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Greta Van Fleet’s vintage rock influences are visibly worn on their sleeves. The talented four-piece from small town Michigan have experienced a come up that we haven’t seen in rock music for some time. Following the release of their 2017 double EP From the Fires, Greta Van Fleet gave a new generation of music listeners a taste of rock’s rich history.
From the Fires was their apart of their introduction to commercial releases, along with Black Smoke Rising. If those bodies of work did anything, they gave people their best Led Zeppelin impression. This did not slip past Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, but he ultimately gave his nod of approval. Despite the uncanny similarities between Kiszka and Plant’s voice, Greta Van Fleet were able to strike a chord with the masses, and let the world know that the idea of classic rock is not completely dead.
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Over the last year, Greta has been touring extensively, selling out venues across the world, proving they’re the real deal when it comes to live performances. Josh’s voice blows you away, the entire band flashes their old-school, thrifty wardrobe, and they know how to keep the audience on its toes. The crowds consist of anyone from indie teenagers to moms and dads, and they all get the same jaw-dropping reaction, one reminiscent of rock ‘n rolls past, and one unfamiliar.
After an intense past year and a half for these boys, it’s finally led up to their debut album. Anthem of the Peaceful Army comes out on October 19th, and it releases while the band is in stride. The album proves their capability of setting themselves apart from their rock ‘n roll influences, and adds a diversifying dimension to their discography.
The album runs 11 tracks long with a 50 minute run time. Within minutes of listening to the six-minute opener Age of Man, one could easily notice the leap in growth in the drum and bass work. Josh’s voice still works as their golden ticket, but the surrounding talent is noticeably upgraded. As aforementioned, the drumming is the biggest improvement right off the bat, meeting the energy the guitar and vocals deliver. The guitar work incorporates newer approaches that still have those electrifying riffs, and the band seem cohesively driven throughout the album.
You’re the One acts as the album’s lighter-swinging-in-the-air romance themed song. “You’re the one I want, you’re the one I need,” Kiszka sings on the song’s chorus. The band actually performed the hit ballad with Elton John at his annual Aids Foundation Oscar party. It’s an instance where the band is able to clearly diversify its sounds using acoustic guitars at the forefront, and appeal to all the hopeless romantics. The album’s closer Anthem is another instance of this, where the tempo is slowed down and Josh’s vocals are not as in-your-face. It carries a nostalgic sound, using down-to-Earth auxiliary percussion and a country inspired background twang. Mountain of the Sun is an ode to the band’s love for adventure, one of the main themes of the album. Jake immediately grips listeners with a lively 70s inspired guitar and Josh brings his rangy vocals to its prime.
It’s clear that Greta Van Fleet have the talent to be something very special, and it’s beginning to come to light on Anthem of the Peaceful Army. They’ve gotten cosigns from some of rocks most historical names already, and are sitting pretty with their fans. Josh’s vocals alone give this band a catalyst to keep throwback rock ‘n roll around for a little while, but the longevity of a voice like that has proven not so reliable in the past. If they can plan for that, however, this band can be one of rock’s most special outfits in quite a while. Regardless of anyone’s reservations with the group, we should admire what they’re giving us. After all, they are getting compared to arguably the greatest rock band of all time.
You can listen to Anthem of the Peaceful Army on all streaming services starting October 19th. You won’t want to miss it.
Junior at Ball State University studying photojournalism.
Lover of music, travel, and photography.