Review: Hard rock reborn in Greta Van Fleet's 'Anthem of the Peaceful Army'

Greta Van Fleet's "Anthem of the Peaceful Army"

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The hard rock genre was a staple of music throughout the '60s and '70s. As time passed into the '80s and '90s, hard rock took a back seat to heavy metal, hair metal and grunge music.

Hard rock was seen as music of the past until a little-known Michigan-based band named Greta Van Fleet took the world by storm. The band consists of three brothers, Josh (vocals), Jake (guitar) and Sam (bass guitar) along with their best friend Danny Wagner (drums). After two EPs were released in the past two years, their debut album titled "Anthem of the Peaceful Army" has revitalized hard rock.

Fleet has drawn comparisons to hard rock legends Led Zeppelin, especially with the resemblance of Fleet frontman Josh Kiszka to Zeppelin's Robert Plant. Kiszka extends his octave range almost perfectly to Plant's and has replicated Plant's famous "husky howl" style of singing.

Could someone call Fleet a glorified cover band or Led Zeppelin wannabes? No, not even close. Although Zeppelin inspired a good part of Fleet's music, all four members bring their own inspirations from B.B. King to The Who and give it their own mix.

After every song, for a split second, one might wonder whether Fleet is going to start playing some Zeppelin classics, but it sticks to its own style.

"When the Curtains Fall" is hands down the No. 1 track of the album, and it is also its shortest song at three minutes and 41 seconds. Most of their songs extend to the four or five minute range. The song starts out with an amazing guitar riff, then a high-pitched Plantesque howl from Josh. From the second Josh starts to sing to the guitar solo, he keeps up the passionate energy. He still does not stop during his brother's guitar solo, providing numerous howls and bringing it back to the chorus to end the song. The main point of the song is musicians struggling to make a name for themselves in Los Angeles. Possibly the band is pulling personal experiences into their music.

"Watching Over" has a slowed tempo in contrast to other Greta Van Fleet songs. The song feels like it was made during the '70s at the height of the psychedelic rock period with great inspiration from Jimi Hendrix. Global warming becomes the main point across the song with references to "waters rising" and "air so thin." God becomes the one "watching over" at the actions mankind has created that is hurting the planet.

Numerous other tracks from "Age of Man" to "You're the One" grab pieces from different genres such as classic rock, punk and even some blues for inspirations.

If you lived during the height of the hard rock movement and miss the music of your time or if you just love classic hard rock music, "Anthem of the Peaceful Army" is an album you might want to listen to.

entertainment.ed@ocolly.com