Free The Witch
19th February 2018 – Deckhead Records
01. Lady Lucifer
02. Free the Witch
03. Living Fossil
04. Older than the Hills
London’s stoner rock scene is bloody fantastic. There’s a definite sound emerging; younger bands are fiercely experimenting with a broad template laid down by the Electric Wizards, but played through all kinds of prog, noise, synth or extreme filters. Green Lung are one such band, but focus on a psychedelic take on stoner doom, taking the monolithic riffs favoured by their peers and adding more colour and momentum.
The really spectacular thing about Green Lung is how joyous their riffs are; talking about riffs ad nauseum feels like a belaboured point, but there are few bands in the scene writing such active, dazzling guitar parts. “Lady Lucifer” opens up their new EP Free The Witch, and features a fantastic riff that opens naturally into a deft solo. “Free The Witch” is a little more vocal-driven, but again the guitars really open up in the solo section. “Living Fossil” is a little slower, and here the guitars are given time to breathe and experiment earlier on; this is also a great exhibition of the stellar bass sound. The mammoth “Older Than The Hills“, rounding off the record, shimmers as it gradually unfolds, the closest the EP flirts with really devastating, destructive doom.
Whilst no-one is shocked at a guitar-heavy doom band, the melodies are often used as a callback which helps to structure tracks; there’s just enough shrewd popcraft to make these clever, rewarding songs, which doesn’t conflict with their doom aesthetic. It’s refreshing to hear a band really nail a modern-sounding mix. Here, the cleaner presentation greatly helps the clarity of ideas – it is, after all, an ideas-heavy EP and it’d be a shame if they weren’t presented as cleanly.
Free The Witch has a heavily retro feel to the reverb-drenched vocals; this feels like it appears more to the bouncier, fun side of stoner doom rather than the blisteringly heavy side of doom (such as the Conans or the Slabdraggers). Aside from having a great sound it could do with taking a few more risks, but it’s a coherent, cleverly-arranged package.
Of the band’s two EPs to date, Free The Witch displays much tighter songwriting and a more consistent musical aesthetic, but it’s also goddamn fun. A strong offering from a great scene, and with a notable advancement from their previous effort, this is a good indicator of exciting things still to come.