The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 09

Posted in Radio on February 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

Good show. I had fun, anyway. I cut the voice breaks for this one while The Patient Mrs. and her mom took The Pecan out to the grocery store, but the breaks nonetheless worked out to be maybe a minute longer than usual and that gave me a little rant time. Right before I played Goatsnake, which was the “new classic” choice cut for this episode, I went off about doing my dishes as rock and roll. As usual with words coming out of my mouth, the idea was kind of half-represented, but what I was talking about was the notion that your love of music should be a part of your life, not something separate from the rest of it. If you love music, it shouldn’t be something you segregate from the rest of who you are — something you sneak off to a dive bar to partake of — it should be a part of your everyday. I cut radio voice breaks while running the dishwasher. It’s a part of who I am.

How fortunate I have this post to explain the half-formed notions I don’t have the wherewithal to properly express vocally. Huzzah.

Anyway, if you got to listen, I tried to set this one up with a good flow from front to back plus a couple stark contrasts in the second hour. The break is between Graven and SubRosa, contrary to what the playlist says, but I liked that transition anyhow, and I think you can see early on that the focus is on some boogie with a sense of atmosphere. I talk up the Green Lung record again, because, well, it’s worth talking up, and dig into a few other things that I think are killer, including that Mount Saturn EP, which is likewise right on. And then I dip back from new music to play SubRosa’s “The Mirror” from their SubDued: Live at Roadburn 2017 release, because it’s a song I sing to The Pecan when I put him down for naps and have just about every day since he was born some 15 months ago. Fun stuff.

If you missed the show, it airs again tomorrow at 9AM Eastern at http://gimmeradio.com

And if you dig this and want to hear more of The Obelisk Show, Gimme of course has their archive set up that you can sign on for at a reasonable price and dig into a bunch of various kinds of metallurgy.

Okay, here’s the playlist. Thanks to reading and/or listening:

The Obelisk Show Ep. 09 – 02.03.19

Straytones Dark Lord Beware, Dark Lord! Here Comes Bell-Man* 0:04:07
Green Lung Let the Devil In Woodland Rites* 0:05:02
BREAK
Geezer Spiral Fires Pt. 1 Spiral Fires* 0:05:50
Seedium Mist Haulers Seedium* 0:09:15
Crypt Trip Wordshot Haze County* 0:04:22
Cloud Catcher Beneath the Steel The Whip EP* 0:04:45
Heavy Feather Waited All My Life Debris & Rubble* 0:03:10
Mount Saturn Dwell Kiss the Ring* 0:07:08
BREAK
Goatsnake Mower I + Dog Days 0:06:05
The Black Heart Death Cult Davidian Beam Dream The Black Heart Death Cult 0:05:50
Crystal Spiders Tigerlily Demo* 0:05:37
Swallow the Sun When a Shadow is Forced into the Light When a Shadow is Forced into the Light* 0:07:26
Graven Backwards to Oblivion Heirs of Discord* 0:06:15
SubRosa The Mirror SubDued: Live at Roadburn 0:04:43
BREAK
Electric Octopus Mouseangelo Smile* 0:12:58
Tia Carrera Early Purple Visitors/Early Purple* 0:16:28

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is Feb. 17. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

The Obelisk on Thee Facebooks

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Review & Track Premiere: Green Lung, Woodland Rites

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on January 28th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

green lung woodland rites

[Click play above to stream ‘Let the Devil In’ from Green Lung’s Woodland Rites. Album is out March 20 on Kozmik Artifactz.]

London’s Green Lung announced themselves with the 2017 single, Green Man Rising (review here), and have worked quickly since to distinguish their sound from the bulk of the UK’s nigh-on-saturated heavy underground. Through last year’s Free the Witch EP (review here) and now their Kozmik Artifactz-issued debut full-length, Woodland Rites, the five-piece unit have worked efficiently to develop a stylistic take drawing from classic rock and metal as well as nature-worshiping Britfolk, garage doom, goth rock, solo-era Ozzy, as well as contemporary countrymen standouts like Alunah, Elephant Tree and even Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, the latter of whose influence can be heard in the creative vocal arrangements of frontman Tom Templar.

With a steady stream of organ lines from John Wright alongside Scott Masson‘s guitar, Andrew Cave‘s bass and Matt Wiseman‘s drumming, Green Lung offer righteousness of performance and put songwriting first throughout and draw thematically from pagan-style horror films in the lyrical play between sex, nature and evil, but manage to avoid a trap of misogyny that most of those films didn’t, and as the opening salvo of “Woodland Rites” and “Let the Devil In” gets underway in picking up from the intro “Initiation” — the beginning quiet guitar of which proves crucial in setting the atmosphere for what follows — the point of view of the lyrics remains more about ritual than discrimination. The choruses of songs like “The Ritual Tree” and “Call of the Coven” and even closer “Into the Wild” are catchy, and not unfortunately so for what they’re actually saying. Even the willfully sleazy nunsploitation hook of “Let the Devin In” — “Sister, you’ve been told that making love’s a sin/Open up your heart and let the devil in” — manages to capture the spirit of the grainy cinema from which it derives and periodically samples audio while leaving behind a dated objectification. This is but one element working to the advantage of an early contender to stand among 2019’s best debut albums.

And at no point throughout Woodland Rites‘ witch-rocking eight-song/42-minute run is craft sacrificed to theme one way or the other. Masson offers several solos that are marked accomplishments in and of themselves, including that in the apex of the penultimate “May Queen,” which is well plotted and complemented by Cave‘s bass and Wright‘s work on keys, but even beyond those performances or that of Templar across the earlier cuts or closer “Into the Wild,” there’s an overarching thoughtfulness to the LP’s construction that speaks to a specific intent on the part of the band. Its tracks break cleanly into two four-song sides, but more than that, each side has a progression of its own and a function that makes the entire album stronger while clean and clear in its own mission.

green lung (Photo by Sally Patti)

Each works its way toward its longest song in “The Ritual Tree” (6:49) and “Into the Wild” (6:51), respectively, and while this is nothing new, tapping into classic elements of sound and structure is part of the point stylistically. In addition, the movement from “Initiation,” which comes across an awful lot like something that might be played to introduce the band live, directly into the “Oh lord yeah!” that starts the title-track and through “Let the Devil In” to the end of side A with “The Ritual Tree” is not only fluid, but based around a quality of memorability in the material that conveys a sense of mood and ambience without giving up its direct impact. Wiseman‘s crash in “The Ritual Tree” is no less a standout than the melody that accompanies, and as the organ fills out that melody, Templar sounds smooth and comfortable over the rolling progression in a way that for many vocalists would prove awkward.

Going by a classic side A/B dynamic, the first half of Woodland Rites would be the place where the up front is upfront, and the second where they then branch out and expand their overall reach. The whole record is a multifaceted showcase of progression, but indeed, Green Lung follow the pattern and shift in side B from “Templar Dawn” and the Sabbath-swinging “Call of the Coven” to the mellowing out that happens in the first stretch of “May Queen,” which flows easily into its swell of volume before it hits its midsection, only to recede in the second half for another verse and rise again as it rounds out. This is a marked change of structure from what’s come before, and it signals not only the intended growth on the part of the band and their bringing that to bear, but their ability to work in multiple songwriting contexts and still maintain their sense of composition. Further, “May Queen” feeds directly into the initial riff of “Into the Wild,” which is tasked with summarizing the proceedings and lives up to that ably while pushing further and highlighting the promise so present in what Green Lung are doing. Another excellent guitar lead begins to draw the closer down, and “Into the Wild” ends somewhat suddenly but with a considerable impression that the band know that and are doing it on purpose.

The message there, and indeed of the album as a whole, would seem to be that Green Lung aren’t actually finished — which is fortunate. As quickly as they’ve cohered their take on heavy and found a recording partner in Wayne Adams of Bear Bites Horse Studios — who also helmed the EP — to bring their vision forward, I wouldn’t predict where they might go in terms of following-up their debut, but Woodland Rites is a significant opening statement for them to make, and if they have it in them to do the gritty work of honing their approach, could be well en route to a marked individualism that, in complement to their songwriting, is the stuff of something truly special. But as much as it’s an exciting showcase of what could be, and as much fun as it is to think of what Green Lung might go on to accomplish, it’s worth recognizing that wouldn’t be the case were Woodland Rites not as strong and as complete an offering as it is.

Green Lung on Thee Facebooks

Green Lung on Instagram

Green Lung website

Green Lung on Bandcamp

Kozmik Artifactz website

Kozmik Artifactz on Thee Facebooks

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Green Lung Announce March 20 Release for Woodland Rites

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

green lung (Photo by Sally Patti)

I love speculating about upcoming albums, and after a couple encouraging short releases from London’s Green Lung — 2018’s Free the Witch EP (review here), and the 2017 single, Green Man Rising (review here) — their debut holds marked promise as one of the most anticipated of the year, at least as far as I’m concerned. The five-piece outfit who blend aspects of doom, goth, heavy rock and a bit of the ol’ forest-worship, will issue Woodland Rites as their first offering through Kozmik Artifactz on March 20, have tour dates forthcoming and are set to play HRH Doom Vs. Stoner as part of a oh-hell-yes lineup this September. Killer to see an up and coming band doing good things. I can’t wait to hear the record.

Details from the PR wire:

green lung woodland rites

GREEN LUNG announce debut album, Woodland Rites

South London-based heavy rock quintet GREEN LUNG have today announced details of their debut album. Woodland Rites will be released on heavyweight vinyl, CD, cassette and digital editions on March 20, the Spring Equinox. The band captured the attention of the international underground in 2018 with the release of their much acclaimed EP Free the Witch, and spent the year sharing stages with the likes of Conan, Conjurer and Primitive Man before signing to cult Berlin-based label Kozmik Artifactz.

With the addition of new member John Wright on organ, the band have also expanded their horizons musically, voyaging beyond the doomy psych of the EP to explore a spectrum of heavy music. On Let the Devil In they conjure up a blasphemous, arena-baiting hard rock single, while on Templar Dawn they veer into the cavernous (free)masonry of traditional doom metal. The psyched-out, prog-inflected The Ritual Tree attempts to answer the mystery of ‘Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?’, while May Queen is an ergot-tinged ballad of failing harvests and human sacrifice. The overall, irresistible impression is of a young band summoning up the eccentric English spectres of 70s proto-metal, early 80s NWOBHM and 90s stoner rock and dragging those sounds kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Singer Tom Templar said, ‘With the response to Free the Witch, the introduction of a new member and the chance to write a full LP we’ve been spurred on to take our sound to the next level – so expect a pro-witch party album of diabolical riffs, harmonized solos, inescapable hooks and lyrics inspired by folk horror films like The Wicker Man and Blood on Satan’s Claw. We hope Woodland Rites will become the soundtrack to many a debauched backwoods sabbath in 2019.’

Woodland Rites was recorded and mixed by Wayne Adams (Vodun, Ghold) who reprised his Free The Witch duties at Bear Bites Horse Studios. Mastering was undertaken by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. Woodland Rites will be packaged in hallucinatory artwork by renowned woodcut artist, Richard Wells (The Wicker Man, Doctor Who) on vinyl and CD, with the cassette cover featuring photography by Courtney Brooke.

GREEN LUNG will be touring the UK and EU with labelmates Deathbell in May, with confirmed shows in Paris, London, Liege and Cologne; more information will be available in due course. The band will also appear at HRH Doom vs Stoner alongside Monolord, Orange Goblin and Church of the Cosmic Skull on September 29.

Woodland Rites tracklist
1. Initiation
2. Woodland Rites
3. Let The Devil In
4. The Ritual Tree
5. Templar Dawn
6. Call of The Coven
7. May Queen
8. Into The Wild

GREEN LUNG is:
Tom Templar – Vocals
Scott Masson – Guitar
Andrew Cave – Bass
Matt Wiseman – Drums
John Wright – Organ

Woodland Rites by GREEN LUNG will be released on March 20, 2019. Pre-order information will follow.

https://www.facebook.com/greenlungband
https://www.instagram.com/greenlungband/
http://www.greenlung.co.uk/
https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Green Lung, Free the Witch (2018)

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Green Lung Sign to Kozmik Artifactz

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 5th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

About a month and a half after releasing their debut EP, Free the Witch (review here), and still within a year of their initial single, Green Man Rising (review here), London four-piece Green Lung have signed on to release their first long-player through respected vinyl-minded purveyor Kozmik Artifactz. The condensed timeline one might attribute to the particular sonic niche the band seemed to immediately find and then quickly demonstrate a capacity to progress with. One does not expect the momentum to slow for the UK outfit, which boasts ex-members of Oak and Tomb King in the lineup of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, as they make their way toward the album, which at the rate they’re going should be pressed and shipped any minute now.

Cheers to the band and to the label on the snag. Here’s the announcement off the PR wire:

green lung

Kozmik Artifactz Announce New Signing – Green Lung

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.

“The last twelve months have been a blur for us; forming last March, putting out a demo, playing up and down the country, and finally getting an incredible reception for our EP Free the Witch. Signing with Kozmik Artifactz is the perfect way to cap off our first year as a band – we’re excited to collaborate with a label that cares about vinyl as deeply as we do, and join a family of bands we love. We can’t wait to get to work on making our debut LP better than anything we’ve done before, and welcome more initiates to the cult of the Lung. Doom over the world!”

Hailing from South London and made up of vocalist Tom Templar, guitarist Scott Masson, bassist Andrew Cave and drummer Matt Wiseman, the band released their debut EP, Free the Witch, in February 2018.

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/
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz

Green Lung, Free the Witch (2018)

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audiObelisk Transmission 065

Posted in Podcasts on February 26th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

aOT65

I recognize that saying so is the cliché equivalent to writing a song with the same bassline as ‘N.I.B.,’ but if this was December and not February and the year was about to end in a couple weeks’ time, would you really be able to complain about any lack of fantastic releases? It’s been two months and before the next one is out we will have seen and heard new offerings from Corrosion of Conformity, Monster Magnet, Earthless, Fu Manchu and literally hundreds of others. It’s been as awesome as it’s been impossible to keep up with.

This new podcast follows the same model as the last one, vis-a-vis using Spotify as the medium of conveyance. You can see the playlist in the player below, and you may accordingly wonder why I’ve bothered to type it out underneath as well. It’s because streaming sites disappear even quicker than they rise to dominance, and I’m not saying The Obelisk is going to outlast Spotify or anything, but just in case, I like to keep my own records. I appreciate the indulgence on your part.

Awesome mix this time around. No real theme other than it’s new stuff I’ve been listening to a lot and digging. I very much hope you enjoy it as well. 21 tracks. About two and a half hours long.

Thanks for listening and reading:

Track details:

Artist, Track, Album, Runtime
Earthless, “Black Heaven” from Black Heaven, 8:45
Sundrifter, “Targeted” from Visitations, 4:45
Psilocibina, “Acid Jam” from LSD / Acid Jam, 7:08
Blackwater Holylight, “Sunrise” from Blackwater Holylight, 4:51
Fu Manchu, “Clone of the Universe” from Clone of the Universe, 2:57
Green Lung, “Free the Witch” from Free the Witch, 5:55
Monster Magnet, “Mindfucker” from Mindfucker, 4:59
All Souls, “Never Know” from All Souls, 5:59
Red Lama, “Perfect Strangers” from Motions, 6:47
Blackwülf, “Sinister Sides” from Sinister Sides, 4:53
Fuzz Lord, “Worlds Collide” from Fuzz Lord, 6:58
Corrosion of Conformity, “Forgive Me” from No Cross No Crown, 4:06
Apostle of Solitude, “Ruination Be Thy Name” from From Gold to Ash, 6:37
Avon, “Space Native” from Dave’s Dungeon, 4:42
Psychic Lemon, “Exit to the Death Lane” from Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay, 8:32
The Dry Mouths, “Catalonian Cream” from When the Water Smells of Sweat, 4:34
Insect Ark, “Windless” from Marrow Hymns, 8:38
Naxatras, “You Won’t Be Left Alone” from III, 11:17
Mythic Sunship, “Into Oblivion” from Upheaval, 13:56
King Buffalo, “Repeater” from Repeater, 13:40
Hound the Wolves, “Masquerade” from Camera Obscura, 13:10

If you’re interested, you can follow me on Spotify here.

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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.

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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.

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Last Hurrah Records website

 

Cavra, Cavra

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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.

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Black Tremor & Sea Witch, Split

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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.

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Hypnotic Dirge Records webstore

Sunmask Records webstore

 

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

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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.

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Who Can You Trust? Records webstore

 

Masterhand, Mind Drifter

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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.

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King Volume Records webstore

 

Green Lung, Green Man Rising

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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.

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Benthic Realm, Benthic Realm

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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

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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.

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