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Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    On the debut full-length album from Greta Van Fleet, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, they ask the question: What do you call classic rock when it is re-packaged with a modern rock sound? For starters, we can answer that with an emphatic response of calling it: “pretty damn fun.”

    Greta Van Fleet has drawn immediate comparisons to rock and roll hall-of-famers Led Zeppelin, for obvious reasons, but they have listed several other core sound influences (such as hard rock, jazz, and blues) when interviewed by other media outlets. The band is comprised of three brothers: lead vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka, and bassist Sam Kiszka. Rounding out the foursome is the drummer, Danny Wagner. Coming off of a successful and highly-hyped EP, From the Fires, anticipation was at an all-time high to see what these kids from Frankenmuth, Michigan had cooked up for their debut album.

    Anthem of the Peaceful Army is structured around the loud guitars from Jake Kiszka and the Robert Plant-esque vocal delivery of Josh. Josh, in particular, really shines on this debut album by showing his incredible vocal range as well as the restraint on some of the quieter moments found on the debut. Kicking off the set with “Age of Man” shows the evolution of their direction from their aforementioned EP and expands with some modern rock flair, thanks to the helpful tutelage of producers Marlon Young, Herschel Boone, and Al Sutton. Josh sings on the opener, “In an age of darkness light appears/And it wards away the ancient fears/March to the anthem of the heart/To a brand new day, a brand new start/To wonderlands of ice and snow,” which is likely a nod to the classic Zeppelin tune, “Immigrant Song.”

    The second song, “The Cold Wind” brings up the tempo more-so than the opener and showcases the blues and hard rock influences that each of the four members brings to the table. With tracks as shiny as this one, it’s easy to buy into the incredible amount of hype and buzz surrounding this artist. “When the Curtain Falls,” the lead single off the record, is filled with several key nods to Zeppelin. From Josh’s vocal style to the starts and stops of the music, all along to the tongue-in-cheek nods in the lyrics such as, “They all said they loved you (didn’t they, darlin’?)” all come off as a band trying to find their way in the crowded rock realm. Whether or not these Led Zeppelin references and trademark nods to the past are intentional, it comes across as a tad “tribute band-ish.” Some critics have even gone as far as saying this band lacks an identity, but I don’t buy that. Instead, I feel like this band is experimenting with several sounds on this record and they will find their way when their career is all said and done.

    “Watching Over” and “Lover, Leaver” both have their key moments of awesome riffs, pounding drums, pulsating bass lines, and trademark howls. What I felt these tracks could have benefited from is a bit more creativity in modern rock song structures and production. Take for example a band that makes clear nods to the past (Queen) in The Struts. They would not be accused of ripping off Queen unless they sounded exactly like the classic rock staple. Instead, they have modernized their approach, play killer live shows, and have a sound/identity of their own. I feel like these two bands (The Struts and Greta Van Fleet) are likely going to the be the poster children for Rolling Stone’s latest issue of why “Rock Isn’t Dead Yet!” but that would be doing both of these young bands a considerable disservice. To look for a savior in a genre that seems to be pretty damn well already, from my standpoint, seems a tad out of place and clumsy.

    Greta Van Fleet is more than capable of writing great rock songs as showcased in tracks such as “You’re the One” and “The New Day.” On the latter, I saw more modern elements in their sound that were lacking on the From the Fires EP. For example, the simple acoustic guitar and trademark vocals of Josh are enough to drive the song to prominence and don’t sound like a band trying to imitate their idols. Instead, this is showing me an artist willing to take a few risks along the way.

    As I posed the question in the beginning about how to classify a classic rock record in 2018, it would be unfair to write a scathing review just because the lead singer sounds like Robert Plant, and the rest of his bandmates are influenced by some of the greatest musicians to ever walk the earth. Instead, I’ll leave you with this thought: wouldn’t you much rather see an artist find their way using classic rock artists that have stood the test of time than a band cashing in on the “flavor of the month” style of rock that may be popular next year? Greta Van Fleet have left room for improvement, yes, but at the same time, we are looking at a debut album that shows a ton of promise moving forward.

  2. Micah511

    We have each other and that's all we'll ever need Supporter

    You keep using the word influence, where I would say plagiarism. Good review though.
  3. paythetab

    Chorus.FM Album Reviewer (Adam Grundy) Supporter

    Haha thanks, I went back and forth on this review for a bit...
    Butinsmallsteps and Micah511 like this.
  4. Mason


    This band definitely seems polarizing. I fit in the, hate everything about it category, but good review man.
    paythetab likes this.
  5. Blake Solomon

    Mr. Emeritus Prestigious

    hollywood loves remakes, it was only a matter of time before the big record companies got into it as well. this album is boring and uninspired, and it's a real shame that they seem "interesting" just because they found their dad's old Woodstock clothes and half a led zeppelin album on
  6. oldjersey

    Pro Podcaster Supporter

    Subbing, this should be an interesting thread
  7. St. Nate

    من النهر إلى البحر Prestigious

    I am sorry that every review of this will pale in comparison to the P4K review.

    It was a valiant effort tho.
    Adam LaRue, beachdude, Joe4th and 2 others like this.
  8. Elder Lightning

    A lightning bolt without a cloud in the sky Supporter

    That "review" was an embarrassment to the author and music criticism as a whole.
    trevorshmevor likes this.
  9. whitenblue88

    The rivalry is back on

    @paythetab your last sentence sums up perfectly how I feel about this band/album
    KidLightning and paythetab like this.
  10. Phatty McTavish


    This sounds like all the Stone Temple Pilots/Pearl Jam comparisons from when I was in college. Looking back, it's stupid. Let them play music they like. If you like the song, listen to it. I have added a few to my "classic rock" playlist and don't bat an eye. Who cares that it came out in 2018 and not 1978.

    BTW, the Pitchfork guy sounded like a total douche. Par for the course.
    The Lucky Moose likes this.
  11. Buscemi knows best

    You owe me a Sausage McMuffin

    I hadn't bothered reading any pitchfork reviews for years, but decided to read this. As expected, an article about costumes, and little else. Pitchfork is dumb.
    KidLightning likes this.
  12. Elder Lightning

    A lightning bolt without a cloud in the sky Supporter

    Same here.

    I also love how the criticism of the band on their debut album is that they sound too much like their influence, Led Zeppelin, when 75% of Led Zeppelin's debut album was covers/arrangements of existing songs.
  13. Analog Drummer


    Love Led Zeppelin, love this band. It’s fun. I dig it
    KidLightning and paythetab like this.
  14. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    It's always hilarious to me when people make a big stink of an artist "ripping off" another artist that was famous for ripping shit off.
  15. Blake Solomon

    Mr. Emeritus Prestigious

    All art is reactive. We are all beholden to our idols and experiences. Everyone is copying everyone else. I think the difference here is that they aren't adding even a single new thing. They are doing it as if it's both serious and a joke (which in these times, admittedly, is not a terrible way to look at the world). But I don't think that over-the-top earnestness can make up for something that is generally without soul that is trying to seem as if it has soul.
    beachdude and kait_whiteside like this.
  16. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    I'm not saying they're adding anything new, or even that this album is worth much. I didn't dislike it, but probably won't listen again. The most interesting track to me was the first one, which is the one that sounds the least like a Zeppelin cover. I just think there are worse sins in music than being derivative of something from the past that most people like. Especially since, by all musical metrics, they do a pretty good job of it. If their lyrics weren't terrible, I might be more interested.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  17. SPine


    Age of Man & Lover, Leaver are absolute jams. I don't get the hate. Kids voice is impressive as hell.
    Analog Drummer and paythetab like this.
  18. Blake Solomon

    Mr. Emeritus Prestigious

    oh man those lyrics!
  19. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    I listened to the album the other day when I was working, and I enjoyed it as background music, but whenever I'd actually focus in and catch a lyric, it was like "Wow, that is BAD."
    Jason Tate likes this.
  20. paythetab

    Chorus.FM Album Reviewer (Adam Grundy) Supporter

    Haha, a couple of them are extremely cliche... Especially like those.. "Didn't they darlin'" and the "Lights camera action...words you know so well" are going to make this band blush in the future. I was so ready to put this as NEUTRAL listing, but alas was hoping for some good discussion along the way. Problem solved?