L-R: Danny Wagner, Jake Kiszka, Josh Kiszka, Sam Kiszka
Photo Credit: Travis Shinn
From the moment that Greta Van Fleet released their mega hit “Highway Tune”, they immediately put the music world on notice that they were going to be a force to reckon with. With two Ep’s under their belt, 2017’s From The Fires, and Black Smoke Rising, it was now time for the group to put together their first full length effort. On October 19th 2018 they will finally satisfy their fans when they release Anthem Of The Peaceful Army through Lava/Republic Records.
Earlier this year, the three Kiszka brothers, Joshua, Jacob, Samuel, and Daniel Wagner, who make up Greta van Fleet finally sat down and penned Anthem Of The Peaceful Army. Then they proceeded to head to the Blackbird Studios in Nashville to record it. Produced by Marlon Young, Al Sutton, and Herschel Boone together they helped to create this fantastic 10 track effort.
Kicking off the album is “Age Of Man”. The beginning showcases Joshua Kiszka’s distinctive voice. While it is a laid-back start to the album, the song more than establishes itself as a great track. As it progresses, you’ll find that you’ll be losing yourself in it. It would have been easy just to recycle some of their earlier material, but instead with this track the guys have shown real growth as songwriters. Next up is “The Cold Wind”. I love the guitar riff that Jacob Kiszka kicks off the song with. He adds just enough distortion to make it fun, but not too heavy. When you get to the chorus he switches to a clean tone and that combined with his brothers singing really makes this song shine. The third track, “When The Curtain Falls” is also the first single from the album. Lyrically, this song is a gem. Singing about how quickly you can come and go in Hollywood, it is quite clever. With a chorus of “When the curtain falls, Walk the hollow halls babe, Once a valley doll, Now you’re not at all”, they really hit the nail on the head with this one. The fourth track “Watching Over” slows things down just a bit after the last two up-tempo songs. When Joshua Kiszka belts out “See no sin” towards the end, I don’t know of anyone currently that can hit a note like that. The 5th song “Lover Leaver(Taker Believer)” is one of my favorites. With Jacob Kiszka creating a churning power chord laden intro to Joshua Kiszka’s screaming “Lover, Leaver, Taker, Believer”, to Daniel Wagner’s powerful drumming, this song will have you turning up the volume. After this song comes “You’re The One”. It opens with some beautiful acoustic guitar work. Throughout the song the acoustic guitar work is layered beautifully with some great keyboard work by Samuel Kiszka. You’ll find yourself singing along with the catchy chorus of “You’re the one I want, You’re the one I need”. This acoustic/electric midtempo song shows that these guys really are growing as songwriters. The 7th song is “The New Day”. Like the previous song, it has a really nice mix of acoustic and electric guitar work; with a particularly pretty guitar solo. Next is “Mountain Of The Sun”. It starts out with some nice slide guitar work that continues throughout the song. Joshua Kiszka’s singing along with just drummer Daniel Wagner playing on the third verse was particularly nice. The 9th song is “Brave New World”. While the rest of the songs on the album are upbeat, this track has a darker grunge like feel to it, yet it doesn’t ever wander into that genre. The heavy guitar work along with the powerful singing give this song a nice edge to it. The final song is “Anthem”. With some clever lyrics, a stripped-down feel featuring some fitting acoustic guitar work, this song has a mellow feel to it. Instead of leaving you breathless, this song leaves you relaxed, happy and wanting to go back to the first song and experience the journey this album took you on.
For a first full-length album, this is an impressive effort. Building on the success of their two EP’s, the guys in Greta Van Fleet have grown as songwriters, and what they’ve accomplished with this album bear that out. Yet, they retain the attitude and the 70’s rock and blues feel that propelled them to the limelight. This album is a must have for anyone that loves rock music. With so much of the music these days being pigeon holed into one category or another, to have a true rock n’ roll record like this come along it’s no wonder that Greta van Fleet has exploded into the stratosphere.
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