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Trails and Passes

Greenleaf — Trails and Passes (May 2014)

Sweden                                    Greenleaf — Trails and PassesGreenleaf — Trails and Passes
¬°Γ   Hravé riffy, vrstvené vokály, hudba je složitější, a jsem si jist, že strávili spoustu času budováním písní, některé verše jsou dost těžké. Píseň “Depth of the Sun” se objevila ve třetí hodině vysílání ze čtyř, December 23rd, 2014 (Total running time: 4:02:57) pořadu audiObelisk Radia, Transmission 043 by H.P. Taskmaster. Link uvádím.

        © photo from fridays show at Klubbfuzz taken by Erik Bäckvall. Tommi Holappa.
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Album release: May 2014
Record Label: Small Stone Records
Duration:     42:15
1. Our Mother Ash      3:15
2. Ocean Deep      5:33
3. Equators     3:31
4. Depth Of The Sun      4:38
5. Humans      4:30
6. With Eyes Wide Open      8:07
7. The Drum      2:55
8. Bound To Be Machines      4:15
9. Trails And Passes      5:41
¬°Γ   Tommi Holappa — Guitar
¬°Γ   Sebastian Olsson — Drums
¬°Γ   Bengt Bäcke — Bass
¬°Γ   Arvid Jonsson — Vocals
Håkan Nyman
¬°Γ   Alright it seems that I again have to to be the village fool. 'Trails & Passes' is my fellow Swedes' 5th full–length but up til now I have never heard of them. I know I should be more than ashamed especially since I like guitarist Tommi Holappa's other band Dozer. Let me blame it on having lived in the States for too long. Regardless my pettiness I am glad this album was sent my way because the trippy, spaced out stoner-psych Greenleaf are playing is absolutely fantastic. And it gives me some backtracking to do since these bonged–out Swedes are well worth checking up on.
¬°Γ   Guitarist Tommi Holappa and bassist Bengt Bäcke are the only mainstays through the band's career and this time they have brought in singer Arvid Jonsson and drummer Sebastian Olsson. And this new constellation don't disappoint. Of course, I don't what their previous releases sounds like but that doesn't matter because Greenleaf lets the riffs and the groove dictate this wax.
¬°Γ   A bluesy riff starts off opener 'Our Mother Earth' before the band launches into a barnstormer of a song. Leaning heavily into heavy rock of the 70's it's a brilliant starter indeed. Going for groove and jam 'Ocean Deep' builds up slowly until this psych–sounding piece kind of explodes in the second half with a brutal guitar solo. Starting almost like 'Mississippi Queen', 'Equators' quickly turns into a stoner tune mixed with a good pinch of power blues of the highest order. Amazing, you hear?!?!?! It's back to groove and spaced out rock on 'Depth Of The Sun'. Almost like a Clutch song with John Garcia or Mark Lanegan on vocals 'Humans' is that type of song that builds up increasingly in parts. Slightly different but very good.
¬°Γ   'With Eyes Wide Open' takes us on a trip and a half. Just stick your nose in the rose in the hole and it smells like a dream if you know what I mean. An awesome space trip on the slower side so just close your eyes and you'll be somewhere else, somewhere good! Knee deep in blues with blistering guitar work and some heavy hitting drumming 'The Drum' is over too quickly. Remedy is right around the corner though in 'Bound To Be Machines'. Greenleaf play some real good riff–infested stoner here with Arvid sounding like Mark Lanegan which is a big plus in my book. Round of the album is the title track and the Screaming Trees references are here in abundance and I love it. Musically it's more spacey and stoner than the Trees ever were. It's in the vocal delivery and the harmonies it comes out and it is amazing.
¬°Γ   Well, what can I say? A better introduction than this to a "new" band is virtually impossible. 'Trails & Passes' took me by storm and it is constantly growing which is a great trait in a great album. Not only that, it also has given me a purpose, a strong purpose, in getting my hands on the band's other releases. These guys are way too good to be ignored so get off your asses and investigate and invest in Greenleaf!
Håkan Nyman, http://thesludgelord.blogspot.com/
Review by Raul Stanciu STAFF
May 28th, 2014 | Score: 3.6 Great
Review Summary: Starting anew
¬°Γ   Greenleaf's previous record, Nest Of Vipers was an amazing blend of powerful grooves and slick melodies. The efforts paid off by combining the band's musical prowess with Truckfighters' bassist Oskar's great, unmistakable voice. Each track had its own thing going and none overstayed its welcome. However, mastermind Tommi Holappa (also of Swedish stoner legends, Dozer) started anew last year by making some lineup changes, which included a new frontman, Arvid Jonsson.
¬°Γ   Since there was a four year gap in between Agents Of Ahriman and the aforementioned record and new members came on board, nobody expected Trails & Passes to see the light of day so soon. Fortunately, it doesn't fail to deliver. The cool, riff–based tunes still offer more or less the same fun, however, there is a slightly toned-down vibe overall that might have to do with Jonsson's addition. His elegant croon doesn't boast the usual raucous stoner snarl or even the powerful, emotive tone Oskar used, thus being closer at times to Black Keys' Dan Auerbach (especially on 'Our Mother Ash' or 'The Drum'). Nevertheless, the music has been somewhat adjusted as well. It's clear Holappa & Co. wanted to change things around and Arvid helps considerably.
¬°Γ   Musically, the tracks are stripped this time of most additional layers such as organs or keyboards. Little tweaks are performed with guitar effects, but the vast majority of the LP is just headbanging fun from start to finish. 'Our Mother Ash' is a straightforward, energetic opener that continues their trend with some playful riffs and layered vocals. Even though it isn't as explosive as 'Jack Staff' for example, there's some shredding and a catchy chorus that instantly grabs your attention. The manic 'Equators' and the moody 'Ocean Deep' offer some interesting variations, but the best Trails & Passes has to offer must be 'Depth Of The Sun'. A more introspective, mid–tempo cut that undoubtedly shares the most infectious melody here. The swaying chorus is backed by powerful drumming while the heavy verses prevent this from falling into the power ballad territory. Also, the gritty, eponymous closer is a dirty, hip shaking monster. The awesome bass line backed up by some matching power chords and pile driving drumming, helping Arvid knock out some of his best lines so far.
¬°Γ   In the end, although this effort doesn't surpass Nest Of Vipers, it's admirable the band decided to follow different paths. The music is more intricate and I am sure they spent a lot of time building the songs, however, simply put, the hooks were stronger last time. Still, everyone must appreciate the fact they chose to move on and not rehash the same formula. They will surely find the balance again to produce another classic seeing how consistent they are. Moreover, since Greenleaf became Holappa's main project at the moment, I am confident we will hear news sooner than we'd think of and expectations are very high since they have become one of the most entertaining stoner acts today. :: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/
¬°Γ   Almost by definition, musical side projects aren’t meant to last very long, but rather serve as brief, often one–time departures for musicians otherwise engaged with far more pressing or successful bands — and that’s why Greenleaf has proved itself to be anything but your typical “side project.”
¬°Γ   Yes, this Scandinavian music collective has gone through quite the revolving cast since their arrival on the scene, much like an auditory Y2K virus in that fateful millennium flip; but the one constant bond that has repeatedly drawn them together, every few years, like an irresistible gravitational force, is a shared musical vision, straddling the realms of stoner and alternative rock. Such was the case when Greenleaf first assembled behind Lowrider vocalist Peter Bergstrand for that eponymous, year 2000 debut EP; welcomed Dozer frontman Fredrik Nordin for is 2001 follow–up, Revolution Rock; added Demon Cleaner guitarist Daniel Jansson for 2003’s Secret Alphabets; integrated Truckfighters singer Oskar Cedermalm in time for 2007’s Agents of Ahriman; and powered ahead behind reliable mainstay, guitarist Tommi Holappa, for 2012’s Nest of Vipers.
¬°Γ   Now, Greenleaf is on the move again, bidding Cedermalm “adieu” and saying a hearty “hola” to a tandem of new recruits in frontman Arvid Jonsson and drummer Sebastian Olsson, who joined Holappa and long–serving bassist Bengt Bäcke in time to record (incidentally, with no outside help, guest musicians, or other additives) what would become Greenleaf’s next and fifth long–player, Trails and Passes.
¬°Γ   And, as has always been the case with this ever–evolving sonic beast, the music magically draws out the best talents of whoever happens to be involved, resulting in a modern rock amalgam as impossible to simplify as it is futile to want to; after all simultaneously familiar and surprising new sounds seem to be the ultimate thread connecting Greenleaf’s long career.
¬°Γ   A career that now sees the group categorically divesting itself of any lingering “side project” associations (ask Holappa and he’ll bluntly tell you it is Dozer that’s become his “side project” these days) and graduating to well–deserved headline status — the better to take the Greenleaf name to the next level on the abundant strengths of Trails and Passes.
Bandcamp: http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/trails-and-passes
Label: http://www.smallstone.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greenleafrocks?fref=ts
Rádio Obelisk: http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/tag/greenleaf-trails-and-passes/
Artist Biography by Eduardo Rivadavia
¬°Γ   Swedish hard rockers Greenleaf consist of singer Fredrik Nordin, guitarists Daniel Jansson, and Tommi Holappa, bassist Bengt Bäcke and drummer Daniel Lidén. ¬°Γ   Though they officially only started working together in 1999, the band's membership had long ties to the healthy local stoner rock movement (both Nordin and Holappa having put in time with Dozer and Liden with Demon Cleaner), so the pooling of their efforts led to a quite natural progression on both their debut four–song E.P. and 2001's Revolution Rock debut. After a lengthy hiatus that allowed all involved to attend to their other on–going projects, Greenleaf signed with Small Stone Records and released their second album Secret Alphabets in 2003.

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