Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Released: Oct. 19, 2018
Following up on the success of their first EP, Greta Van Fleet is back with their debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. To say I was excited to hear this album would be an understatement; in fact, I would argue that this was the album I most looked forward to this year. So, if you decide not to read any further than the opening paragraph of this review, please know this one thing: Greta Van Fleet delivered, and they delivered well.
The album opens with the song “Age of Man.” In an instant, you understand the relation between the music and the album’s name. The song is a mid-tempo, six minute epic, and if there was one word to describe it, it would be “peaceful.” The song begins with a melodic mix of flutes, other soft horns, and Josh’s smooth voice. It’s not as gritty as other songs of theirs, and I think that’s a good thing. It shows their progression as musicians, and the fact that they’re willing to put out a song longer than three minutes in an age where attention span is in short supply is impressive.
The progression of their musicianship is clearly displayed throughout this album. It’s safe to say that they have truly come into their own with this album, using past artists as inspiration while still putting their own unique touch on the music.
Along with “Age of Man,” there are several other songs in what I would consider the “epic category,” including “Brave New World,” which is my second favorite track of the album. These songs show a frameshift in writing style for Greta Van Fleet. There are elements that are significantly more progressive, at times, than they’ve ever written before, allowing space for the music to jam and rock in a way that highlights the band’s sound instead of being a vessel for guitar solos, which isn’t to say there aren’t any on this album because of course there are.
If “Highway Tune” was the star of From the Fires, then “When the Curtain Falls” is the star of Anthem of the Peaceful Army. This song instantly captivates you with one hell of a guitar riff. It’s the kind of iconic tune that you’ll hear twenty years from now and say, “Oh yeah, this is definitely ‘When the Curtain Falls.’” This quality of theirs is what originally brought me on board as a fan and is what I believe has largely contributed to their success. It’s their ability to write true rock ’n’ roll songs that have these earworm riffs that you can’t get out of your head.
One other aspect that stood out to me, that I briefly inferred earlier, was that this album contains more songs that are laid back or slower than the songs on their EP. Please don’t mistake that for a bad thing because it’s the exact opposite. The fact that these guys can write slower songs of the same cut and caliber as their faster paced, catchier songs is quite impressive and something that I think a lot of people were hoping to see.
Many bands throughout the history of rock, and even music in general, have been impacted by the pressure placed on them to follow-up a previous success in such a way that their new music suffers. It’s very evident that Greta Van Fleet was able to avoid that pathway and come out with another killer set of songs.
Check out Anthem of the Peaceful Army on Apple Music, Spotify, or even better, grab a physical copy of the album and support the face of the rock ’n’ roll revival.
For more info, visit gretavanfleet.com.
From the Fires
Released: Nov. 10, 2017
If by now you haven’t heard of the four-piece rock band, Greta Van Fleet, I’d first like to ask what it’s like living completely off the grid, and second, I’d like to welcome you to the meteoric rise that is one of the most impressive rock bands of a young generation.
When From The Fires starts to play, you can’t help but think that you’ve heard this before. It sounds familiar, like something you vaguely remember from the early 70s when you used to ride around in your friend’s Ford Pinto. However, you’d probably be surprised to find out that these songs were written and recorded by a group of guys no older than 22. It’s refreshing to hear music like this, which vastly differs from the polished top 40 pop tracks produced by other members of their generation. Song after song is just pure momentum, pushed by the crunchy sounds of Jake’s impeccable guitar work and led by Josh’s screaming high vocals. From The Fires has songs that will make you want to jump up and dance to the beat and songs that will make you want to sit back and chill to take in the atmosphere of the music.
If you’ve already listened to this album and liked what you heard, make sure to check out their newly released single “When The Curtain Falls” from their upcoming debut album, Anthem of a Peaceful Army due on October 19. The buzz and anticipation surrounding this album is at an all-time high as fans patiently wait to see how Greta Van Fleet follows up on their ever-growing success.
For more, check out our interview with Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet.