"There's the overwhelming sensation that we've all just witnessed something very, very special." Riffs, witches and a Dorset Ooser: Green Lung just showed Brighton why they could well be heavy metal's next Big Deal

Green Lung show Brighton why they're one of the most talked about bands in all of metal right now courtesy of an intimate but epic show at Patterns

Tom Templar singing on stage
(Image: © Regidor/WireImage via Getty Images)

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"This one is dedicated to anyone suffering with depression. It may never leave us, but at least we can drown it out with metal." Green Lung might not be the first band you'd turn to for moments of candid poignancy, but judging by the spell they've cast over Brighton tonight, there's a connection the Londoners have forged with their fanbase that goes far beyond their riotously entertaining occulty-wulty schtick. 

Not that said schtick isn't brilliantly realised and earnestly delivered: from the band's 70s-indebted stoner-doom riffs and magickal lyrics to their beautifully crafted artwork and impressively decked out stage (skulls! crows! a Dorset Ooser!), Green Lung's sense of world-building is fast becoming as epic as their songs. And what songs: opening with a triple-header of anthemic cuts from this year's fabulous This Heathen Land, the five-piece quickly flex the scale at which their songwriting chops have grown in recent years. The Forest Church and Maxine (Witch Queen) are packing two of 2023's biggest choruses, sung full-heartedly by a packed-out Patterns, while Mountain Throne is pinned around a riff that would make Tony Iommi pull an impressed screw-face. 

There's a surprising but brilliantly executed change of pace early on, too, as the band pull out the brooding, slow-building Song Of The Stones, a track frontman Tom Templar knowingly describes as their "first without any metal riffs". It could have been a stone cold momentum-killer, but it isn't; rather, its booming drums and swells of twinkly keys create a captivating atmosphere, the 'Can you hear the stones / Calling you back home?' refrain sung back at the band in a way that makes the gig feel less like a rollocking rock 'n' roll show and more like a ritual baptism.

Musically, the band sound fantastic live, John Wright's work behind the keyboard particularly standing out and adding an extra layer of psychedelic madness to the heavy metal thunder of bangers like Hunters In The Sky. Templar's voice is also note-perfect, sounding like Ghost's Papa Emeritus might well do if he was forged with woodland folk magic rather than the Satanic dark arts.

By the time the singer makes his statement about depression before the stirring One For Sorrow, Green Lung already have Brighton firmly in the palm of their hands. They don't let go until it's all over a few songs later; as hundreds of grinning, black-clad metallers shuffle back out into a freezing cold South Coast night, there's the overwhelming sensation that we've all just witnessed something very, very special. And that we may not see this band in venues this small again any time soon.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.