Monday, 26 November 2012

Greenleaf - Nest of Vipers (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 12/6/2012 
Label: Small Stone Recordings
1) Jack Staff – 4:10
2) Case of Fidelity- 4:01
3) Lilith- 4:07
4) Tree of life- 4:07
5) Dreamcatcher- 3:54
6) At the Helm- 5:47
7) Sunken ships- 4:11
8) The Timelines History- 4:06
9) Nest of Vipers (A Multitude of Sins) - 8:12
In theory, forming a rock group seems like a no brainer. Get a group of musicians who have a shared love of certain bands and who can get along with each other for at least an hour. Hell, sometimes they don’t even have to be musicians (especially if you’re looking at the top 40 charts). But in reality, it’s a lot tougher, as the essential ingredient? What makes the group truly unique and memorable – is something that can’t be defined, learned, or bought. Call it a talent, magic, or whatever you want, but Greenleaf’s got it. A super group of the underground rock scene, the band was formed sometime in late 1999/early 2000 in Borlange, Sweden by guitarist Tommy Holappa (Dozer), drummer Daniel Linden (Demon cleaner and the drummer on Dozer’s “through the eyes of Heathens” and currently in Vaka), and engineer/ bassist Bengt Backe.
Featuring a revolving cast of fellow musicians who share a love of heavy fuzz rock , including Fredrik  Norden (Dozer) , and Peder Bergstrand (Lowrider), Greenleaf  has consistently defined what rock n roll was, is, and should be. You put 2001’s”Revolution Rock”, 2003’s “Secret alphabets” and 2007’s “Agents of Ahriman” and you’re going to have a hard time taking them off. The band cooks, because they’ve got that special ingredient. It’s time to rejoice, because Greenleaf is back with “Nest of Vipers” like they’re past releases “vipers “is a righteous kick in the ass and a testament to the almighty riff. This time, Tommi and Bengt are joined by Oskar Cedarmalm (Truckfighters) on vocals, Olle Marthans (Dozer) on drums Johan Rockner (Dozer) on guitar, and a handful of guest appearances. This new line up keeps Greenleaf moving without losing track of what made them great in the first place. Take note- This is what rock bands should sound like. Make way for the “Nest of Vipers”.
Self titled debut released 2000 on Molten Universe
Revolution Rock released 2001 on Molten Universe
Secret Alphabets released 2003 on Small Stone
Agents of Ahriman released 2007 on Small Stone
Nest of Vipers released 2012 on Small Stone
Greenleaf is
Tommi Holappa: Guitar
Bengt Backe: Bass
Olle Marthans: Drums
Johan Rockner: Guitar
Oskar Cederalmam: Vocals
Immediately as ‘Jack Staff’ comes in bouncing off the back of the guitar intro to be blown across the room by this formidable huge sound. Reminiscent of ‘Dozer' And ‘Demon Cleaner’ but that’s ok because Greenleaf is made out of members from those bands and more. Former and current members from ‘Lowrider’ and ‘Truckfighters’ to name a few.  Tracks ‘Case of Fidelity’ and ‘Lilith’ sound a lot like they should be on ‘Dozer’ albums, especially the latter.  But that again is ok too. With Tommi Holappa’s exciting and exuberant guitar riffs and licks he makes this album stand out from the rather crowded stoner scene for sheer quality of the song writing.  Greenleaf truly are a super group of the Swedish underground.
‘Tree of Life’ has a fantastic psychedelic introduction and ‘Truckfighters’ vocalist Oskar Cederamalm gives his all during the verses with slightly dreamy sequences which lead into some sweet band wig out’s.  The beauty of this album is that each song is an epic stoner masterpiece. Each song completely different from the next with epic structuring and assorted vibes and grooves. Just listen to ‘At the Helm’ clocking in at 5:47 with its wave smashing riffs, it is a serious contender to fight off a Kraken any day.
Now the most commercial track is the four minute perfect pop of ‘Sunken Ships’ which really does immediately remind me of the Foo Fighters at their stadium filling best.  Oh well!  The last track clocks in at over eight minutes and is called ‘Nest of Vipers (A Multitude of Sins)’ and is my favourite by far.  As a very typical  and catchy opening guitar line of about four or five notes at most but with timing and pace to kill for. Real chilled out vocals and slow fuzzy breaks accompanied by Hammond splurges creating just the right atmosphere.  Hazy, warm and stoned. This band Greenleaf, 12 years old and five corking albums under their belts.... not bad for a side project eh?
Written by: John Slaymaker
Another amazing addition to already exemplary Small Stone Recordings catalogue.  Check out some sounds from the record below.  You can buy the DD and Limited Edition vinyl here


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