Review: Greta Van Fleet changes the game of rock ‘n’ roll with ‘From The Fires’

Story by Daniel Shaw-Remeta / Contributing Writer

Greta Van Fleet, a Michigan-based rock quartet, is changing the game in the realm of young rock ‘n’ roll bands. Brothers Josh Kiszka (vocals), Jake Kiszka (guitar), Sam Kiszka (bass/keyboards) and drummer Danny Wagner make up the band that is being compared by fans and critics throughout the nation to classic rock giant Led Zeppelin. Flaunting their classic rock-era muscles with familiar but oddly original blues guitar riffs and moody basslines, it’s only a matter of time before this young band reaches superstardom.

The band released their debut EP “Black Smoke Rising” in April this year, which landed on Billboard 200 only one month later. Now, only seven months after its release, they’ve released a full-length album, or double EP, “From The Fires,” which consists of the original four EP tracks and four brand new songs.

The album begins with the track “Safari Song,” which was on their EP and opens with a raunchy ’70s throwback riff from guitarist Jake Kiszka, followed by a piercing “Oh yeah” from Josh Kiszka. Similar to many songs by the legendary British rock ‘n’ roll band, “Safari Song” is about a man who is clearly struggling to get his message of love through to his adored lover, and Josh Kiszka keeps the Zeppelin comparison authentic with more than one “Ooh mama” per chorus. Not to mention the final note of the song is a high pitched “Ohh” that sounds like it was stolen from the pipes of Robert Plant himself. A “loose” feel and light-hitting tone from the drums throughout the entire song adds that extra classic-sounding edginess to the opening track.

The second song on the album is “Edge of Darkness,” which is a newly added song. This track opens with guitar as well, but is notably less flashy and sets the mood for a moderately more serious tone before the vocals come in with an ear-clenching, high-pitched, “Every day is a new day.” Still sticking to their apparently ’70s-style roots, the song doesn’t sound like it was recorded this year — or decade even — but highlights a more serious and mature side of the band than the previous opening track. Guitarist Jake Kiszka gets to show off a bit with an extended guitar solo that concludes the track.

“Flower Power,” another track from their previous EP, follows before new track “A Change is Gonna Come,” which is a Sam Cooke cover that displays a bit of the band’s soul side. A slow tempo, less gritty guitar tone and a simple but groovy baseline over a familiar soul tune was the perfect way to reach the softer side of an audience hungry for ’60s and ’70s nostalgia. The song even features a church gospel-like chorus to really bring home the point that this band can do more than sound like a modern Zeppelin.

Arguably the most praiseworthy track of the four newest released songs is “Talk on the Street,” the second-to-last song on the full-length album. The upbeat rock song is possibly the first and only song on the album that isn’t an immediate “blast from the past” in style and song structure. Although still containing angelic harmonies and progressive chord changes resembling artists from the late ’70s and early ’80s, the vocals remain relatively modest, the drums have a “tighter” feel and the guitar solo has maybe half the grit as “Safari Song.” In fact, it’s the only song that doesn’t really sound like Zeppelin at all, which answers the lingering question on everyone’s mind: Are they a rip off of Led Zeppelin?

Whether people think they are copying or trying to be exactly like the legendary British band, the quality of music has to be acknowledged, and to say it’s good is an extraordinary understatement. They are making music that professional musicians in the industry wish they could make and are finding themselves at the top of Billboard early in their career as a result.

“From The Fires” continues beautifully where their EP, “Black Smoke Rising,” left off. Rock ‘n’ roll-hungry fans who appreciated the first EP will definitely enjoy the four new songs, and those who are just discovering the band will have a great album to immerse themselves in.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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