Greta Van Fleet: Classic rock straight out of the 70's
People say that every generation has a band that’s “the next Led Zeppelin.” In 2017, the world was introduced to this generation’s in the form of Greta Van Fleet, a four-man band from Michigan comprised of three brothers and their best friend. The group took the rock world by storm with their debut four-track EP “Black Smoke Rising,” which was later re-released on “From the Fires,” an EP that included all of “Black Smoke Rising” and four new songs.
With guitar riffs, vocals rivaling the screams and howls of Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and a sound reminiscent of ‘70s classic rock that the rock community hasn’t heard in a couple of decades, it’s easy to see why they’ve been compared to Zeppelin for most of their career. Now, Greta Van Fleet has returned with their new album “Anthem of the Peaceful Army,” an 11-track EP released on Friday, Oct. 19.
The album kicks off with a slower and quieter start than fans may have expected with the track “Age of Man;” nonetheless, it’s a powerful beginning to what is an altogether incredible lineup of songs. “Age of Man” starts with building instrumentals leading into the first verse, “In an age of darkness light appears /and it wards away the ancient fears,” starting a theme of hope amongst difficult times that reappears throughout the rest of the album. The drums and guitar kick in about a minute into the song, followed later by the band’s signature screams – giving “Age of Man” that Greta Van Fleet sound fans love so much.
Next come “The Cold Wind” and “When the Curtain Falls,” both of which have a groovy blues feel driven by guitar riffs that could come straight from a song in the Zeppelin era of rock and roll. Both are similar in sound to their breakout hit “Highway Tune.”
“Watching Over” comes next, slowing things down with an anthem about environmental rights. In the chorus, they sing “I wonder when we’ll realize / this is what we got left / and it’s our demise. / With the water rising/and the air so thin / still the children smiling /and we see no sin,” a cry to protect and care about the environment that so many people tend to ignore. This is a nice interlude before kicking things off again with “Lover, Leaver.”
This song is full-on rock, with lead singer Josh Kiska’s Zeppelin-esque shriek featured more prominently on this than any other song on the album. Following up “Lover, Leaver” is slow ballad “You’re the One,” a song of lust and wishing to return to a former flame.
Following up “You’re the One” are “The New Day” and “Mountain of the Sun.” Both songs feature a more upbeat tempo and discuss topics from loss to love. “Pain is the same as a means to heal,” Kiska sings of heartache in “The New Day,” contrasting with his “I’ll make you mine / You’re my sunshine,” in “Mountain of the Sun.”
Next up is “Brave New World,” which seems fit for a soundtrack where the heroes must go off to fight a hard battle. “Kill fear, the power of lies / For we will not be hypnotized,” they sing as a steady drumbeat makes it an almost marching tune.
The second to last song, and a personal favorite, is “Anthem.” This song is an anthem about the world today and the polarized climate that currently exists. It challenges people to open their minds to different viewpoints and reminds people that “the world is only what the world is made of,” so we must make the most of what it is.
Lastly comes an extended version of “Lover, Leaver,” along with its extended title “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer),” the entire lyric in the song. Though the album version is just over six minutes long, Greta Van Fleet recently released a roughly 26-minute long live version.
“Anthem of the Peaceful Army” is an album that showcases Greta Van Fleet’s greatest strengths and is likely to be an album that will leave an impact on the rock community for years. If the group is lucky, future generations may just be talking about who their generation’s Greta Van Fleet is.