Greta Van Fleet’s debut full-length album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army will be released on October 19, 2018. It was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and mixed in Royal Oak, Michigan, by the same production team that recorded the two previous EPs, “The Rust Brothers,” Marlon Young, Al Sutton and Herschel Boone. Greta Van Fleet is comprised of twin brothers, lead singer Joshua Kiszka and lead guitarist, Jake along with younger brother Sam on bass and keyboards and their best friend and drummer, Danny Wagner. Anthem of the Peaceful Army is a powerful debut album that contains ten original compositions that were all group collaborations.
The album opens with “Age Of Man,” an anthem that begins with a medieval sounding church organ intro until Josh begins singing. His falsetto voice carries the lyric’s message announcing the transfer of power to a new generation. “They pass the torch and it still burns, once children then it’s now our turn.”
Frankenmuth, Michigan is cold in the Winter and “Cold Wind” turns up the heat as the band explodes with Sammy Hagar intensity. “When The Curtain Falls” was the early release from the new album that appeared as a video and opens with Jake’s Beatlesque opening guitar chord and driving guitar power peals alternating with Josh’s soaring tenor vocals and Dylanesque lyrics. “Watching Over” is a real keeper, with some great guitar work and a powerful driving rhythm punctuated by Sam and Danny’s interplay. The lyrics convey an ecological message as Josh plaintively sings with pathos amid the “Kashmir” like driving rhythm.
“Lover Leaver Taker Believer” is straight out of the Old Testament with Joshua screaming the story of the Witch of Endor and king Saul from I Samuel chapter 28. The band’s performance is a raging psychedelic mix of Jake’s screaming guitar interplaying with Wagner’s driving drums in tandem with Sam’s bass, spewing infectious rhythms that are hypnotic. “You’re The One” is an old fashioned love song, done in the mode of a ballad that has a haunting melody giving Josh ample opportunity to explore more high range possibilities with the organ as dominant instrument. “The New Day” is an acoustic sounding joyous celebration. “Mountain of the Sun” features bottleneck guitar in the tradition of Blind Willie Johnson and Johnny Winter. “Brave New World” is an ominous sounding tune about toxic emissions and acid rain with cherubic singing escalating into a guitar solo outro. “Anthem” the final cut is a call to unity reminiscent of the 1985 united world anthem “We Are the World,” that included everyone from Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson.
The songs are new and fresh and confirmed this reviewer’s suspicion that Greta Van Fleet was a band on its way to the top not only because of its raw musical talent and stage presence but because it has the ability to write its own music. Few bands have been this tight and polished and articulate, yet still raw, straight out of high school. Anthem of the Peaceful Army was written and recorded during the band’s first full year of touring, demonstrating that they have the discipline and work ethic needed to succeed and sustain a career as rock stars.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– When The Curtain Falls
– Watching Over
– Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)
– You’re the One
– Mountain of the Sun
The Big Hit
– Watching Over
Review by Bob Gersztyn