New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Greta Van Fleet Give SoundCloud Rappers a Run for Their Money
The cover for Greta Van Fleet’s most recent studio album “Anthem of the Peaceful Army.” Via

In a time where rhythm and blues and hip-hop have become synonymous with pop, the sounds of electric guitar solos and slamming cymbals find less grip in the industry as the genre hangs on by a thread while Gen-Z’ers wear overpriced  Rolling Stones tees.

But this never shook Greta Van Fleet for a second.

The four-piece Michigan outfit has been in pursuit of rock stardom for a while, but with the release of their debut album “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” on Oct. 19, the years spent meticulously curating their sound has paid off in the form of a ten-track LP chock-full of rock magic.

The boys in the band celebrated their record deal with Lava Records with the release of their first EP, “Black Smoke Rising” a mere month after signing with the label. Within the same year, the band released the extension of “Black Smoke Rising” with the EP “From the Fires,” which includes their charting singles of “Highway Tune,” “Safari Song” and an intense, goosebump-inducing cover of “A Change is Gonna Come.” Now, just under a year from their last EP, the band has released the album “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” in the midst of riding mainstream momentum and a rapidly growing fanbase.

When describing Van Fleet’s latest project, the first words that come to mind are intense and retro. However you might first hear about the Midwest rockers, Led Zeppelin is bound to make an appearance in describing their sonic atmosphere, and that is certainly no exception on their latest effort.

Yet, that did not turn me off from making this album a new regular for my fall playlist rotation. Although picky English majors at NYU might clock the band for simplicity and out-of-date concepts within the album’s lyricism, the lyrics are not what make the classic rock band unique and impressive. The soul-stirring melodies is what keeps you submerged in the fast-paced river of their 1970s sound.

“Anthem of the Peaceful Army” whittles down the listening experience to a feast for the ears that you do not get from your Billboard Top 100 guilty pleasure pop songs. Lead vocalist Josh Kiszka bounces off the band’s instrumentation to show off his impressive range and unique timbre.

Raspy wailing and over-the-top belted notes provide the intensity and emotion that one would expect at a Harley Davidson convention in Nashville (and I mean this in the most positive way). And it is only appropriate for fellow bandmates Jake Kiszka, Sam Kiszka and Danny Wagner to make sure their instrumentation matches the lead vocals’ intensity, and they do just that. The most intriguing part of the album is the band’s malleability to different emotions between songs while never losing their ’70s rock luster. Songs like “When The Curtain Falls” and “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” never take the backseat as the songs power through with tight chords and fierce drumming. On the other side of sound, “You’re the One” and “Anthem” show the band’s tender underbelly and ability to provide some new songs for your bonfire playlist.

If you’re looking for a little change in your life as you sit and eat your SweetGreen salad this midterm season, check out Greta Van Fleet’s “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” and be transported to a time of bell bottoms and glam rock.

Email Michael Muth at [email protected].

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