It’s a Thursday night in Manchester, and the Green Lung gig at Gorilla has been sold out for a few months, so expectations were already high, but after the release of their stunning third album This Heathen Land there was palpable excitement in the air at the packed venue.
Support was from Boss Keloid, formed in Wigan in 2010, who ease people into their set with Gentle Clovis which flows along nicely, all spaced out and trippy but with a bit of an edge to it, and followed by the equally brilliant Smiling Thrush which, as well as having almost angelic sections, has an instantly heavier sound to it.
With singer Alex Hurst removing his hat to reveal his shining head, and bathed in soft blue lighting, they ease into Peykruve. With the bass sound being crystal clear, this one gets the heads bobbing in the crowd, as their brand of prog-doom starts to hit home. It’s been several years since I last saw them live, and I forgot how good they were, with an array of well-written and executed songs in their arsenal.
With Orang Of Nyon, they take the crowd on a journey, and it’s played with emotion and passion…
With Orang Of Nyon, they take the crowd on a journey, and it’s played with emotion and passion from all of them before powerful drumming signals the opening for Hats The Mandrill, another song that meanders and drifts along effortlessly before they finish with Chronosiam to wrap up forty-five minutes of a wonderful pleasure ride of a set.
With all empty spaces at the front being filled, a hush descends upon the crowd as smoke and blue lights fill the stage, one by one the band emerge to loud cheers as Prologue begins the show. With the keyboard sound high in the mix alongside the drums, and with a heavy-sounding bass tone, they launch into The Forest Church with vocalist Tom Templar sounding top class, the eerie, mysterious song is met with huge applause. Maxine (Witch Queen) gets the crowd responding more, with the keyboard sound from John Wright adding dramatic effects, the song just oozes class and gets the audience singing along.
the song [Maxine (Witch Queen)] just oozes class and gets the audience singing along.
‘Evening Manchester, we are Green Lung from London’ bellows a beaming Templar, as he leads into the epic Woodland Rites, followed by a song about Lancashire Mountain Throne, which is bathed in red lights and has a cracking solo from Scott Black. Both band and crowd are enjoying this and with one hand aloft, Templar is like a wizard casting a spell over everyone, mesmerizing us all with the power of the songs.
‘This is the first Green Lung with no heavy metal riff’ proclaims Templar, and with one big drum sound and acoustic guitar they perform the beautiful Song For The Stone, which brings a hush to the assembled masses, atmospheric and powerful throughout, it adds something completely different to the night, and with the emotive Hunters In The Sky following this, the band showcase just how talented they are.
Templar has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand…
‘For sufferers of depression, we’ll always have heavy metal’ is screamed as the introduction for One For Sorrow, and it’s a song you can’t help but move your head and body to, as the beat is slow, with hypnotic drumming from Matt Wiseman. The crowd start to go a bit crazier during The Ritual Tree and with the heaviness of Reaper’s Scythe, Templar has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, before proclaiming that ‘Manchester – Old Gods never die’, which sounds awesome and after the wondrous Oceans Of Time, they exit the stage to extremely loud applause.
With seven new songs being played off their outstanding album This Heathen Land, they mix it really well with older songs. Let the Devil In, the first of a two-song encore, has the lights shining off the glistening mirror balls on the ceiling, which adds to the atmosphere, and with the crowd throwing their horns in the air, we are treated to the exquisite song that is Graveyard Sun to finish what has been a bewitching and captivating live performance.
This is a band that are destined for greatness, which they probably know themselves as the reception they received was magnificent. No doubt their next tour will be in much bigger venues as they are ready to take over the world and spread their occult, doomy, metal goodness to the masses. What a night!!!