REVIEW: Greta Van Fleet puts powerful rock sound on full display in debut album

Greta Van Fleet album cover

Alex Novak

“Anthem of the Peaceful Army” is a grand suite of classic rock sounds that packs a punch of folk, soul and blues to create a fresh and distinct debut for Greta Van Fleet.

The band’s highly anticipated first full-length album did not disappoint as it features a matured sound with a clearer sense of its craft taken to more complex musical heights.

Greta Van Fleet, best described to me as a mix of classic rock band Led Zeppelin and progressive band Rush before I first heard them, rose to prominence a couple of years ago following the release of a pair of successful EPs.

The comparisons of its sound to some of the best rock bands to ever play came shortly after, especially with lead vocalist Josh Kiszka’s extremely similar sound to the legendary Robert Plant, which is evident in the first listen.

If you played this band for someone without any prior knowledge, they may very well mistake it for Zeppelin.

The album opens up bombastically with “Age of Man,” which soars through guitar-driven verses and a beautifully executed, versatile vocal chorus.

Some of the other top tracks are “The Cold Wind” and “When the Curtain Falls,” which was the first single from the album. Both are the most similar to hits like “Safari Song,” a tune that got the band first noticed, and “Brave New World,” which speaks to the band’s newfound horizons.

As with many of the all-time greats that inspired the band, it features a quartet of musicians who all mark their territory on this album powerfully.

The drum work from Danny Wagner on the album hits much harder than his previous performances, and the guitars from the other Kiszka brothers, Jake and Sam, carry plenty of the songs with a strong jam and feverish pace easy to groove to.

Lyrically, the album features a little more consistent writing than before. While the musicians don’t dive into the enigmatic lyrical depths of Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” or “Kashmir,” most of the songs’ lyrics are more heavily reminiscent of their influences and provide more thought-provoking lines than they did previously.

“Babe, ain’t no denyin’ / that I’ve got you in my head,” Kiszka sings sweetly on “You’re The One” as he beckons his lost love to return to him on the middle track of the record that serves as a break from the hard rock of the first five songs.

“Watching Over” lyrically speaks to the current political climate by assessing a subtle demise in our culture and wondering why it remains unseen by the masses.

“Where is the music? / a tune to free the soul / a simple lyric, to unite us all, you know,” furthers these thoughts as he sings on “Anthem” of the need for music to be a force to bring people together.

These lyrics are not here to provide solid answers to the questions and the subjects they hint at right now, which is all right because the band still accomplishes an album that is completely enjoyable.

This album will be sure to help bring a resurgence to the rock genre and find its way into the ears of listeners, both young and old.

“Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” bookends the record with a classic sound that is the ultimate highlight of the album. The lyrical content is at its best storytelling, and the signature potent rock sound the band possesses is exhibited as brilliantly as ever on this track, summing up an album that is thoroughly entertaining.

Alex Novak is an entertainment reviewer. Contact him at [email protected].