Rising UK doom stars Green Lung say their upcoming album This Heathen Land is their Number Of The Beast

Green Lung
(Image credit: Andy Ford)

Green Lung have emerged from the UK’s underground metal scene like a leafy tendril creeping through the eye socket of a skull on a forest floor. 2019’s debut full-length, Woodland Rites, was full of mulchy melodic doom goodness, while 2021’s Black Harvest expanded on a Queen-like grandiloquence that had always lurked in the undergrowth. 

The band tell us why their upcoming third album, This Heathen Land, could be their The Number Of The Beast

Metal Hammer line break

Does this take another big step forward, the way Black Harvest did from your debut? 

Scott Black (guitars): “During Black Harvest we were trying to make the soundtrack to a folk-horror film that exists only in our minds, and with this album the goal was to realise that. You know when an Electric Wizard song cues up and there’s a sample from an old horror film that sets the vibe before the song explodes? Our initial thought was, ‘What if the sample was part of the song, and it was all this cohesive thing and it feels like a soundtrack?’” 

Tom Templar (vocals): “Another big part of this record is seeing how far we can stretch what Green Lung is. Can Green Lung go full folk with no heavy guitars? Can Green Lung do a trad doom song, or an over-the-top NWOBHM song?"

Are all those things on the album? 

Tom: “It’s more like ‘in the spirit of’… We’re always going to have Scott’s heavily styled guitars, which are very distinctive, and my voice and the way the sonics land for a five-piece with an organist. We didn’t really know what we were doing on Woodland Rites, but it worked. With Black Harvest there was the pandemic and we wrote it from our bedrooms. With this one, we’re using all that experience to try to make the Green Lung record, the most Green Lung record you could make. I think we’ve got close. Maybe we’ve done it. It’s a bit more headbanging vintage heavy metal this time round. Me and Scott saw Mercyful Fate headline Mystic Festival and we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s go over the top with this one, let’s really push it.’” 

So it’s still that British Isles folk horror thing, but are there political statements like Leaders Of The Blind from the last album? 

Tom: “It isn’t necessarily a folk-horror album, more a celebration of folklore. I’ve also been specific about the locality this time. There’s a song set in Lancashire, one set on Dartmoor. That one is in the whole ‘right to roam’ space [in January, a judge ruled that wild camping was banned on Dartmoor; it’s since been overturned]. It’s a ‘fuck you’ to the landlords who are trying to claim Dartmoor but within a folklore horror concept. I don’t want to beat people over the head with the politics, but it’s still there. It’s just that the story takes precedence. We want to take people back into that Green Lung world.” 

So, Green Lung as you’ve never heard them but more Green Lung than ever? 

Scott: “The more you do a band, the more you understand what it is you’re doing. We wanted to capture a lot of the vibe and storytelling of Woodland Rites along with the bombastic, ostentatious part of Black Harvest, but also to marry it to songs that are as direct and well-written as possible.” 

Tom: “I’m not saying we’re Iron Maiden, but if you listen to their first two albums, they’re very punky and scrappy. Then you listen to The Number Of The Beast and it comes together in a more epic way but it’s still the same thing. With this, we were like, ‘Can we make that Number Of The Beast leap?’ That’s where I think Iron Maiden becomes the classic Iron Maiden and that’s what we’re shooting for here. If we can establish the classic Green Lung, you have your entire career after that seeing what you can do with it.”

This Heathen Land is due November 3 via Nuclear Blast

Paul Travers has spent the best part of three decades writing about punk rock, heavy metal, and every associated sub-genre for the UK's biggest rock magazines, including Kerrang! and Metal Hammer