Review: Greenleaf - Agents of Ahriman
Label: Small Stone Records
Released: June 11. 2007
Despite all of its tackiness, the 70s seem to have provided quite a well to which bands seem to return again and again, some for a small drink before moving on and others for their very sustenance. Sweden's Greenleaf is among the latter group.
Stoner bands and their 70s hard rock influence may seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days, but while Greenleaf is among them, they stand just enough taller to be worth noting over many of the others. They do tap into the rich riff-laden grooves of early Wishbone Ash and fill out their sound with some heavy organ in the Deep Purple mold. Often the basic but catchy riffs are reminiscent of Ace Frehley. They even have that Zeppelin-like ability to push rather than punch. All of this would only add up to so much though if they were just a mix of the best 70s hard rock had to offer, but Greenleaf offers more. They have filtered the 70s through their own eyes, giving it their younger, hungrier excitement. Unlike their influences, they haven't become big and bloated and they offer a glimpse into perhaps what some of the great rock acts of the 70s were like before they signed their big contracts.
Greenleaf do not go down the road of extensive digital effects that plagues so many bands today. Instead they rely on the rich, full sounds of the old analog equipment. Not only does this tie into their retro leanings, it also helps beef up their sound. Their vintage sound with a youthful energy moves smoothly from bold to subtle and their quieter sections never feel like they're taking a break so much as laying plans for the passages to come. A superficial listen might assume that Greenleaf is merely a revival, but they're actually very much a modern band with an appreciation not for the past as a whole, but for the best the past has to offer.