Greta Van Fleet is back from their brief hiatus of releasing music and are seeming to be stronger than ever with their second full-length album, The Battle At Garden’s Gate. All of their previous releases came with very positive reviews aside from the occasional critique that they are copying Led Zepplin. I think with this album, the boys from Frankenmuth, Michigan are truly showing their versatility and uniqueness. It’s a rare sight to see in music today, artists writing all the music themselves and playing the instruments on their records. It’s even crazier to think that these guys are doing all that while no one in the band is over the age of 25. This record is twelve tracks long and clocking in at just over an hour which again, is virtually unheard of in music today.
The record was released on Lava/Republic Records and was produced by big ticket producer, Greg Kurstin who recently was working with Foo Fighters on their last two albums. The concept of the album itself is noted as referencing biblical themes, human nature, ancient civilizations, parallel universes. It also expands on the affects of religion and war on human life experiences. There is a lot of depth to this record, though some of it does sound a little repetitive at points. Although some songs might not be the most unique sounding for the album, there are a few tracks that really stand out and make this album worth listening to.
The first of those stand out songs appears second on the track listing, “My Way, Soon“. Endless riffs and a killer chorus to move and shake with is the best way to describe this composition. Closing your eyes to listen in on this track will transport people of any age right back to the 70’s where this sound was so popular and prevalent. The fuzzy tone on Jake Kiszka’s six strings during the solo makes the listener crack a grin or sit with a puzzled look on their face. The next standout song is the vibrant and almost cosmic, Stardust Chords. An exciting and unique song with tempo changes where the song is driven by lead guitar melodies. Sam Kiszka and Danny Wagner hold down to the rhythm to keep everyone in the pocket. The ballad of the album, Tears of Rain is a sleeper to be the best song on the album. This song was made for the beautiful voice that comes from Josh Kiszka’s vocal chords. His vibrato, tonality, and those soprano-esque high notes he executes to perfection spread chills that echo through the listeners body.
The closer of the album is a song that they have played live at many of their shows but, no one knew what it was. Clocking in at almost nine minutes is basically a recorded jam session named, The Weight of Dreams. Paradoxical, is a word that feels good to describe this song, it almost feels like Greta Van Fleet threw everything they had at us with this song, The drums are consistent yet always changing, the bass is staying locked in with the guitar and drums always, the guitar is never a second late or early, the keyboard adds a perfect amount of ambience, and the vocals bring perfect because this song is about the instruments. You just got lost in it man, it could go for on for hours and you would not be able to tell the difference between hours and minutes.
Overall, this album does have some repetitive points that might make it a task to listen through back to front consistently, but the stand out songs are what really makes this album what it is and gives it character. Rock is not dead, it will not be dying anytime soon. Not when we have young people like this guys making it alive and well.
Album rating: 8/10