Album review: Green Lung – This Heathen Land

Stoner occultists Green Lung raise doom claws to paganism, nature and witchcraft on brilliant coming-of-age third album…

Album review: Green Lung – This Heathen Land
Steve Beebee

Ever walked in ancient forests or foggy mountains and got the impression that something’s with you, an echo, a shadow just out of sight? Maybe the ‘something’ isn’t actually a bad thing. Isn’t there a primitive and instinctive something in us all, that calls us away from the 5G microwave madness of modern life and back towards nature? It’s this – plus a dose of the witchy cult horror that entranced them as kids – that motivates British coven Green Lung’s doomy, metalized take on classic rock. This Heathen Land is its third and perhaps ultimate manifestation.

Here, among Scott Black’s dense but eloquent guitar work and John Wright’s frantic but captivating old school organ, are songs that mesmerise. Singer Tom Templar, his keening voice somewhere between supercharged Ozzy and spectral, multi-tracked Freddie Mercury, tells us of folk heroes the Pendle Witches on the surging, proud-to-be-heavy Mountain Throne, and evokes the primal wonder of Dartmoor’s Wistman’s Wood and its legion of legends on the riff-heavy Hunters In The Sky. A more instant hit is the freaked-out Maxine (Witch Queen), featuring a bravura organ performance, while One For Sorrow decelerates to anthemic, doom metal greatness.

Perhaps the truest indicator of what propels this most folkloric of British bands is also the album’s least typical song – the windswept, contemplative Song Of The Stones. Its gentle, Myrkur-esque acoustics drink in the odd, skin-tingling wonder of standing with history, the feeling of aeons passed, a beautiful song made greater still by a solo that’s reminiscent of Pink Floyd legend Dave Gilmour. There’s more heaviness and fervour in The Ancient Ways before the vampire-themed Oceans Of Time concludes in an evolving, involving climax that features the album’s most emotive melody.

Eight songs plus a spoken word intro is all this is, but it’s all that it needs to be. Welcome to Green Lung’s weird church.

Verdict: 5/5

For fans of: Ghost, Myrkur, Black Sabbath

This Heathen Land is released on November 3 via Nuclear Blast

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