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Why Greta Van Fleet's 'Anthem Of The Peaceful Army' Is Timeless Five Years Later

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Greta Van Fleet’s debut LP Anthem Of The Peaceful Army turns five years old October 19, 2023 and I couldn’t be more excited to share my opinions and experiences with the album. As someone who stayed awake long enough the exact night it was released into the world, I can proudly say this album is my #1 favorite album of all time and I always love sharing my stories surrounding it. I always get asked by people “What was it like when that album came out?” or “How did you know about Greta Van Fleet back then?” or “What were your first impressions of each song?”. While I would normally say “you just had to be there” I’ll instead take you back on the journey with me.

Anthem Of The Peaceful Army (or Anthem era) kicked off July 2018 with the album’s leading single “When The Curtain Falls” along with a vertical music video and was the only video for the album. Collectively written by all four members - Josh Kiszka (lead vocalist), Jake Kiszka (lead guitarist), Sam Kiszka (bassist and keyboardist) and Daniel Wagner (badass drummer and lowkey my favorite) - the album explores a variety of topics including fresh starts, love, innocence, seduction, adventure and more. The album was recorded at Rustbelt Studios in Royal Oak, Michigan and was the top-selling album during its debut week and sold 87,000 copies, as well as debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 charts and reached #1 on Billboard US Top Rock Albums.

The album immediately hooks you in with power ballad “Age Of Man” - officially welcoming you into the Anthem era of the GVF universe. The inspirational opener embraces you with its alluring vocals and a mix of swaying sounds from a mellotron (thank you, Sammy). Grasping you into an earth-filled universe amongst visions of rainbows, blue and green tones, where skies are purple and breathtaking trees fill the vicinity. Such lyrics - “A brand new day, a brand new start” are a reminder that fresh starts exist and we are deserving. The track that follows is “The Cold Wind” that steers into a blues-rock song where Jake takes the lead, providing memorable guitar riffs to bring you into the 70s rock n roll revival you’ve been waiting for. “When The Curtain Falls” remains the band’s third #1 hit and produces thrashing riffs, powerhouse vocals and a funky bassline that’ll have you singing along each time you listen. The song serves as a crowd pleaser and for a few years, was known to be an encore song or the closer at live shows.

As “Watching Over” was released as the album’s second promotional single, the song was performed live at various shows throughout 2015-2018 leading up to its initial release. A track that challenges humans to think of the earth, climate change, and the 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 the band’s 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 Andhem’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 initially the audition song Greta Van Fleet performed for Lava/Republic Records in 2016. As it’s one of the most motivating tracks on the album, “The New Day” is an acoustic ballad and provides upbeat riffs, raw acoustic 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 official release, however, it’s a rare song to be performed live.

Entering a new place in the universe, “Brave New World” is and always will be the most underrated song on Anthem Of The Peaceful Army. As it’s the newest song on the album and was written during recording, the track 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 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 song - “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” - 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 older track, “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)”. Dating as far back as 2014, the song 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 track will excite you as the music can spiritually take you away. When your soul has ascended out of your body to the song’s climax, you’ll know the mission is complete.

Listen to Anthem Of The Peaceful Army in Dolby Atmos HERE.


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