Green Lung – Woodland Rites

Green Lung sounds like something a toad sexer or Brussels sprout merchant might catch; a chronic illness that makes you snot everywhere while your pubes fall out. In truth, though, it’s a quintet of Doomed Hard Rockers from South London, who are about to release their debut album, Woodland Rites (Kozmik Artifactz).

This is a celebration of all things sylvan, profane and, indeed, arcane. It is an invitation to, as one song (‘The Ritual Tree’) puts it, “See what’s behind the leaves of Old Hackney Wood”, which presumably does not mean doggers or violent 14-year-olds drunk on Blue Lightning.

What this means, in practice, is a heavier, blokier version of Blood Ceremony, with much less flute, and a bit more Alice In Chains thrown in for good measure. Such bands live and die on their guitars, so the rich, heavy sound and rigorous solos count for a lot. So too does the suitably heavy bass and the Mellotrons piping away like it’s 1975 and Bill Ward is still in his wife’s tights.

So, a hit then? Sadly not. In part, it’s because the band falls for the old trap of sounding like a seventies’ Occult Rock combo, but not doing anything new with it. Indeed, the album sounds like a re-tread of all the worn out, generic English Doom Metal preoccupations – druggy horror films, occultism, dark psychedelia, getting your bits out in a woodland glade at midnight, and so on.

Sometimes, it leads to full-on facepalm, with songs like ‘Templar Dawn’, which sounds like a pale pastiche of Cathedral’s ‘Night Of The Seagulls’. (And much as I love Tombs Of The Blind Dead, surely other cult horror films are available?) Likewise, there is something tiresome about the album’s romanticising the “old religion”, like it’s any different from other faiths, which all blow their own trumpets with equal rigour.

This is a shame, especially when the tracks stand out and are original, like ‘Call Of The Coven’ which sounds fresh and does an interesting thing with its song structure. At this point, the album moves from being a tad enjoyable to nigh on promising. It’s worth stressing here that, beyond the clichés, Woodland Rites is neither all that tepid or even mediocre. What’s there is good, but it neither breaks new ground nor dazzles enough to make a real impact.

6 / 10

ALEXANDER HAY