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Greenleaf - "Rise Above the Meadow" (CD)

Greenleaf - "Rise Above the Meadow" CD cover image

"Rise Above the Meadow" track listing:

1. A Million Fireflies
2. Funeral Pyre
3. Howl
4. Golden Throne
5. Carry Out The Ribbons
6. Levitate And Bow (Pt. 1 & 2)
7. You´re Gonna Be My Ruin
8. Tyrants Tongue
9. Pilgrims

Reviewed by on March 24, 2016

"Fuzzy riffs, memorable vocal refrain, and tasty drum licks make “Rise Above the Meadow” something for fans of this genre to focus on their radar."

If one were to pick up a record of Greenleaf, just looking at the name of the band alone dictates what that person will hear: stoner rock. Those with their ears to the ground will already know what is in store, though, as this group of Swedes has been around for 16 years. Greenleaf started off as a side project of Dozer in 2000 and never hinged on the title of “side project” as the band has released several albums.

“Rise Above the Meadow,” the album in question, contains many of the facets expected of stoner rock, with moments of ‘70s prog rock timing. Drummer Sebastian Olsson plays with a Bill Ward style that screams that lost (but not forgotten) decade. “Carry Out the Ribbons” sounds as if a needle is adhered to vinyl. Very vintage. This especially shows on the third track “Howl.” There is no need to look that far, though, for as soon as vocalist Arvid Jonsson opens his pipes, there is a definite 70s quality. “Levitate and Bow (Parts 1 and 2)” shows the band steeped in melody, even playing a hint of keyboards in the beginning, but switching to a heavier stance for the second part of the song complete with driving drums. Still, the song retains a meditative side due to the vocals.

“Levitate and Bow” shows the band at its heaviest and stony-ist on the album. They band even refers to getting stoned and “taking us higher.” This is Greenleaf at it’s best. Once the second side of the song steps in, the chorus lines are simply the most memorable lyrics of the album. This song is also the longest on the album.

The fuzzed out guitars on “You’re Gonna Be My Ruin” are another aspect of the album that will keep stoner rock lovers returning. “Tyrants Tongue” is another track to pay attention to for rich vocal refrain. Just like the first part of “Levitate and Bow,” this song has an excellent drive to it via the drums. The track overall has a Kyuss feel to it. “Golden Throne” keeps the album modern, recalling bits of Clutch and Queens of the Stoned Age (particularly in its bouncy rhythms) and Arvid’s vocals lend the album a Queens feel throughout.

Fuzzy riffs, memorable vocal refrain, and tasty drum licks make “Rise Above the Meadow” something for fans of this genre to focus on their radar. It is not a stoner/doom album, so those lurching, huge-strident riffs aren’t really available. However, neither are the repetitive qualities that pull down stoner doom. A chunk of a big riff would make this album heavier overall, but it stands on its own for what Greenleaf has done.

Highs: Fuzzy riffs, catchy vocal refrain

Lows: The album could use some heavier moments.

Bottom line: Stoner rock fans will dig this album.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)