspect working for them. It’s a line that Sinner Sinners don’t so much straddle as crash through and stomp all over, but I’m not sure Optimism Disorder would work any other way.

Sinner Sinners on Thee Facebooks

Sinner Sinners on Bandcamp

Last Hurrah Records website

 

Cavra, Cavra

cavra cavra

The five-song/52-minute self-titled debut from Argentina trio Cavra was first offered digitally name-your-price-style late in 2016 and picked up subsequently by South American Sludge. There’s little reason to wonder why. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Cristian Kocak, bassist/vocalist Fernando Caminal and drummer Matias Gallipoli, the Buenos Aires three-piece place themselves squarely in the sphere of their home country’s rich heritage in heavy rock and psychedelic fluidity, with earthy tones, a resounding spaciousness in longer cuts like the all-15-minutes-plus “2010,” “Montaña” and “Torquemada.” My mind went immediately to early and mid-period Los Natas as a reference point for how the vocals cut through the density of “Montaña,” but even as Cavra show punkier and more straightforward thrust on the shorter “Dos Soles” (4:10) and “Librianna” (2:45) – the latter also carrying a marked grunge feel – they seem to keep one foot in lysergism. Perhaps less settled than it wants to be in its quiet parts, Cavra’s Cavra nonetheless reaches out with a tonal warmth and organic approach that mark a welcome arrival.

Cavra on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Tremor & Sea Witch, Split

black-tremor-sea-witch-split

One has to wonder if whichever of the involved parties – be it the two acts or either of the labels, Sunmask Records or Hypnotic Dirge – had in mind a land-and-sea kind of pairing in putting together Saskatoon’s Black Tremor or Nova Scotia’s Sea Witch for this split release, because that’s basically where they wound up. Black Tremor, who issued their debut EP in 2016’s Impending (review here), answer the post-Earth vibes with more bass/drums/cello instrumental exploration on the two-part “Hexus,” while the massive tonality of duo Sea Witch answers back – though not literally; they’re also instrumental – with three cuts, “Green Tide,” “As the Crow Flies Part One” and “As the Crow Flies Part Two.” The two outfits have plenty in common atmospherically, but where Black Tremor seem to seek open spaces in their sound, Sea Witch prefer lung-crushing heft, and, well, there isn’t really a wrong answer to that question. Two distinct intentions complementing each other in fluidity and a mood that goes from grim and contemplative to deathly and bleak.

Black Tremor on Thee Facebooks

Sea Witch on Thee Facebooks

Hypnotic Dirge Records webstore

Sunmask Records webstore

 

Supersonic Blues, Supersonic Blues Theme b/w Curses on My Soul

supersonic-blues-supersonic-blues-theme

It takes Den Haag trio Supersonic Blues no more than eight minutes to bust out one of 2017’s best short releases in their Who Can You Trust? Records debut single, Supersonic Blues Theme b/w Curses on My Soul. Yes, I mean it. The young three-piece of guitarist Timothy, bassist Gianni and drummer Lennart absolutely nail a classic boogie-rock vibe on the two-tracker, and from the gotta-hear low end that starts “Curses on My Soul,” the unabashed hook of “Supersonic Blues Theme” and the blown-out garage vocals that top both, the two-tracker demonstrates clearly not only that there’s still life to be had in heavy ‘70s loyalism when brought to bear with the right kind of energy, but that Supersonic Blues are on it like fuzz on tone. Killer feel all the way and shows an exceeding amount of potential for a full-length that one can only hope won’t follow too far behind. Bonus points for recording with Guy Tavares at Motorwolf. Hopefully they do the same when it comes time for the LP.

Supersonic Blues on Thee Facebooks

Who Can You Trust? Records webstore

 

Masterhand, Mind Drifter

masterhand-mind-drifter

A neo-psych trio from Oklahoma City, Masterhand seem like the kind of group who might at a moment’s notice pack their gear and go join the legions of freaks tripping out on the West Coast. Can’t imagine they wouldn’t find welcome among that I-see-colors-everywhere underground set – at least if their debut long-player, Mind Drifter, is anything to go by. Fuzz like Fuzz, acid like Uncle, and a quick, raw energy that underlies and propels the proceedings through quick tracks like “Fear Monger” and “Lucifer’s Dream” – tense bass and drums behind more languid wah and surf guitar before a return to full-on fuzz – yeah, they make a solid grab for upstart imprint King Volume Records, which has gotten behind Mind Drifter for a cassette issue. There’s some growing to do, but the psych-garage feel of “Chocolate Cake” is right on, “Heavy Feels” is a party, and when they want, they make even quick cuts like “Paranoia Destroyer” feel expansive. That, along with the rest of the release, bodes remarkably well.

Masterhand on Thee Facebooks

King Volume Records webstore

 

Green Lung, Green Man Rising

green-lung-green-man-rising

Groove-rolling four-piece Green Lung boast former members of Oak and Tomb King, among others, and Green Man Rising, their first digital single, is the means by which they make their entry into London’s crowded underground sphere. Aside from the apparent nod to Type O Negative in the title – and the plenty of more-than-apparent nod in guitarist Scott Masson’s riffing – “Green Man Rising” and “Freak on a Peak” bask in post-Church of Misery blown-out cymbals from drummer Matt Wiseman, corresponding tones, while also engaging a sense of space via rich low end from bassist Andrew Cave and the echoing vocals of Tom Killingbeck. There’s an aesthetic identity taking shape in part around nature worship, and a burgeoning melodicism that one imagines will do likewise more over time, but they’ve got stonerly hooks in the spirit of Acrimony working in their favor and in a million years that’s never going to be a bad place to start. Cool vibe; makes it easy to look forward to more from them.

Green Lung on Thee Facebooks

Green Lung on Bandcamp

 

Benthic Realm, Benthic Realm

benthic-realm-benthic-realm

In 2016, Massachusetts-based doom metallers Second Grave issued one of the best debut albums of the year in their long-awaited Blacken the Sky (review here)… and then, quite literally days later, unexpectedly called it quits. It was like a cruel joke, teasing their potential and then cutting it short of full realization. The self-titled debut EP from Benthic Realm, which features Second Grave guitarist/vocalist Krista van Guilder (also ex-Warhorse) and bassist Maureen Murphy alongside drummer Brian Banfield (The Scimitar), would seem to continue the mission of that prior outfit if perhaps in an even more metallic direction, drawing back on some of Second Grave’s lumber in favor of a mid-paced thrust while holding firm to the melodic sensibility that worked so well across Blacken the Sky’s span. For those familiar with Second Grave, Benthic Realm is faster, not as dark, and perhaps somewhat less given to outward sonic extremity, but it’s worth remembering that “Awakening,” “Don’t Fall in Line” and “Where Serpents Dwell” are just an introduction and that van Guilder and Murphy might go on a completely different direction over the longer term after going back to square one as they do here.

Benthic Realm website

Benthic Realm on Bandcamp

 

Lâmina, Lilith

lamina-lilith

Smack dab in the middle of Lilith, the debut album from Lisbon-based doom/heavy rockers Lâmina, sits the 20-minute aberration “Maze.” It’s a curious track in a curious place on the record, surrounded by the chugging “Evil Rising” and bass-led rocker bounce of “Psychodevil,” but though it’s almost a full-length unto itself (at least an EP), Lâmina make the most of its extended and largely linear course, building on the tonal weight already shown in the earlier “Cold Blood” and “Big Black Angel” and setting up the tension of “Education for Death” and the nine-minute semi-title-track finale “In the Warmth of Lilith,” which feels a world away from the modern stonerism of “Psychodevil” in its slower and thoroughly doomed rollout. There’s a subtle play of scope happening across Lilith, drawn together by post-grunge tonal clarity and vocal melodies, and Lâmina establish themselves as potentially able to pursue any number of paths going forward from here. If they can correspondingly develop the penchant for songwriting they already show in these cuts as well, all the better.

Lâmina on Thee Facebooks

Lâmina on Bandcamp

 

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Green Lung Post Green Man Rising Single as Name-Your-Price Download

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

green lung

I don’t know about you, but when UK newcomers Green Lung call their debut single Green Man Rising, my head immediately goes to Type O Negative. I acknowledge not everyone is from the New York area, so that association might not be universal, but given how both “Green Man Rising” and “Freak on a Peak” take flight in their hooks, I can’t help but wonder if the London-based outfit aren’t looking to be in conversation with October Rust-era Type O, among other, more directly stonerly influences. It’s an engaging mix, either way.

And I’d be remiss too if I didn’t consider the nature-worship and rolling grooves of Alunah as a point of reference along with Steak and the godfathers in Orange Goblin, but Green Man Rising — as one might expect for a debut single — hits with a bit of a rawer take. Cool vibe in any case, and the solo in “Freak on a Peak” and a name-your-price download only sweeten the pot for Green Lung as one to watch in springing from London’s seemingly-perpetually-fertile underground.

Art, info and audio follow:

green-lung-green-man-rising

Green Lung Release Debut Single ‘Green Man Rising’

Formed in March 2017, GREEN LUNG play heavy psychedelia that is more attuned to wild woodlands than desert dunes. Made up of current and former members of stoner heavies Oak, occult doom trio Tomb King and instrumental sludge minimalists Deadbox Radio, the London-based four-piece have combined strengths to record an opening salvo that balances gargantuan heaviness with intricate melody.

‘Green Man Rising’ gallops from lysergic guitar freakouts to megalithic breakdowns and will soon have the listener frenziedly worshipping at the altar of its titular leaf-adorned deity. B-side ‘Freak on a Peak’ is no less potent, a cosmic paean to wilderness that couples soaring vocals with a riff that’s as ruggedly magnificent as any mountain range.

Recorded at Vatican Studios with engineer Steve Good, these two monumental tracks announce Green Lung as one of the freshest and most dynamic new bands on the UK heavy scene.

Tracklisting:
Side A: Green Man Rising
Side B: Freak on a Peak

Green Lung is:
Vox: Tom Killingbeck
Guitar: Scott Masson
Bass: Andrew Cave
Drums: Matt Wiseman

Gigs

The band will be playing a launch show with Wychhound and Purple Kong at Surya on Wednesday, June 7th.

We are also playing the Stone Frequency All Dayer alongside Mammoth Wizard Weed Bastard, Desert Storm and Sigiriya at the Black Heart on the 22nd July.

greenlung.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/greenlungband/
http://instagram.com/greenlungband

Green Lung, Green Man Rising (2017)

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