Greenleaf - Rise Above the Meadow
Napalm Records
Stoner/Doom Rock
9 songs ()
Release year: 2016
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex

The way I listen to the new music lately is to shove it on a USB stick and thus have a dozen or so albums with me while riding to and from work. My car is my listening hovel, can’t help it. So when the stick I have been using for a while broke down, I wanted to make sure I transfer stuff from it I still felt needed reviewing. Swedish Greenleaf Rise Above the Meadow was one album I kept coming back to, and even though the album has been out for a while, I thought at the minimum I can rectify my total unfamiliarity with this stoner rock/metal outfit by telling you about it.

Greenleaf are veterans, they know what they are doing and it shows. A Million Fireflies takes a bit to get going, but once the band reaches the meat of the song, you can hear massively weighty stoner rock, with subterranean bass, distorted tubed guitar, delivering profound solos, and a sing along chorus, where vocalist sounds a little weepy, almost Ozzy like, but that feeling is transient. The man comes down to Earth the rest of the way, but A Million Fireflies is one hell of a single. For the next five cuts or so Greenleaf lays brick upon stoner brick. Howl (just like Tyrants Tongue later) is very percussive, delivering jagged jazzy rhythms, so when the steady part arrives, the song feels more powerful, almost blasting itself right into unhinged solo. Golden Throne is a short straight up balls to the wall rocker, and Carry Out the Ribbons, even if a little sadder, still feels somewhat playful.

It is Levitate and Bow which brings an inflection point and new territory on Rise Above the Meadow. The ominous strum and distorted guitar touches are the prelude to the mid-way punch to the gut, war drums beginning to beat incessantly, pulsating vocals spitting out the words, so one could realize that Greenleaf is not just fun and games, and there is some gloom and doom here as well. Greenleaf may have their sound be based in the 70s, but there are no flowery shirts and bell bottomed pants wearing by these Swedes. Research shows them in pleated shirts, cargo pants and denim, so the look very much goes along with significant heftiness which can be heard on Rise Above the Meadow. After Levitate and Bow I began hearing darker side on You’re Gonna Be My Ruin, something maybe even gothic, until the rollercoaster Tyrants Tongue and final Pilgrims brought the album home. Slower contemplative Pilgrims reminded me cursorily of Lake of Tears on Crimson Cosmos. Weird bonkers outro solo of Pilgrims is where I would want to part with Greenleaf, saying that I had a hell of a good time listening to their latest album. If you like Horizont, The Sword or Witchcraft add Greenleaf as another band you need to hear.

Killing Songs :
A Million Fireflies, The Golden Throne, Levitate and Bow
Alex quoted 85 / 100
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