Greenleaf started out as a side project for various Swedish stoner and hard rock musicians – a busman’s holiday for members of Dozer, Lowrider, Truckfighters and Demon Cleaner. At this point, however, the band has outlasted many of its seedpods, and gotten better with every record as well. Trails & Passes drops a lot of the more psychedelic elements of the band’s past work to just rock hard and out. “Our Mother Ash” and “Ocean Deep” bash out a one-two punch at the vanguard, setting a tone of ass-kicking t the outset. “Humans” and “Depth of the Sun” vary the tempos and textures but still roar forward on the strength of the riffs of guitarist Tommi Holappa. Greenleaf does take another trip out to Acid Dreamland with the epic “With Eyes Wide Open,” but it’s blazers “Bound to Be Machines” and “The Drum” that win the day. Interestingly, new vocalist Arvid Jonsson boasts a smooth tone that should be at odds with the powerhouse backing; instead, though, he blends right in, letting his near-croon ride the grooves like the Silver Surfer does the cosmic winds. All the elements come together here, making Trails & Passes Greenleaf’s finest alchemical alloy yet.
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