Review: Greta Van Fleet’s album “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army” combines 70’s rock sound with youthful energy

Illustration by Jake Barnard

Illustration by Jake Barnard

Michigan based band Greta Van Fleet has released their highly anticipated debut album, “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army.” And, for those who enjoyed the band’s 2017 EP’s, “Black Smoke Rising” and “From the Fires,” this album is sure to be another treat.

The ‘70s sounding rock n’ roll group consists of three brothers, including vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka, bassist Sam Kiszka, and drummer/friend Danny Wagner. Their debut hit single, “Highway Tune,” remained the top song on the Billboard US Mainstream Rock charts for four weeks in a row in September 2018.

The album’s opening song, “Age of Man,” is a true journey from start to finish. Beginning with a soft string section, the song transitions into an up-tempo rock song dominated by strong guitar riffs and Josh Kiszka’s infamously loud vocals.

Despite often being criticized for sounding like a Led Zeppelin rip-off, the group seems determined to carve their own path while continuing to pay homage to their undeniable ‘70s influences. Songs like “You’re The One” feature soothing acoustic guitar and showcase Josh Kiszka’s vocal range, trading out his powerful howling for something much more casual and melodic. Other songs, such as “The New Day,” seem to work toward the same goal: combining old-school rock n’ roll roots with a more modern and catchy rhythm.

The band’s uncanny resemblance to the guitar riffs of Zeppelin’s Jimmy Paige weren’t by accident.

“I went through a year of really intensely studying what Paige did, to the point where I knew how he thought,” Jake Kiszka told Rolling Stone in a January interview. However, the story of lead singer Josh Kiszka’s voice is very different.

“I didn’t even know who fu----- Led Zeppelin was until I was in high school,” Josh told Rolling Stone. Instead, he claimed his Robert Plant-like shriek came out in a band practice as he struggled to keep his voice heard over his band-mates.

Greta Van Fleet’s habit of releasing Zeppelin-remnant music has resulted in a range of fans most artists only dream of. Their sell-out concerts are diverse in attendance, ranging from indie teens to reminiscent parents who have slowly watched the gritty music of their teenage years fade from existence.

Overall, “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army” is likely to appeal to anyone who’s been a fan of the band’s previous work. Despite often still sounding like a reincarnated Led Zeppelin, this young band is full of talented musicians determined to separate themselves from the shadows of legends. And, while this album may not have taken them outside that shadow, it takes a step in the right direction, displaying new sounds and more creativity than any of their previous work.

CultureJustin Flesher