Pre-release emails from Small Stone are always something to get excited about so I usually download them right away. I snagged this advance for Greenleaf without checking the hype sheet and just started listening right away. First thing, I thought was "damn, this sounds a lot like Dozer!" I really loved their last album Beyond Colossal and played the hell out of it. After a few minutes, it was obvious that Greenleaf was somehow connected to Dozer. After referring to the bio, I was not surprised to learn that several members of Dozer, Truckfighters and the guy that has engineered their albums. Can't go wrong with that configuration.
While Dozer builds off of Black Sabbath, Greenleaf seems to use Alice Cooper as a base (mainly Love It To Death and Killer). This is good news for me since I LOVE Alice Cooper. The production is pretty dry with lots of room for all the instruments, very reminiscent of Love It To Death. Opening song "Jack Staff" even has some "Sun Arise" style muted string scraping. We're off to a good start! My all-time favorite Swedish band Union Carbide Productions were also huge Alice Cooper fans, as well as The Stooges, MC5, Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart. Dozer and Greenleaf continue in that tradition but veer more towards the heavier side of classic rock with a lot of Black Sabbath, 70's Judas Priest, early Grand Funk Railroad and Deep Purple. Probably The Doors, too. Can't go wrong with those influences filtered through potent beer and long months of darkness.
Fast and hard songs like "Lilith" sit along trippy workouts like "Tree Of Life" but most of the album is mid-tempo heavy rock. The guitars are very heavy but not overly distorted or tuned down, leaving lots of room for a nice big bass tone and booming drums. The vocals are cleanly sung with a bit of distortion to give them some bite. There's not a bad song on the album and the closing title track is an especially moody pounding jam with some excellent organ playing. Jon Lord and Craig Frost would be proud. The album is only available on iTunes right now but the physical CD will be coming out in June. Don't snooze on this one.