Greenleaf has been around since late 1999/early 2000, when Tommi Holappa (Dozer), Daniel Lidén (Demon Cleaner) and Bengt Bäcke (record producer/studio engineer, Dozer, Demon Cleaner, Lowrider) formed the band as a side project. Rise Above the Meadow is the Swedes’ seventh album to date, which goes to show that sometimes, side projects can be longer living beasts that produce more than maybe only one or two recording efforts. Holappa has previously been quoted as saying that these days, it’s Dozer that has become his “side project”, and they certainly took a lengthy hiatus from 2009 until 2012.
This album’s first track, A Million Fireflies, starts off with a great drum intro and then heads straight into a really good groove with Kyuss-like riffs aplenty. The vocals don’t seem to hit with the same grunt as the music, and for me, I would have preferred them to have been mixed a bit louder and to have a slightly grittier touch throughout the album. The majority of this album is very much in the stoner-rock vein, with a reasonable touch of psychedelic sixties and heavy rock seventies sounds.
The epic Levitate and Bow (Parts 1 & 2) has a slower, almost monotone start to it, but kicks off into a faster, heavier groove by the time we get into Part 2. The vocals have a fuzzy quality to them all through this track, and after a while, I found myself wishing for them to change back into normal mode. (Make your mind up! -ed)
Most of the album tracks contain some great 70’s/stoner sounding guitar, and the solo on Tyrants Tongue is a rocking effort! The drumming throughout the entire album (courtesy of the superbly-monickered Sebastian “Kongo” Olsson) is damn good and will certainly get you moving. These guys display some serious talent with their instruments of choice, and it’s only the vocals that seem to need a lift at times (they need to rise above, if you will).
This album is fairly similar to 2014’s Trails & Passes, which shouldn’t disappoint any of you if you enjoyed that release. Rise Above the Meadow is seriously worth a listen people!
Rise Above the Meadow is out now on Napalm Records