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The Last Verse:

A ’70s influenced groove-metal masterpiece from Green Lung

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The cover of 'Black Harvest' by Green Lung

The cover of 'Black Harvest' by Green Lung

The cover of 'Black Harvest' by Green Lung

wexfordpeople

THE ba nd at the centre of this week’s column will be making their Irish debut in March at the Clang Metal Festival in the National Stadium, Dublin, on March 26, 2022, and personally speaking I can’t wait.

Green Lung are one of the leading lights of the contemporary underground music scene, especially in terms of those who create metal and hard rock.

The band, who have been subject to scrutiny in a previous column, pay homage in their sound to the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and their ultimate influence, Black Sabbath.

They released their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Woodland Rites’, in March 2019, and despite not being able to tour in the manner they would have liked to promote the album, as a result of the pandemic, that debut release paved the way for the monumental ‘Black Harvest’ album which is under scrutiny this week.

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The album begins with ‘The Harrowing’ which, despite it’s extremely sparse intro, creates an intensely eerie vibe.

In some ways it could almost be described as an instrumental track with a short vocal intro from Tom Templar setting the tone.

‘Old Gods’ really kicks things off and comes on like a colossal doom-filled prog-rock work out.

While ordinarily it wouldn’t be the case with the band, there is a slight Oasis feel to the track that is interesting because it doesn’t take away from the normal Sabbath-esque heaviness.

To be fair, the Black Sabbath comparisons, while obvious, do not do justice to the band’s overall sound which is very much their own.

There is a defined melodic and commercial aspect to Green Lung that enables the band to transcend the strict ‘metal’ categorisation.

However, there is no doubting the metal leanings of ‘Leaders of the Blind’ which has one of the most monstrous riffs on the album.

It’ absolutely sublime and the fact it’s set to a lovely mid-tempo beat makes it even more appealing.

This is one of the standout tracks on the album and in a way highlights all the nuances of Green Lung that makes their music so incredibly compelling.

The chorus is absolutely massive and the fullness of the overall sound is incredible, especially through headphones.

What makes Green Lung stand apart from a lot of their contemporaries is that while their music is intensely heavy there is also a strong emphasis placed on melody.

‘Reaper’s Scythe’ begins with a gentle keyboard-led pattern before the rhythm kicks in proper.

It’s a rolling, groove-filled rocker with subtle bluesy overtones and a phenomenal chorus.

‘Graveyard Sun takes things down a completely different route to what has gone before and begins in a lovely, almost acoustic fashion.

It allows Templar the opportunity to showcase all of the tonal qualities of his voice and when the band get into their heavy groove the song doesn’t lose any of its commercial appeal.

It’s a track that also showcases Scott Black’s ability as a guitarist from the top drawer and the solo, in particular, is absolutely exquisite.

The album’s title track is fitting of that honour and though relatively short in length, clocking in at just 2’40”, it’s a fantastic piece of music.

There are soaring lead breaks underpinned by a fantastic bottom-heavy rhythmic accompaniment.

‘Upon the Altar’ is a mid-tempo, grungy rocker with some excellent twin-lead breaks.

The musicianship throughout the album is exemplary with Joseph Ghast (bass), Matt Wisemand (drums) and John Wright (organ), showcasing, alongside Templar and Black, an incredible level of talent within their respective roles.

Where a lot of the tracks on the album ease the listener in with a subtle intro segment before the heaviness comes into play that’s not the case with ‘You Bear the Mark’  which kicks into gear almost from the off.

The stop-start guitar intro sets the tone for the frenzied cacophony of sound that follows, however, in contrast to the arrangement on most of the preceding tracks when Templar’s vocals are introduced, the rhythm, initially, changes down a gear but make no mistake there is intense heaviness to the song.

Templar’s vocals are astounding on this particular song and he highlights his upper register in a wonderful way. There are also some excellent keyboard passages on the track before Scott lets rip on the lead guitar break.

‘Doomsayer’ continues the bruising nature of the preceding tracks and is one of the heaviest songs on the album while the prog-rock ‘Born to a Dying World’ brings things to a close in wonderful way. This is a fantastic album from a fabulous band.


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