Recorded Between December 2002 and March 2003 at the Rockhouse Studio, Borläang Sweden.
Produced and mixed by Greenleaf.
Engineered by Bengt Bäcke.
Reviews for Secret Alphabets...
LIVE 4 METAL
Greenleaf are yet another fine example of the Swedish Stoner/Doom contingent that has dominated the scene for many years now. I was surprised to discover that Greenleaf is a collaboration between members of Dozer and (the now defunct) Demon Cleaner. Greenleaf is a very different sound from that of the monolithic Dozer groove and the supercharged bong mastery of Demon Cleaner, the only giveaway being Fredrik Nordin's unmistakable vocal style. Quick toot on the old yoda pipe and in we go! '3679' introduces the album nicely as the waves of guitar effects ease you back through time to the mid seventies Rock 'n' Roll' of '10,000 Years Of Revolution'. Pentatonic grooves a plenty in this Zepplin-esque frenzy which leads to the Sabbath tinged 'Witchcraft Tonight', even the production sounds as if it was recorded in 1974! Onto 'Never Right'...Oh Shit! Is this a guest vocal from the legendary Paul Stanley? This is an incredible likeness to the voice of the 'Starchild'! Fredrik you are truly a Knight In Satan's Service! For me 'Never Right' is by far the best track on the album, what can I say...The riff, the vocals, the groove, IT FUCKIN' ROCKS! 'The Combination' displays the psychedelic side of Greenleaf, not really my cup of Liberty Cap tea but it certainly adds variety to the album. 'The Spectre' returns to the balls out Rock 'n' Roll head bangin' Greenleaf mania with a crackin' stoner riff which fans of The Obsessed and Serpent would undoubtedly enjoy. 'One More Year' is an epic slab of psychedelic doom. Its gravid melody and vocal effects eventually build into a monstrous closer of a riff. Back to the meat n two veg retro Rock 'n' Roll with 'Black, Black Magic' and 'Masterplan' both showing shades of Aerosmith, Deep Purple and even Budgie. Finally 'No Time Like Right Now!' (Which for some reason reminds me of 'The Who') is a fitting end to a satisfyingly groovy Secret Alphabet.In my opinion this doesn't qualify for the same league as 'Monument' by the mighty Grand Magus or 'C.O.D' by St. Vitus, nevertheless 'Secret Alphabets' is a prime fillet of classic rock psychedelia Swedish styleee.
OH MY GOD!! Someone help me please.....I just stuck a fork into my left eye! No, really I just jammed it on in there, and I am feeling a little faint. I couldn't help it..... you know that feeling that you get when something really awesome happens, and you do something drastic? Like the first time you got laid, and you wanted to go right up to her Dad and tell him how good his daughter was in the sack. Well, something similar just happened to me, I just got done with this fork and all....things are getting blurry.....I was going to tell you about the new GREENLEAF disc. What a smoker!!! Are these Swedes like Russian gymnasts--trained from birth--or what!?! This is what rock 'n roll is all about. This DOZER counterpart has cranked out their second full-length effort, and I can't keep the volume loud enough! They describe themselves as a "good meat and potatoes" hard rock band...and they should know! (By the way, I have been to Sweden, seen the cusine, and there ain't no meat and potatoes in the whole damned country, unless you count Reindeer!!!!) This thing rocks from begining to end with a rock/stoner/riff-monger/smackyourface kinda enema. Do us all a favor and if any little Swede-scouts come to your door selling split-EP's (or Reindeer cookies) BUY THEM! Support Swedish music and keep these guys off the street corners. Check theese guys out, they do include two members of DOZER (Tommi Holappa and Fredrik Nordin) and Daniel Liden from DEMON CLEANER. Fans of the usual suspects of heavy music, like THE MUSHROOM RIVER BAND, SPIRITUAL BEGGARS, ABRAMIS BRAHMA, and of course DOZER will eat this thing up with a side of Lingenberry jam and pickled herring. Please send all condolences, funeral arangements and flowers to the DOGMAN...Heart slowwwing, head swimmmmming, fingers slipppppppppping.......
Manic MechanicNovember, 2003peacedogman.com
They are KISS as much as they are Kyuss. The "they" in question¨Greenleaf¨rolls out a 10-track platter oĂ clatter that bridges the gap between classic rock and stoner rock. Of course, such a bridge does not need an exceptionally large span given that these two genres are more interrelated than 17th century European royalty. Still, Greenleaf manages to bring these two musical forms into a near-perfect balance. The band hits upon a compelling blend of old and new, scripting party-friendly anthems that eschew the self-absorbed pretension of contemporary rock and restore a sense of genuine fun to the proceedings. The guitar riffs are effectively simple without indulging in clich?, moving with confident swagger from the wailing riff rock of "10 000 Years of Revolution" and "Black Black Magic" to the groovy spliff-riffing of "Never Right" (with more than a hint of Paul Stanley in the vocals) to the psychedelic sludge-plod of "One More Year." Unlike most stoner rock, which favours a distortion-heavy guitar tone, Greenleaf favours a more traditional rock sound with greater clarity bequeathed to the guitar sound. Keeping pace with the guitar team is vocalist Fredrik Nordin, he of Dozer fame, who belts out the hooks with a melodic verve that sounds like a suave mixture of John (Kyuss) Garcia and Scott (Fu Manchu) Hill with a hint of Paul Stanley in attitude and tone. At the end of the day, what ultimately matters is that Greenleaf knows how to write great songs, and that simple, incontrovertible fact is in evidence throughout the course of Secret Alphabets. That fact alone allows Secret Alphabets to stand as one of the best of this yearĂs crop of stoner rock albums.
T. BengtsonDecember 2003, Issue #23unrestrainedmag.com
What is it about the Scandinavians that they can make the moldiest classic rock clich╗?s sound fresh and exciting again? Sweden's Greenleaf aim for the spot between Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, and damned if riff beasts like "Witchcraft Tonight," "Black Black Magic" and "No Time Like Right Now!" don't hit the bullseye. Sometimes retro is a good thing.
Michael TolandFebruary 15th, 2004highbias.com
THE RANK & REVUE
With Secret Alphabets, members of both Dozer and Demoncleaner offer their second record under the appropriately named Greenleaf and when the thick smoke clears, these rock-revved Swedes leave your bong water brown and remind us that the riff-based crunch of the 70Ăs should never die. Yes, this is stoner rock kiddos and Greenleaf do it without the seeds and stems.
There are some moments of groovy organ effects and digital sound inserts but overall the shred and dredge guitar fuzz of Daniel Jansson and Tommi Holappa tightly holds down this record. On the fourth track, Never Right, lead vocalist Fredrik Nordin howls about his lover with Ozzy-esque tones while the rest of the band rips in Sabbath fashion themselves, leaving no question as to which decade they would crown as king. The psychedelic blends and beefy leads on The Spectre are illuminating sounds for your smoke-filled cranium, while the bluesy riffage and gritty vocals on Black Black Magic make you want to quit your day job and wear bell bottoms just because itĂs the cool fucking thing to do.
Any Kiss/Nugent/Cooper will give this one the appropriate rock-out-with-your-cock-out nod and if youĂre into newer acts like Kyuss, Queens of the Stoneage or Dixie Witch, you should definitely load one of GreeleafĂs records into your pipe and smoke it. This bong rock five piece from Sweden wonĂt disappoint.
SmittyFall 2003 Volume I, Issue 21rankandrevue.com
THE SOUND MONITOR
Having never heard of Greenleaf before I had no idea what I to expect. The spacey Bladerunner-style intro led into 70's style stoner complete with big wailing guitars and vocals in a similar vain to Ozzy or Robert Plant.
Another stoner-rock supergroup with Tommi and Fredrick from Dozer, Daniel from Demon Cleaner and guest vocals by Peder from Lowrider, this is not merely another side project that sounds exactly like the original bands. Rather itĂs a much more standard 70's rock album than Dozer or Demon Cleaner are. Sometimes sounding like Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin, other times heading towards early Fu Manchu or Nebula.
Despite not straying far from 70's styled stoner there is a fair amount of variety through the songs. 'One More Year' is a slow mellow track that reminds me both of Zeppelin and QOTSA at times, while 'Witchcraft Tonight' wouldnĂt sound out of place if it was on a Fu Manchu album. Indeed, this album makes you wish it WAS the 70's again.
Nathan PeaurilNovember, 2003thesoundmonitor.com
You'd think, if you mixed Scandi-Superstoners Dozer and Demon Cleaner together like so much wavy gravy, that you'd just get some kinda Kyuss mega-mix, a "Fjord Sessions" of rambling drug riffs and chemically inspired jams, right? 'Specially if such a collusion is named "Greenleaf". And I reckon that would been fine for plenty of bongs n' bell-bottoms types, really, but it would have bored the tits offa me. Since I figured that's what awaited me, I let this one languish on the review shelf for a week or so, nestled between some black metal thing and the latest Supersuckers rip-off, waiting for the right pseudo-narcotic mood to hit me. Which happens to be right now.
Fuck, I gotta start trusting the fine fried fuckers over at Small Stone, because Secret Alphabets, despite it's dope metal lineage, isn't some hippy stoner record at all, it's a goddamn Mega-Rock monolith of huge, sleazy riffs and psyched-out, Thin Lizzied hard rockers. Motherfucker. And to think, I could have had this in my car all week long, blasting it through my dusty, rattling speakers at some manly volume while I was blowing off Smokey's doors and showing the Man I really mean business. Nothin' secret about it, this one's pure bad-ass, halfway between the Cult and KISS, only without the pomposity of the former or the phony baloney teenage house party bullshit of the latter. Right the fuck on. Listen, the weekend's coming, so do yourself a favor and slip this 'un between Dirty Power and Danko Jones for a truly righteous Super Rock triple punch, and thank Jesus or whoever the fuck you want that not only is real rock n' roll still alive, but it's getting bigger, better, and swankier everyday. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got rubber to burn, and Secret Alphabets to decipher.
DAREDEVIL MAGAZINE (Germany)
I thought that the guys of Greenleaf are dead, cause it?s been a long time since I?ve heard their last record on Molten Universe and a couple of days ago I received this parcel from Small Stone Records from the US and I was really surprised, cause I've found this CD in there. I think now they completely turned their back on Stoner...ok...there are still fat Riffs, but the whole thing has more of a classic Hard-Rock album than of a Stoner album. I laughed, cause in some tracks these guys sound just like Kiss in their best days...no wonder, cause I think that Sweden got one of the biggest fans of Kiss...I even think that 99.9 % of the Swedish population listens to Kiss and Abba...hahaha...to be serious, these guys did a really good job with that album and I must say compared to the other bands like Dozer, Demon Cleaner and Lowrider (these are the bands the members of Greenleaf are playing in also) this is more rockin' and on a level which goes in the ear more easy. This is a cool album and if you like bands like Kiss, Sabbath and the newer Hellacopters stuff you will be more than happy with "Secret Alphabets".
I've often joked that you can play a Six-Degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon style game with Swedish hard rock guys. Start with one of them and you can trace your way through numerous bands. For example, JB from Grand Magus is also the lead singer of Spiritual Beggars, a band that features Michael Amott on guitar, who also plays for Arch Enemy with bassist Sharlee D'Angelo, who just happens to be the bassist in Witchery, a band created by Jensen of The Haunted. You get the point. Anyway for some reason, the Swedes have a penchant for side projects that allows them to flex some of their other creative muscles. Another great installment in this tradition is Greenleaf.
Made up of a group of friends who spend most of their time in either Dozer or Demon Cleaner (who unfortunately have now called it quits), the fellows decided to get together and crank out a few tunes that maybe didn't fit their regular outfits. The other amazing aspect to the multitude of side projects in Sweden is that rarely do they ever sound like any of the musicians' main outfits. In this case, Greenleaf is not the fuzzed-out stoner-space rock of Dozer or Demon Cleaner. Rather, tracks such as "10000 Years of Revolution" and "Witchcraft Tonight" are riff-based, all-out 70s guitar rock. Half the reason this works so well is the superb playing of guitarists Tommi Holappa and Daniel Jansson who crank out the beefy riffs and leads. The production is more stripped down than Dozer's past efforts, with a cleaner guitar sound and more of a garage rock feel. In addition, Dozer vocalist Fredrik Nordin is the only guy that could've added the right punch and energy to these tracks. He even shows some new range drifting from his normal sound on "The Combination" to the greatest Paul Stanley imitation on "Never Right" (which is a superb ode to KISS' better days complete with the "She" style ending.)
What strikes me as interesting is that many of the bands that were lumped into the stoner rock thing are now evolving into all different directions. The latest efforts by Puny Human, The Hidden Hand, and Blind Dog all are good examples. In the case of Greenleaf the move seems to be away from the overfuzzed guitars and space rock, into a more monstrous ode to 70s rock. The number of solid tracks on this album - including "The Combination," "The Spectre" and "One More Year" - owe their quality to this melding of high-energy 70s rock influences. You can hear bits of KISS, Nugent, Cooper, Sabbath, Skynyrd and god knows what else. It's as if the band set no boundaries on style and just went in to bash it out.
In closing, it's another solid release from the Small Stone camp, and another example of how much further ahead the Swedes are in terms of quality rock n' roll.
Ken WohlrobOctober, 2003
I like these guys a bunch, I was lucky enough to trip across a used copy of Greenleaf's 2001 release, "revolution rock". I don't think it ever appeared domestically in the US. Too bad, enh? Yeah it is. Luckily their brand of big boot/elephant bell rooted riff grunt is merely a couple mouse clicks away via the good folks at Small Stone, (highest % kickass per release and especially per employee). In fine continental style Greenleaf mix classicist early 70's hard rock, tinges of proto-prog., as it jettisoned from phyche/acid rock, and a youth spent listening to energetic rock (reguardless of hairstyles) into a pure rock reality.
Besides the goodness above these guys are vested in songs as songs-not riffs with a singer, not supersaturated with effects guitar with an image, --but actual songs. Here they linkup with mid-period Monster Magnet, the wonderful Generous Maria record, "command of the new rock" , The Quill's neo-classic mid-80's metal as rock, voodoo caravan" On Trial's "blinded by the sun", and WE, whom every single one of the people in my head love like cold gin. For you oldsters, trainspotters, geeks- this shit is thee fertile fallout from the Scorpions "in trance", a record so goddamn right on it kills me their reputation for syrupy ballads has sullied one of the first (along with UFO) and best European rock bands ever. SO: I suppose you could see Geenleaf's purity of being, (no hip-hop, goth, thrash, kiddie-punk "influences"), as a deficit. I understand that, if you need a seven string guitar and or a screamo guy in your rock,Ówell,- youĂll be on to some other "cool" thing next year while weĂre holdin' the fort.
Craig RegalaOctober, I like these guys a bunch, I was lucky enough to trip across a used copy of Greenlea 2003
THE GLASS EYE
Greenleaf, a side-project from members of Dozer and Demoncleaner, hits hard with a fine-ass example of how Swedish fuzz-rock should be executed. What's with Sweden these days? Is it something in the water? I don't know about you, but I'd certainly rock a lot harder if I got to eat Swedish meatballs all the time! Anyway, on this disc, we get more of a Sabbath/ Kyuss influence as opposed to the Stooges/Stones-esque approach that most of Greenleaf's fellow countrymen seem to be into. The Sabbath influence is really obvious on "Never Right," where singer Fredrik Nordin pulls off that classic early Ozzy tone, though "Witchcraft Tonight" has more of a Foghat/Ted Nugent vibe to it, as does "Masterplan."
Basically, Greenleaf sounds a lot like Dozer, but with a little more classic rock riffage thrown in. The bass is so low and thundering that you just may lose a tooth if you turn it up loud enough, which is still well worth it. That's only a tooth -- this is rock, motherfucker!
For everyone that was blown away by QOTSA's Songs For The Deaf, this is a piece of work that you'll definitely appreciate. It's going to be in my player for a long time to come.
Jay HathawayOctober, 2003
This Dozer/Demoncleaner hybrid is back with their 2nd full length "Secret Alphabets". No longer relegated to costly international mailorder through their own Molten Universe label, the big balled Small Stone Records has taken this bull by the horns with a worldwide release for maximum exposure. On this record, Greenleaf offers up a terse 40 minute/10-song platter of killer, catchy old school rock and roll that you are guaranteed to dig.
The good times are launched immediately with "10,000 Years Of Revolution", a stripped down, no bullshit track that is distinctly Dozer in nature, thanks to FredrickĂs distinct vocals and TommiĂs uncanny knack for writing memorable riffs: Case in point, "Witchraft Tonite"ű I have been looping this riff over and over in my head since I first heard it; not only for the two pronged guitar, but the cowbell infused drumming of former Demoncleaner Daniel Liden. This is a great ˘live÷ sounding record that captures the growing chemistry of this side-project turned full time band. Pundits may dismiss it as derivative and predictable, but that doesnĂt explain the fact that this fucking rocks!
"Never Right" has Dozer vocal mainstay Fredrik doing a bang up job as he experiments with a lower register delivery. ItĂs hard to believe this is the same singer responsible for "The Combination" and "One More Year"; slow, fuzzy brooding tracks very reminiscent of Dozer's tour-only single, "The Phantom" not only for his haunting, warbly vocals, but also for the loose, psche-tinged, reverbed guitar work. This track is available for download on the Small Stone Records homepage - I couldn't think of a better track to evaluate this band by.
"Masterplan" is another favourite, with the band playing in that early ŠMagnet whooshy, dreamlike state. And then, out of nowhere, ˘No Time Like Right Now!÷. This one has got that great throwback 70Ăs rock and roll sound, right down to the classic back up call and response vocal cadence. I canĂt put my finger on the lead riff, but itĂs got that distinct southern guitar drawl to it that will put a huge grin on your face ű and in the end, isnĂt that what itĂs all about? This is definitely GreenleafĂs most realized recording to date. Check it out.
Nick MucSeptember, 2003www.stonerrockchick.com
I hadn't heard of Greenleaf until about a week ago. Turns out it's a chemical collaboration between members of the seminal bong rock bands Dozer and Demon Cleaner. I thought that voice sounded familiar. Only Fredrick Nordin can sound like that. And if the song "Never Right" is any marker, he can do a mean Paul Stanley as well. Scary.
As Stoner Rock moves into it's "Classic Rock" phase, it's good to see albums that still have the potential to mix creativity with great riffs. Tracks like "10,000 Years of Revolution" and "Black, Black Magic" feature superb riffs accented by powerful production. Other songs, such as the ethereal "Never Right" and the doomy psychedelia of "One More Year" lean more to the creative side of things. Last track "No Time Like Right Now!" sounds like it could have been written by BTO back in their heyday - nice false ending too. Overall, a nice mix of testosterone and sounds from the Bong.
Guitarist/keyboardist/effects dude Tommi Holappa has never disappointed this listener throughout Dozer's career and there seems to be no let up in quality with the Greenleaf project. The man, simply put, knows how to write a killer riff. He's one of those uncelebrated heroes of the scene. Time for that to change, he deserves the credit he's due.
The vibe of the band seems to be to not try to hard to impress, but just let the songs roll. The creedo of Greenleaf is to make the "sort of albums you would want to put on a Friday night. Simply put, just good meat & potatoes hard rock, rock & psychedelia."
To these ears, It sounds like they accomplished what they set out to do.
Chris BarnesAugust, 2003hellridemusic.com