Green Lung
Black Harvest


3.5
great

Review

by Nic Renshaw CONTRIBUTOR (36 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2021 | 19 replies


Release Date: 09/03/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crop me if you’ve heard this one before

Move over, Tobias Forge! There's a new spooky-ooky camptastic retro metal band in town, and they're here to do the sorts of things retro metal bands are supposed to do: serve up big-sounding riffs and soaring epic choruses, and generally hearken back of the good old melodic days of bands like Pentagram and Witchfinder General, before all this bellowing blast beat nonsense mucked everything up and made your family reluctant to pass you the aux on road trips. Yes, Green Lung is their name and doom-y stoner-y occult psych is their game. Their guitars are fuzzed 'n' dirty but their vocals they are CLEAN, and all their lyrics about ritual murder and Satan worship are safely cloaked behind enough cheesed-up singalong hooks and simmering Hammond organs to reduce the overall impression to little more than charming make-believe, the sort of thing perfect for soundtracking all your impending Halloween parties. Their 2019 debut Woodland Rites established their ability to dependably execute this recipe, and Black Harvest only reinforces it. If I’m making all this sound a little perfunctory, that’s because it sort of is; Black Harvest is as unambitious as it is satisfying. Though their skill and panache for nailing the fundamentals of Sabbathian doomrock leads to a uniformly listenable and occasionally invigorating 43 minutes, Green Lung’s limited interest in expanding on those fundamentals keeps them planted firmly in the realm of fun-but-inessential throwbacks, ably providing nostalgic jaunts down memory lane but not a whole lot else.

That aforementioned lack of ambition has two major caveats: both side A and side B end with a spacious slower-burn that shows Green Lung may actually have potential comparable to their ‘70s heroes. “Graveyard Sun” opens with melancholic acoustics before bursting into a keyboard-laden power ballad full of delightfully devilish B-horror lines like “a little death never hurt anyone”. But even that can scarcely hold a candle to the album’s greatest triumph, closer “Born to a Dying World”. Compared to the 9 tracks preceding it, it’s revelatory: frontman Tom Templar delivers by far his finest vocal performance to date, and the imagery turns from eerie to outright apocalyptic, all rising seas and forests on fire and new dawns that bring no light. It’s a song that uses the vocabulary of classic metal to spin a decidedly of-the-moment yarn. Where the all-consuming maw of doomsday was a heady thought experiment 45 years ago, now it’s a tangible threat we all must contend with every day, and Templar gives a raw, bloodcurdling fearfulness to the lyrics here, intoning that “the seasons they all seem the same / no sunshine, no rain” as his bandmates bash away with cataclysmic force. It ultimately serves as a bit of a double-edged sword, ending the album on an undeniable high note but also making the rest of the album seem even more derivative than it already did. It’s a tantalizing taste of how this band might grow in years to come, and in comparison, the more straightforward stuff here comes off like empty calories.

Still, even empty calories can be pretty damn tasty, and Green Lung do occasionally manage to put a bit of real shine back in the tried-and-true formulas they deploy across Black Harvest. Namely, “Leaders of the Blind” spices up its lumbering groove with a kickier verse that makes the song feel like more a synthesis of two distinct flavors of doom than a straight-ahead tribute, and the swinging group-vocals of “Old Gods” provide one of the catchiest moments across the tracklist. Organist John Wright’s contributions also deserve special mention here: they’re excellent across the board, and of all the band members he arguably benefits the most from the warm, full production sound. Whenever he get a moment in the spotlight, he delivers with aplomb, adding a soulful edge to the band that they would likely be far more plain-sounding without.

Elsewhere, however, Black Harvest becomes decidedly more mired in clichés. “Reaper’s Scythe” trots out stomping Elder-lite riffs and portentous warnings of death the way you’ve likely heard a dozen-plus bands in this vein do already, with nary a twist to speak of. More pressingly, after the halfway mark the album really starts to drag, with song after song settling into samey, predictable, midtempo chugs with only a handful of admittedly good guitar solos to break up the monotony. Though each and every riff lands the way it ought to, there just isn’t enough variety in speed, volume, or mode to keep them from all blurring together, and the hooks mostly only stick enough to bob your head to 'em while they last without leaving much of an impression afterwards. It’s never unpleasant and it gets the job done, but anyone searching for a reason to listen to this instead of, say, Pagan Altar, may find their patience tested before “Born to a Dying World” finally kicks things into gear again.

Ultimately, your personal enjoyment of Black Harvest will largely depend on your enjoyment of the bands they imitate and your tolerance for unabashed retro sensibilities. Many Sabbath-keepers and Dio devotees will likely find this scratches all their particular itches with style and conviction, and many others will probably dismiss it as the same cheap nostalgia-baiting already soured by the likes of Greta Van Fleet and Wolfmother. Sure, the vast majority of what this band does is not uniquely theirs, but I think they still show enough enthusiasm and flair to earn their little place in the metal world. Green Lung have here offered enough hints at something more unique and piercing to make me hopeful that this is only the beginning of a creative and dynamic career- even if their overall M.O. is such that I wouldn’t hold my breath.



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user ratings (34)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
October 23rd 2021


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

3.4/5



recommended tracks: Born to a Dying World, Graveyard Sun, Leader of the Blind



figured I'd tackle some creepyass devil music to get in the Halloween spirit, mildly disappointing but certainly not without its strong points



support the band here: https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/

bigguytoo9
October 23rd 2021


1171 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I dont see why critics are rating this 10/10 or 9/10.

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

People who professionally cover heavy metal are easily rooked by anything that reminds them of Black Sabbath but also the production here is good which is a p solid substitute for songwriting in a pinch

garas
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


6712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Excellent review my dude (and you were fast)! I agree with pretty much agree with everything: it was fun, but maybe they could've added something new to their sound.

Digging: Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence BBC 6Music...

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


9541 Comments


cool rev bro

Digging: Angele - Nonante-Cinq

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank !



Dedex ur parquet courts rev was really good too, got me itching to finally sit down with their back catalog

Pikazilla
October 24th 2021


19750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually prefer this over debut lol

zakalwe
October 24th 2021


35035 Comments


I’m impressed with what I’ve heard

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2021


9541 Comments


Kompys 💖 def check Light Up Gold and Wide Awake, those two are the bestest

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2021


3047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty great on first listen!

RogueNine
October 26th 2021


4851 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They sure do love to stick to a formula.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2021


1638 Comments


Great review! That intro was a wild ride

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2021


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks milo! yeah the intro para is a little more gonzo than I usually go but I think it turned out quite well (:

MetalMarcJK
October 28th 2021


454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice write-up, Kompys!

Digging: Cynic - Ascension Codes

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2021


12307 Comments


Yeah, this is pretty good. Not as good as the debut for me, but still.

Digging: Reinforcer - Prince of the Tribes

butt.
October 28th 2021


9151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good write up. but you could also say the same things about 90% of stoner/doom/psych bands. They’re pretty samey, most of them are little more than Sabbath worship, but that’s fine with me, it’s all fun. This will probably be a 4 for me

parksungjoon
October 28th 2021


38529 Comments


green lung - black harvest by butt

Kompys2000
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2021


6574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@butt hmm I think 90% is maybe a generous estimate? Especially wrt vocal delivery a lot of doom/stoner bands manage to clearly distinguish themselves from the early stuff. Like I really doubt a casual listener would ever mistake Yob or Melvins or Atomic Bitchwax or even Elder for Sabbath B-sides



As for the sameyness I personally find that a much greater offense than blatant Sabbath worship, but to each their own (:

Pho3nix
November 4th 2021


1202 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

'Upon the Altar' is damn catchy.



Also great album cover



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