"We haven’t had to take the devil's bargain just yet": meet Green Lung, the occult rockers who've stumbled on a formula for infernal success

Green Lung standing in front of a large rock
(Image credit: Andy Ford)

After two albums of folk-tinged, riff-driven doom, London-based Green Lung have stumbled on a formula for infernal success – and they didn’t even need to hang about a crossroads at midnight to get there. 

“Maybe one,” vocalist Tom Templar muses. “Scott [Black, guitars] and I went up to Dartmoor recently, and there was a crossroads where a woman had been murdered, so we figured we should write a song about it. We haven’t had to take the devil’s bargain just yet.” 

Faustian bargains or not, Green Lung have become a cult sensation over the past couple of years, drawing massive audiences everywhere from Bloodstock to Download, Roadburn to Desertfest. For their set at the latter in 2022 the 500-capacity Underworld filled long before they were due on stage. 

“Desertfest is such a spiritually important place for us,” Templar says, adding that the band “effectively got together” there in 2017. 

Rather than dedicate themselves mindlessly to the Sabbath template, Green Lung embraced ye olde English sensibilities on 2019’s Woodland Rites and 2021 follow-up Black Harvest, conjuring the spirit of Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer and other primordial metal influences in the process. New album This Heathen Land is another beast entirely, swapping quaint folk-horror for a big-budget spookfest, à la Ghost.

Refreshingly unrestrained, This Heathen Land delights in shifting dials, from the menacing occult rock of This Forest Church to the trad doom of One For Sorrow, to minimalistic folk with Song Of The Stones, to gothic popmetal with Maxine

As much fun as Green Lung have had stylistically on This Heathen Land, it’s the songs’ subject matter that fires up Templar the most. While keen to stress that it isn’t quite a concept record, the songs are all linked thematically, with Templar using his knowledge of spooky locales to explore supernatural happenings. 

“When I was twelve I found this book called Witches And Sorcerers. It had a picture of a woman with a pentagram on her back. After that I collected everything I could find in the second-hand bookstores of rural Norfolk.” 

For all his love of the occult, Templar has no Geezer Butler-style stories of dabbling in the dark arts himself. 

“I’m more of a fascinated observer,” he admits. “I could never truly commit to one idea or religion, because I’m equally fascinated by them all. I want to read old Norse texts and find out what the Vikings believed, as I do what Gerald Gardner was up to with the Bricket Wood Coven. But I definitely believe in the Alan Moore understanding of magic, where creative practice becomes something more than just creativity. Stories can change people’s lives in a real way, and that’s what I hope Green Lung does.”

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.