Free the Witch by Green LungRelease date: November 29, 2019
Label: Kozmik Artifactz
Releasing the very impressive Woodland Rites album this year to high acclaim among the stoner/doom underground scene, South London’s Green Lung are building momentum and becoming many peoples’ ones to watch, which includes Gimme Radio DJs’ Blasko and JJ Koczan. With Green Lung being part of the first wave of bands announced for London Desertfest 2020, it is perfect timing to see their digital and cassette only 2018 Free the Witch EP receive the full vinyl and CD treatment on the Kozmik Artifactz label.
This new version of Free the Witch has been given a re-mastered re-boot by producer Wayne Adams (Big Lad/Petbrick) which also includes the additional ‘When the Axe Comes Down’, that was recorded at the time of the original recordings, but was not included first time around.
For those who have seen Green Lung live, will already know a couple of these songs are already live favourites. So, the risk of releasing earlier material being inferior to a recent release of high quality is never in doubt here. In fact, this EP can only enhance their reputation, and if you are new to the band then it will not matter a jot which way you dive in first. And using Richard Wells to design the artwork as he did for Woodland Rites only yields the strong sense of creative cohesiveness, as both are good accompanying releases – in other words, if you enjoy one, you should also enjoy the other.
Right from the off, Green Lung deliver top quality doomy tinged, hooky classic stylised heavy metal. Self-confessed fans of those bands who set the template for the said genre (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Pentagram, Blue Cheer to name only four) as well as being keen admirers and keen ears of the tones and song-structures of those pioneering legends. They may be diving into a spot of the old-school kind, but also roused by modern day sub-genre re-definers like Mastodon, Power Trip, Turnstile and Tribulation, sees them fired with passion, energy, skill, and vision, that the results are crisp, and fresh as the morning sea breeze on a cold autumn’s sunrise.
The colossal punch of opener ‘Lady Lucifer’ merges a gargantuan riff, classic twin guitar riffing, widescreen thick chuggy bass, and Tom Templar’s melodic Ozzy tinged crooning. It all amounts to an anthemic raise the horns belter. Then it’s straight into a up the tempo rocker ‘Free the Witch’, which never loses sight of the band’s keen eye on melodies. The thick organ blends into the whole to enhance the heaviness rather than trying to take over. There never is any showboating with Green Lung, it is all about complimenting each other to raise the bar high for their desired doomy, eccentric English folklore, Wicker Man occult themed metal.
The tempos are mixed up nicely so each song brings its own freshness to the equation. The excellent swinging chunky chugger of ‘Living Fossil’ – a good description of Green Lung itself, breathing new life into a well-established metal sub-genre – will get some good old fashioned head-banging started. ‘Older Than the Hills’ begins with echoes of some fine Geezer Butler sonorous bass before they show their skill and confidence to allow space into their groove. The afore-mentioned additional track and NWOBHM-esque titled ‘When the Axe Comes Down’ may not ascend to the heights of the preceding four songs, but it is still better than the dreaded filler status.
The timely re-booted release of Free the Witch demonstrates the quality Green Lung have accomplished in a very short space of time. If you haven’t already heard the full-length debut Woodland Rites then you really have extra treat in store as they get even better. For those who have, this EP confirms they did hit the ground running and if they continue with the same leap of progression on their next album, it’s going to be a mouth watering prospect.