Bart M. : Not too long ago I asked a band the question how it was possible that their debut album sounded so professional and brilliant. The answer was, and rightfully so, that it was actually a silly question, because: why wouldn't it? And yet, there are bands out there that you listen to and can hear that they have been around for a while. This is the case with Greenleaf, who have just finished their seventh studio album. The follow-up of 2016's 'Rise Above The Meadow' is called 'Hear The Rivers'.
Opening track 'Let It Out!' starts off with a nice little tempo of drums that is accompanied by hypnotizing guitars, the sound of which will stick to the insides of your ears like sweet honey as it slowly but steadily crawls deeper into your head until it reaches the caverns of your skull just in time to get you ready for the more explosive part of the song. Arvid's pleasant voice will have a soothing effect on the listener and fits the instrumentation perfectly. All in all it is reminiscent of the laid-backness with which Masters Of Reality deliver their songs, but of course this is done the way of the Greenleaf.
The tone is set, but that does not mean there are no more surprises left! The next song, 'Sweet Is The Sound', for instance, sports vocals that sound a lot like the lamenting voices of slaves singing, supported by heavier than lead riffage as the irreversible downfall of humankind is being sung about. As we progress further down into the album, different emotions and ideas are explored, ranging from the somewhat downcast, Sabbathesque 'In The Caverns Below' to the treacherous, very touching 'A Point Of A Secret'. All of this is wrapped in heavy, groovy melodies that transfer a grand, coherent feeling as the notes keep coming and the music washes over you like a lapping creek here and a furious ocean there.
Despite the mirth that is showing through some of the songs, Greenleaf manages to evoke a rather melancholy atmosphere which gives the music an attractive, dark edge. Occasionally it tends to lean towards the monotonous side, but this rapidly disappears when you listen to this psychedelic stoner rock more often. An impressive opus.