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Greenleaf - Echoes From A Mass

Echoes From A Mass
by Matt Bozenda at 15 June 2021, 9:39 PM

The big history book chronicling the legalized cannabis industry grows by more expansive chapters with expedited vigor, it seems. Likewise, Heavy Metal has a whole library devoted to its histories, sub-histories, and similar spin-offs. And as the stoner gains their (see: our) own unique traction and place in society, so too does Stoner as a genre. That story has its own triumphs and tragedies, and a similar tale to tell in how things are ‘now’ compared to ‘then’.

And in the everlasting war that is the music industry, the Stoner genre has a widening roster of veterans both grizzled and greasy. There are so many, in fact, there are enough to make not just a supergroup, but a supergroup with a revolving door. Still pumping in the Swedish vein that made their name, GREENLEAF comes blaring in with it’s seventh album, “Echoes From A Mass”. This is the second album featuring the current lineup, following up on 2018’s “Hear The Rivers”. You may not find new threads here, but there’s something to be said for denim that’s already been broken-in.

Starting with “Tides”, the listener is treated to a familiar Californian Desert Rock sound given the Swedish treatment, no surprise given guitarist TOMMI HOLAPPA and his DOZER history. “Good God I Better Run Away” isn’t as silly as the title seems, and is actually a bit catchy and sounds in many ways like a TRUCKFIGHTERS track.

“Needle In My Eye” is fuzzy yet sharp, like a Brillo roughspun jumper, while “Love Undone” follows generally along the same lines the prior songs have drawn. After that, “Bury Me My Son” picks up an old Blues Rock feel, but it just doesn’t seem to have a breakout moment. “A Hand Of Might” is able to find a rhythm, but frequent breaks and pivots tend to break any real momentum it makes.

The band gets back to their comfort zone for “March On Higher Grounds”, and “Hang On” adds an almost Southern Metal edge akin to DOWN or GOATSNAKE, albeit far less frenetic. “On Wings Of Gold” is the album’s longest at about six-and-a-half minutes and continues to work within their established boundaries. Ending it all is “What Have We Become”, containing a mellow groove like one of DANZIG’s mid-90’s crawlers before it ends on a simple fade out.

So, again, leave your shovel in the shed because there’s nothing new that needs digging here. If you are (see: if we are) fans of the genre, you won’t find a lot to specifically dislike about “Echoes From A Mass”. Part of it is good, part of it is not as good. It’s certainly music, you can definitely listen to it, and drugs won’t make it better but they might enhance the experience. Now what in Hell is wrong with that?

At album seven you’re really just having fun, established or not, and GREENLEAF is definitely a name in this corner of the business. The elitists who demand a constant world-shattering quality to their music won’t find that here, but anyone who likes to burn one down and chill out on it, “Echoes From A Mass” may be what you’re looking for.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Tides
2. Good God I Better Run Away
3. Needle In My Eye
4. Love Undone
5. Bury Me My Son
6. A Hand Of Might
7. March On Higher Grounds
8. Hang On
9. On Wings Of Gold
10. What Have We Become
Tommi Holappa - guitars
Sebastian Olsson - drums
Hans Fröhlich - bass
Arvid Hällgård - vocals
Record Label: Napalm Records


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