Greenleaf

Nest of Vipers

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Five years have come and gone since Greenleaf last passed this way, and yet, with the release of fourth full-length, Nest of Vipers, the side project composed of assorted culprits involved with Swedish stoner rock bands Dozer, Demon Cleaner, and Truckfighters, has proven itself as persistent as it is sporadic. And why not? As each Greenleaf LP appears to bring out the best of whoever happens to be taking part in its ever-rotating cast of musicians, as though freed from the burdens of producing music to meet the exacting fan expectations of full-time bands. Sure, stoner rock still provides the musical backbone propping up most of these tracks (and dominates a few, such as "Case in Point" and "The Timeline's History"), but, as was the case with efforts past, surprises both overt and subtle abound, and there's simply no telling what quirky ingredients or combinations Greenleaf is planning just around the corner. At times, these are but details snuck into the overall canvas, as in the pop-quality choruses of "Lilith," the unexpectedly ominous bass-driven mid-section near the end of "Jack Staff," or even the title track's falsettos amid extended organ freakouts; at others, they outright take over the plot line. Behold the lumbering "Dreamcatcher," for example, which has a ‘70s dinosaur rock feel about it that's equal parts Led Zeppelin, Leafhound, and Bloodrock; or perhaps "Sunken Ships," which repeats the falsetto treatment over a psychedelic shoegaze vibe à la Dinosaur Jr., and then there are the haunting, scant of vocals of "Tree of Life," which echoes back and forth with a deep-void space rock madness not even Hawkwind or Monster Magnet frequently dared face. But Greenleaf, they dare…what have they got to lose, after all? And that goes back to the heart of the band's enduring appeal and purpose as a creative vent for otherwise preoccupied musicians, all for the benefit of lucky listeners, obviously.

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