Courtesy: Lava/Republic Records
When Greta Van Fleet released its sophomore EP From The Fires last year, the upstart Michigan-based, very quickly made quite the impact on audiences. Audiences either loved the band or hated the group. That was due to the band’s classic rock influenced sound, which showed very blatant influence from Led Zeppelin. As a matter of fact, that influence was so blatant that the band was called the second coming of Led Zeppelin by many, both in positive and negative fashion. The release of its debut full-length studio recording Anthem of the Peaceful Army Oct. 19 has only served to widen that gap, with just as many – if not more – people taking either one side in the debate on the up-and-coming band or another. While the band’s debut full-length album (and its third overall studio recording) does present even more cause for comparison to Led Zeppelin, a thorough listen through the album also shows that the band deserves more credit than its critics have given the group. That is evident right from the album’s outset in its opener, ‘Age of Man.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘You’re The One,’ which comes just past the record’s midway point, is another way in which the band proves in this record that it deserves more support than it gets. ‘Brave New World,’ which comes even later in the record’s 45-minute run time, is one more way in which this record proves Greta Van Fleet deserves more support than it gets. Each song, in its own way, proves that Greta Van Fleet is not quite the band that so many people think. When they are joined with the rest of Anthem of the Peaceful Army, the whole of the record paints a picture of a band that has great potential for growth. Keeping that in mind, it proves to be a record that shows Greta Van Fleet as a group that deserves more credit than it gets from so many listeners.
Greta Van Fleet’s debut album (and third overall studio recording) is a laudable new offering from the neo-classic rock outfit from Michigan. That is because the album in whole paints a picture somewhat different from that painted by the singles that have so far been released from the record and its predecessors. The album’s opener, ‘Age of Man’ is just one of the songs included in the album that serves to support that statement. Musically speaking, the song bears more of an influence from Rush and other similar classic rock acts of that ilk than to Led Zeppelin. Of course that is just this critic’s own interpretation. That is evident through the combination of front man Joshua Kiszka’s vocal delivery style and the work of his band mates – Jacob Kiszka (guitar), Samuel Kiszka (bass/keyboards) and Daniel Wagner (drums/percussion) – throughout the song. It displays clearly, the band attempting to use those influences to establish its own identity. It succeeds in attempting to achieve that goal, too. Keeping this in mind, the song’s lyrical content does just as much to help the song to stand out. Joshua Kiszka sings here, “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.” He goes on to sing, “To wonder lands of ice and snow/In the desert heat where nothing grows/A tree of life in rain and sun/To reach the sky, it’s just begun.” As the song transitions into its chorus, he sings, “And as we came into the clear/To find ourselves where we are here/Who is the wiser to help us steer/And will we know when the end is near?” What makes all of this significant here in the first half of the song is that these lyrics seem to be a metaphorical way of addressing the world’s current situation. It seems to try to remind listeners that there is positive in the world’s negative, yet seems to ask through the chorus, who will help lead us to that positive. Again, this is all just the interpretation of this critic in particular. It should not be taken as gospel. Though in the song’s third verse, Kiszka continues, “Beauty lies in every soul/The more you love, the more you know/They pass the torch and it still burns/One children, then it’s now our turn.” It’s as if Kiszka is telling listeners again, that that positive is there, but it’s up to us to make it exist. Once again, this is just this critic’s interpretation, and could likely be completely off base, so it should not be considered the only interpretation. When this seeming message of positivity is considered along with the almost contemplative vibe of the song’s musical arrangement, that seeming message tends to make more sense even if it is not the correct interpretation. Keeping this in mind, the song proves to be a strong start for Greta Van Fleet in its latest recording, and just one example of why the band is deserving of more than the Led Zeppelin comparisons that it has constantly received. It is a song that infuses a variety of musical influences in its arrangement, and that presents a seemingly deep lyrical theme with wording that is certain to generate plenty of discussions. While the impact of this song cannot be ignored, it is just one of the songs included in the album that proves Greta Van Fleet deserves more credit than it has gotten and gets. ‘You’re The One’ is another song that shows this band is not just another Led Zeppelin ripoff.
‘You’re The One’ has been likened by some to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come,’ and while a close listen to both songs does reveal a certain similarity, it can just as easily be argued that they are dissimilar, too in their musical arrangements. It’s one more example of Greta Van Fleet using another band’s influences to try to establish its own identity. Yes, the use of the organ and the old-school sound of the drums, and even the guitar line show similarities, but those similarities are not as direct as in other equally rare moments in this record. To that end, the song shows yet again that even despite the similarities between the two songs, the band does deserve at least some credit as it shows the band is not trying to blatantly rip off its influences. The song’s lyrical content adds even more to its interest. The content shows the song is a standard love song, with Kiszka singing, “Babe, ain’t no denyin’/That I got you in my head/Girl, I’d be lyin’/If you stood yourself and said/You’re the one I want/You’re the one I need/You’re the one I had/So come back to me.” This is the exact opposite, lyrically, of ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come,’ which is a song about a breakup sung from the standpoint of someone telling another that said person’s time will come. GVF’s song may be similar to Led Zeppelin’s work stylistically, and similar lyrically in that the two songs both center on relationships, but GVF’s work is about a man who wants a woman, not someone breaking up with another person. To that end, here we have another example of why Greta Van Fleet deserves more credit than it gets. With this in mind, there is still at the very least one more example in this song, of why Greta Van Fleet deserves more credit than it gets. It comes in the form of ‘Brave New World,’ which comes late in the album’s run.
‘Brave New World’ stands out because as with the previously discussed songs, this work’s musical arrangement is another example of Greta Van Fleet clearly trying to establish its own identity. Instead of the Zeppelin influences that people love to make so much with the band, this song’s arrangement presents more influence from the likes of Rush and Ritchie Blackmore among others with its slow yet bombastic guitar and drums. Kiszka’s own vocal delivery conjures thoughts of a combined Robert Plant and Geddy Lee, while the bass work adds to the song’s heaviness. It honestly could be considered the album’s most notable work because it so clearly shows the potential that the band has, despite what so many people would have people think. The song’s lyrical content shows just as much as its musical arrangement, the potential that the band has. Looking through the song’s lyrical content, it comes across as a social commentary of sorts, again presented through metaphors. This is inferred as Kiszka sings, “As to the drifters of the high rift plains/They can see the ashes and the acid rain/It turns to dust before their very eyes/And it chokes to death within the smog it lies.” This comes across as a statement of what has become of the world. That seeming statement continues as he sings in the song’s chorus, “Take one look at your skies/And in the darkness realize/Kill, fear, the power of lies/For we will not be hypnotized.” This comes across as Kiszka presenting a defiant message that the world will overcome what has caused it to become what it has become. The seeming social commentary continues as Kiszka sings, “Turn back the clock within your glass of sand/To a time of love within this blackened land/A silent child climbs a mound of char/Where he plants a seed that grows beyond the stars.” This comes across as Kiszka telling people to remember that there was a better day, and that it is possible to get back to that better time, despite everything that has happened. Once again, this is all just one critic’s interpretation. Even with that in mind, it goes without saying that this lyrical content is presented in a smart fashion, even being presented through metaphorical language. It still seems to make a statement that at least seems to match, and is deep, regardless. That contemplative nature of the song’s lyrical content couples with its equally thoughtful musical arrangement to make the song stand out even more. When this is considered along with the presentation of ‘You’re The One,’ ‘Age of Man’ and the rest of the album’s featured offerings, the whole exhibits Greta Van Fleet as a band that despite its comparisons to Led Zeppelin, deserves far more credit than it deserves.
Greta Van Fleet is currently one of the biggest names in the rock realm today. That is due to a handful of singles that have lent themselves to comparisons to the one and only Led Zeppelin. At the same time, those singles have proven to be anything but beneficial for the band. Rather, they have caused quite a division among audiences. Songs such as ‘Brave New World,’ ‘You’re The One’ and ‘Age of Man’ show a side of Greta Van Fleet that the band’s singles have not and do not present. They show a band striving to use its influences to develop its own identity and that clearly has potential. Keeping this in mind, the band’s debut album (and third overall studio recording) Anthem of the Peaceful Army proves to be a positive new effort from the up-and-coming neo-classic rock band, and one that shows the band deserves more credit than it receives. It is available now. More information on Anthem of the Peaceful Army is available online now along with all of Greta Van Fleet’s latest news and more at:
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