The torrent of comparisons is coming fast, if not already flooding downhill and filling up around Greta Van Fleet. As soon as their 2017 debut EP From the Fires landed, and subsequent touring affirmed that sonically impressive set wasn’t something cooked up in the lab, the quartet barely has escaped a single review, critical or flattering, without the mention of Led Zeppelin. Yet, just as Black Sabbath and Dio and Heart and Billy Squier and The Darkness found out, any comparison is one , a compliment, and two, no real deterrent to a long and successful run as an artist in their own right.
The real question asked and answered by Anthem of the Peaceful Army isn’t whether or not these four young rockers from Michigan sound like their predecessors, but if their songwriting is strong enough to stand on its own, and not simply a cosmetic mask over what came before.
It isn’t as if Zeppelin, themselves, didn’t crib generously from American blues artists, (or maybe even Spirit, but that’s one for the courts) during their formative years before their sound was “their sound.” Remember, this is Greta Van Fleets debut LP. Sure, it wears on its (vinyl) sleeve and in its grooves that familiar thunder crunch of the metal gods, but nods, often, as well to the conceptual flair of early Rush, but without the prog-rock complexity. Or, as on “The Cold Wind,” channels a hybrid of ‘90s rock; Stone Temple Pilots meets the Black Crowes.
Okay, the single “When the Curtain Falls,” definitely ticks off all the Zep boxes, and “The Watcher” certainly traffics in the land of bold and dramatic mystics, but then there’s “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)”- a flat-out rock-and -roll rumbler that has more than enough heartland punch for the dented pickups with mud-caked dualies and/or anyone with a druid robe hanging in the closet. The biggest mistake right now for either the band or the fans and critics of would be to deny who they are, what they are, and what they do very well simply because it reminds us all of some incredible bands of the past. How is that anything but good?