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Greta Van Fleet - Anthem Of The Peaceful Army (Album Review)

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 Written by Jon Stickler

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that Michigan’s Greta Van Fleet are one of the first young rock bands in a long time to generate a truly massive amount of hype ahead of the release of their debut full length. After two very successful EPs - 2017’s ‘Black Some Rising’ and ‘From The Fires’ - we have ‘Anthem Of The Peaceful Army’ in our hands, and it’s an interesting proposition.

A lot of people already have strong opinions on the band, which comprises three brothers - 22-year-old twins Josh and Jake plus younger sibling Sam Kiszka - with drummer Danny Wagner. Their detractors are now blue in the face about their ripping off tropes from 1960-70s rock, notably Led Zeppelin, but when you put the references and comparisons aside, what you have here are four fervent musicians who have stuck to their guns, even if that means taking risks.

Largely, the album backs that up brilliantly. What comes across most clearly is how passionately the whole thing has been put together.

There are lots of groups out there that peddle the old school classic rock sound and it’s easy to be cynical about a genre that often serves up daft cliches. However, the quality of songs is high throughout the album’s 40 minutes, while others in this field leave us blank eyed with exercises in ticking boxes.

Collectively written by all four members ‘Anthem Of The Peaceful Army’ finds the band blending rock, soul and blues in odes to fresh starts, love, integrity, innocence, adventure, truth, courage, diversity and peace, the life cycle and its inherent responsibilities. At times it has a real magical feel to it.

Opening with the slow-burning Age of Man, straight away they exhibit Josh’s powerful voice alongside Jake’s blazing guitar licks and some warm, ethereal organ tones. Cold Wind appears to have been stripped straight out of a Woodstock set, but it’s within the groove of When The Curtain Falls where the band really succeed in capturing the sound from decades ago.

Watching Over draws on the band's love of classic soul and southern rock, while Lover Leaver recalls Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and even features a familiar trippy psychedelic jam sequence in the middle section. Some songs are growers for sure, with the second half of the record taking three or four listens to really click when compared to its more dynamic counterpart. There are plenty of big hooks and great riffs to keep those who are more straight down the line with their rock tastes entertained.

For all the attention prior to release, it's a little disappointing to find the band haven't got much to offer outside of their throwback vibe. However, you could also point to the fact that Greta Van Fleet are young, at the start of their career and already selling out big venues. There’s an argument that says if the music’s good, it’s good. Who cares where it’s come from?

Will Greta Van Fleet be a flash in the pan? The clincher might well be that, for all the shots fired at them in recent months, ‘Anthem Of The Peaceful Army’ isn’t an exercise in bland stadium rock. And the way they excelled at this summer’s Download Festival in front of a fairly die-hard metal audience speaks volumes about the legs on this band. Their debut is a notable tribute to everything that was great about an era that has been lost, but there appears to be real substance behind the influences. They have the potential to be around for a very long time.

Greta Van Fleet Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri November 09 2018 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sun November 11 2018 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Mon November 12 2018 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Wed November 14 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Thu November 15 2018 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Tue March 05 2019 - NEWCASTLE O2 Academy Newcastle
Thu March 07 2019 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Fri March 08 2019 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Sun March 10 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Mon March 11 2019 - LIVERPOOL Mountford Hall, Liverpool Uni
Wed March 13 2019 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre

Click here to compare & buy Greta Van Fleet Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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