Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army: Album Review
Words: Anthony Firmin
There has been some fairly negative wordage been written about Greta Van Fleet, probably about as much positive too, even Kerrang gushed a load over the band in a recent issue. Their new album is released today (18/10/18) so we decided to have a listen and see how much of a Led Zeppelin facsimile they really are, or, perhaps there is some substance behind the kaftans, sandals and incense sticks.
Interestingly a couple of months back a music blog went viral when it claimed to have a preview of the new album. The excited and curious were presented with a list of the songs from the first Led Zeppelin album. You’ve got to laugh although many didn’t.
Of the band’s the releases so far, little has impressed me. Unlike a box of matches their debut album From the Fires didn’t strike a light – and with it’s 8 tracks running to 32 minutes it is an album and not an EP. At their show at Academy 3 earlier this year they seemed to be just going through the motions with singer Josh Kiszka seemingly unengaged. It didn’t help that they were, in my opinion, upstaged by their support, The Second Sons.
Zeppelin clones do come and go; in the late 80’s Kingdom Come were chastised when they dropped their debut album although listening to it now, it doesn’t seem as much of a carbon copy as Greta Van Fleet do.
Lets face the truth, we are now in the middle of a seemingly never ending nostalgia fest with half rate tribute bands soaking up money and others who tattoo their influences on their sleeves - the aforementioned Second Sons reference the Stones and Faces whilst Maker, whose album we reviewed earlier in the year, have more than a dose of the Black Crowes about them.
I digress, lets talk about the album which is more than NME did in their review, and I listened several times with an open mind:
The opening track Age Of Man has a couple of major flaws. One verse starts with the line “Towards the lands of ice and snow”… hold on a minute, doesn’t Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song start with an almost identical line? Oh shit, it does: “We come from the land of the ice and snow.” And then there is Josh’s singing which is sounding like a tortured gerbil squealing out it’s last breath when he is trying to reach the high notes (check it out at 4:02 onwards if you don’t believe me).
The Cold Wind is straight up classic Zeppelin, from the sound of the band – John Bonhams drum groove and Jimmy Pages guitar are highly evident – to the screams that are so Robert Plant it is embarrassing. Ditto When The Curtain Calls. Ditto, err, well, nearly every track.
Mountain of the Sun peaks out of the clouds and shows they potentially have more about them as does Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer), but there is little else.
The musicianship is, undoubtedly, first class, the Kiszka family – Jake on guitar and Sam on bass/keys supplemented by Danny Wagner on drums - know what they are doing. But they are doing nothing new. I just can’t get past Josh’s voice though, at times it works (Watching Over) but a lot of the time it is torturous.
I failed to be impressed by this release and regardless of what I write here Greta Van Fleet are going to be huge and they will be playing UK arenas in a year or two. Whatever.