North London’s Camden has a special place for South Londoners Green Lung. For one, it is the home of Desertfest where the idea of the band was first muted, and tonight’s venue, which is hosting their debut album’s launch party, was the venue where the band played their first-ever gig.
But before Green Lung take to the stage, the two support bands share a commonality with the headliners; young bands whom bring a fresh, youthful energy to long-established rock sub-genres. Edinburgh’s Juniper Grave ply occult rock with a set of strong singing by vocalist and keyboardist, Jenni, backed by swirling vocal harmonies by bassist, Sarah and guitarist, Shonagh. Fat wiggly hooks, floating church-esque keys, make an enjoyable blend of a minus-flute Blood Ceremony and what Heart may have sounded like if they had gone down a heavier route back in their earlier days. A short set only adds to the huge sense of wanting to hear more.
Green Lung’s French label-mates Deathbell follow, and although they might not offer anything progressive in the world of Doom Metal, their slow, walking-pace tempos are delivered with a youthful spirit to produce a hefty bounce in their thickly applied doom-laden atmospherics.
Green Lung take the stage in the sold-out venue, greeted by an extremely welcoming and hearty applause. As they start-up with the debut album’s opener ‘Iniatation’, I notice for the first time various potted plants hanging up around the stage and foliage hanging over speakers. This attention to detail is applied to their song craftsmanship, which hits you like a ton of bricks as ‘Woodland Rites’ explodes into action with crisp, crunchy riffage. Minor microphone malfunction doesn’t deter or ruin this monstrous, hooky metal anthem
There is a power surge of an energy coming from the band, best exemplified by vocalist Tom Templar who is clearly relishing leading his troops by example. You feel if this was an arena-sized venue he would be hurtling himself around like a younger, sugar-injected Bruce Dickenson. The album they are promoting has a positive energy, aided by some mighty huge tunes, but played live they leap at you with extra looming force – so much so, that all-of the songs aired tonight would sound monolithic in theatres, let alone arenas. ‘The Ritual tree’, the stunning ’Dawn Templar’, with its accompanying memorable leading riff, are some of the highlights; but the winner of that title surely must go to ‘Let the Devil in’, boasting a glorious singalong chorus that is so good one imagines Ozzy would bite their heads off for it.
They play slower tempo, ballad-ish ‘May Queen’ for the first-time ever, featuring some fine classic sounding vintage 70s’ soloing by guitarist Scott Black. It is delivered with the confidence of a band having been playing it all their lives. And confidence is the key here, as the band not only seem to be enjoying the attention they have been receiving, but healthily using it as a springboard to positively inject it all into their performances. All of this proves they have all the right armoury to play venues to considerably larger, appreciative crowds.
An undisputed triumphant return to the Black Heart then, for the very promising Green Lung.