Review: Green Lung ‘Free The Witch’

Green Lung, a five-piece from London, seem to be making a something of a splash among the riff-loving cognoscenti. Their excellent debut album Woodland Rites was released on Kozmik Artifacktz back In March and is now all sorts of sold-out, and they were one of the first nine bands confirmed for the London leg of Desertfest in 2020. It’s all been going so well that Kozmik Artifacktz have taken the welcome step of giving Green Lung’s debut EP (originally released on cassette by Deckhead Records in February 2018) a re-release on vinyl. Vinyl is definitely a good plan here, giving the excellent artwork more space to breathe and fitting well with the slightly retro feel of the music.

Green Lung ‘Free The Witch’

For me, a good EP is about as close as you can get to musical perfection and I’ve never understood why they often seem to be the preserve of bands just starting out. At twenty-odd minutes an EP is long enough to fit in a range of tunes and give listeners a decent idea of what your band can do, while at four or five tracks long it’s short enough to be all good stuff with no padding. You can see why that would appeal to new bands, but why not to more established bands as well? The two EPs Scissorfight released mid-career were, to my mind, the best things they ever did.

Anyway, digression over. I like EPs and Green Lung are re-releasing one. What does it sound like?  Well, for starters I’m not sure that I agree with the press release description of Free The Witch “mixing traditional heavy doom with folk-horror infused psychedelia”. I can hear the “folk-horror”, primarily in the vocals and lyrical matter, and I suppose the Malleus Maleficarum chant that closes the title track is distinctly doomy, but… For me this is a straight-up stoner rock record, and an excellent one at that. Do people shy away from the stoner rock label because of the deluge of astonishingly generic and forgettable stoner bands that plagued us in the early 2000s? Who knows, but it can still sound awesome when bands play with conviction and inject a bit of their own personality to it as Green Lung do.

Green Lung kick into a classic stoner riff that demands you get into the groove, all underpinned by a monstrous bass tone…

You know within ten seconds of the first track Lady Lucifer that this is going to be good. After a brief intro, Green Lung kick into a classic stoner riff that demands you get into the groove, all underpinned by a monstrous bass tone. They clearly know their way round a chorus as well, and the one on the opening track is perhaps the catchiest on the EP. Free The Witch follows in a similar vein, with more energetic riffing and swirling organ building into another awesome chorus. The final two minutes of the track see the band shifting down a few gears and cranking up the heaviness as they smash through the aforementioned outro.

Third track Living Fossil is propelled by a head-nodding, foot-stomping riff that really takes me back to the turn of the millennium – really reminiscent of late, great bands like Solarized. Very appropriate considering the vocal refrain “I’m a blast from the past”. The original version of the EP finished with Older Than The Hills, which works well. Built around the tried and tested formula of mellow verse / loud chorus, it’s suitably epic and I particularly enjoyed the Church Of Misery-style bass-wah that surfaces towards the end.

The vinyl re-release has a further bonus track, When The Axe Comes Down, which was recorded in the original sessions but omitted from the EP’s first release. While it’s no means a bad track, you can see why it didn’t make the original cut. It’s fine, but compared to what comes before it falls a bit flat, to my ears at least. It doesn’t matter though, the rest of the EP is straight-up excellent, a perfect example of an EP that’s full to bursting with excellent riffs and memorable songs.

Label: Kozmik Artifacktz
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Scribed by: Liam Blanc