26 Feb 2016

Greenleaf: "Rise Above the Meadow"

Relevant, ballsy in attitude and free of trend
The Swedish band Greenleaf has had a lineup in near constant turmoil since their debut in 2000. Yet they've always managed to channel that change into a positiv thing, utilising it to mix things up with their sound. Though originally combining stoner rock and alternative rock elements like Queens of the Stone Age and similar bands they've since become more modern and as a direct result come more into their own.

With "Rise Above the Meadow", their sixth album, Greenleaf elaborate upon the somewhat modern approach they had put forth as of 2014's "Trails and Passes". On the previous album the Swedish quartet had exchanged their dirty bursts of stoner riffs and groove with a more subtle and less straight forward attitude. Tracks like "Howl" and "Golden Throne" especially speak of this tendency - But the new album is in equal measures bombastic and charismatic. Lead singer Arvid Jonsson's wailing vocals are booming at the center of the universe to the spacial distortions of Tommi Holappa's engaging guitar play, underscored by an extremely powerful rhythm section in the bass and drums.

"...it's an album that deserves many listens on the long run."

Greenleaf rise above the meadow - and most similar bands - with an expertly executed album that portrays a band that isn't anywhere near done experimenting and evolving. Though not entirely catchy at first listen, barring instant earworms like "A Million Fireflies" and "Funeral Pyre", it's an album that deserves many listens on the long run. There's always some minuscule detail lurking in the background, waiting to be noticed.

The band's sixth album is above all charming in its musical naïveté and overtly authoritative completion. "Rise Above the Meadow" opens up to a lush grove of sound. Though the second half of the album seems a bit rambling at times there isn't too far between the memorable parts. Culminating in the schizophrenic "Pilgrims", which is arguably the album's overall strongest song, there's no stopping Greenleaf. As relevant and confident as ever "Rise Above the Meadow" may well be one of the best hard rock albums of 2016.


Released in 2016 by Napalm Records

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