Greta Van Fleet's debut LP Anthem Of The Peaceful Army introduced us officially to the GVF universe with beautiful artwork designed by frontperson Josh Kiszka, environmentalist tracks such as "Watching Over" and "Brave New World", and a killer first single that went straight to number one - "When The Curtain Falls." The album was released October 19, 2018 via Lava Records and blends together rock and blues, as well as soft acoustic ballads. Collectively written by all four members - Josh Kiszka (vocals), Jake Kiszka (guitar), Sam Kiszka (bass and keys), and Danny Wagner (drums) - the album explores a variety of topics that include fresh starts, love, innocence, adventure and more. The album was recorded at Rustbelt Studios in Royal Oak Michigan, and AOTPA was the top selling album during its debut week and sold 87,000 copies, as well as debuting at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and reaching #1 on Billboard US Top Rock Albums.
Anthem Of The Peaceful Army opens with a power ballad introducing you to the new GVF universe - "Age Of Man". The inspiring opening track embraces you with compelling vocals and a mix of swaying sounds from a mellotron. Grasping you into an earth-filled universe among visions of rainbows, blue and green tones, where skies are purple and breathtaking trees fill the vicinity. Such lyrics - “A brand new day, brand new start” - are enough to motivate you. Each time I'm met with this track, tears fill my eyes as I'm reminded I've been on a fanciful journey with this band during these last five years - most of my adulthood. "The Cold Wind" steers into a blues-rock track where Jake takes the lead, providing memorable guitar riffs to bring you into the 70s rock n roll revival you've been waiting for. The first single released from AOTPA debuted in July 2018 and brought us into the new era - "When The Curtain Falls" - the band's third #1 hit. The track produces thrashing riffs, powerhouse vocals, and a funky bass line that'll have you singing along each time you listen. "WTCF" serves as a crowd-pleaser and is often performed at live shows near the end or during encore.
Released as the second promotional single for the album, "Watching Over" was performed live at various shows throughout 2015-2018 leading up to its official release. A track that challenges humans to think of the earth, climate change, and future of our planet. With a screeching guitar-driven track mixed with emotional weight, the song offers a bridge with captivating lyrics - "With the waters rising/And the air so thin/Still the children smiling/Can we see no sin." The LP's third single and overall fourth #1 hit captured hearts as women's ears perked up when hearing ethereal harmonies and acoustic strums. "You're The One" debuted just three days before AOTPA's release and instantly became a fan-favorite, especially since it was performed live years before. Known as the oldest track on the album, the ballad expresses freedom and romanticized lyrics.
Traveling into "The New Day," the track was essentially the audition song for Greta Van Fleet performed for their record label, Lava/Republic Records in 2016. One of the most motivating tracks on the album, the song is an acoustic ballad and provides upbeat riffs, raw acoustic guitar melodies and wavy vocals. The smooth bluesy guitar solo mid-song will have you dancing in the sun. "Mountain Of The Sun" is another oldie but goodie, its upbeat melodies and sliding guitar riffs along with a memorable chorus makes it difficult to dislike this song. The track was performed countless times before its release, however, it is a rare song to be performed.
Entering a new world, "Brave New World" is and always will be the most underrated track on AOTPA. As it's the newest song on the album and was written during recording, the song invites you into new challenges and encourages you to soar to new heights. GVF summons you into a new world with explosive and twisted guitar riffs, moody lyrics and howling vocals. End of the chorus lyrics - "Kill fear the power of lies/For we will not be hypnotized" - makes a statement and molds Greta Van Fleet's message to the world. The title track to this vivacious album debuted October 5, 2018 and solidifies what GVF is all about. "Anthem" moves you with its swaying acoustic guitars and comforting vocals, and its chorus is enough to move you to tears. The most important part of the track - "Every glow in the twilight knows/That the world is only what the world is made of/Just you and me can agree to disagree/And the world is only what the world is made of." It's the track reminds us that we are all one and can coexist with each other if we truly make the effort.
Closing out Anthem Of The Peaceful Army is another old track, "Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)". Dating as far back as 2014, the track was originally titled "Lover, Leaver, Taker, Believe Her" and provides screeching guitar riffs, heavy vocals, excessive basslines and thundering drums. The song marries hard and blues rock to capture crunchy guitars and psychedelic melodies. Jake's slides in this song will excite you as the music can spiritually take you away. When your body has ascended out of your soul to the song's climax, you'll know the mission's complete.
GRETA VAN FLEET