Greta Van Fleet will be releasing The Battle at Garden’s Gate, on April 16 via Lava/Republic Records

 

Greta Van Fleet is a band that came onto the music scene like a sledgehammer destroying expectations that the 1970’s classic rock sound cannot be modernized and work it today’s music. Although the band had previously released a couple Eps, it was the release of their debut album ‘Anthem of the Peaceful Army’ in 2018 that garnered the attention of a wider fan base of music lovers.  Greta Van Fleet wasn’t accepted for their nod to the music of the past but as a group of talented musicians that knew their niche and took it to a whole new level.

Greta Van Fleet were never an overnight sensation as they formed in 2012 and took the time to hone their craft prior to their debut release. Consisting of brothers Josh Kiszka (vocals), Jake Kiszka (guitars/backing vocals), & Sam Kiszka (bass/keyboards/backing vocals) along with Danny Wagner(drums/backing vocals); we find out how much the matured for their sophomore release.

‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’ is scheduled for release on April 16th via Republic Records. The album consists of twelve tracks with four singles released from October thru March. This highly anticipated album has one lingering question for the band… can lightning strike twice for the band?

 

The album opens with the track “Heat Above” (released as the third single in February). The track opens with a churchlike organ intro building up as the drums enter with a rapid repetition, next thing you expect are continuous guitar power riffs that carry through the rest of the song. Instead the band takes it into a more acoustic guitar with an orchestrative balance with Josh’s distinct vocal styling. There is balance in the instruments as well as the melody that truly carries the song.

“My Way, Soon” (released as the first single in October) starts with Jake doing a controlled guitar feedback into a 60’s psychedelic vibe rhythm which carries across as a modern day pop track. This track sounds more like it would have been on their previous album. The nice part is Jake throws down a smooth guitar solo that seems rock music has been afraid to still incorporate into today’s music.

The next song is “Broken Bells” (released as the fourth single in March). Although this track is a ballad like, this shows how much Greta Van Fleet has grown as songwriters with beautifully done melodies and counter melodies as each member still work in unison. Part of the lyrics state “when out of silence we sing, and broken bells ring, not all the answers are the same, yet we still play the game”. Those lyrics can be related to so many of today’s situations and to human perseverance.

Next we go into a quadraphonic guitar-pounding type riff that helped create the band’s reputation as the modern day classic rockers. This track is “Built by Nations”. Josh’s vocal tone works as a proper contrast to Jake’s guitar melodies, while at other times they flow together so smoothly that you get lost in the song. All this while still getting another stellar guitar solo.

“Age of Machine” (released as the second single in December) is a hypnotic rhythm that builds as into a layering of instrumentation while still keeping a mystical feel. The song carries a sing along anthem style chorus that I know will be a crowd favorite when played live. This is a long track coming in at 6:54 but is still not the long track on the album. This does give bassist Sam Kiszka and drummer Danny Wagner a chance to also showcase their skills.

The next track “Tears of Rain” has the feel more of first album because of the acoustic undertone. It captures the essence of sitting around a campfire at night playing your gear with friends. No extra filler, no over engineering, no bullshit, just the song in its purity.

“Stardust Chords” shows exactly how much Greta Van Fleet has grown as musicians since ‘Anthem of The Peaceful Army’. The chord changes and song structure are what you would find more in jazz music but they make it work in a rock format.

We continue with “Light My Love”.  Sam’s keyboard work is a standout on this track. This comes across more as a power ballad, mixing the softness of the piano and Jake’s electric guitar.  There is a continuous laid back vibe that ties these songs together that a lot of work was put into yet comes across effortlessly.

The next track “Caravel” intros with a pounding drum rhythm and continues to weave intricate guitar and vocal rhythms that the band knows how to navigate so well. It truly captures the essence of 70’s classic rock genre. Songs like this also show why Greta Van Fleet helped create the resurgence of this genre while appealing to a whole new fan base.

Sam starts out the track with an angelic like organ leading straight into a Jake’s power house guitar doing a small solo with a wah pedal. This is all before the first verse of “Barbarians”. The song gains momentum as it continues to build throughout the track. You can feel the tension Josh creates by his vocal ability on the track. This is definitely a stand out song on this album.

“Trip The Light Fantastic” is easily my favorite song on the album. It encompasses everything I want in a song from great vocals, a strong melody, and takes you on a musical journey. There are so many layers in this song & key changes, yet the song never misses a beat.

‘Battle at Garden’s Gate’ closes with “The Weight of Dreams”. If you feel bad that this is the last track on the album, don’t be. It clocks in at almost nine minutes and is an incredible finale to the album.

Although singles were released, ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate’ is more a journey to bask in from start to finish. This is how albums should be written because it shows the incredible growth within the band in their song structures as well as each individual’s musicianship.

The expectations were high for this sophomore album and the Greta Van Fleet rose to the occasion. Greta Van Fleet prove they’re the real deal and will be around for quite a long time.

About The Author

I've been a part of music industry as a concert photographer for over thirty years. At an early age I hit the road shooting for Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Quiet Riot, Ted Nugent, Twisted Sister, just to name a few. My love for music has never wavered. I started Mayhem Music Magazine as an outlet to share both established and new artists with others who truly love music.

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