Greta Van Fleet — Black Smoke Rising

Written by JBone

When I was in high school, I was singing and playing bass for a band, and we needed a drummer.  My brother had been taking lessons for a few months and my parents had just bought him a pretty nice set.  My brother and I have never really gotten along, but he was decent and we were desperate.  We practiced three times and played one show, which he walked out of halfway through.  You might be asking yourself “what the fuck do I care?”  That’s a fair point.  But I think about that a lot when I hear about bands who are successful that play with their siblings.  I also think about that situation when I see bands start to see success while they are still in high school.  I took being in a band seriously, but my idea of success at that time was playing on the main stage at a local county music festival.

Which brings me to Greta Van Fleet; a trio of brothers (with a seemingly interchangeable drummer) from America’s heartland.  Not one of them is old enough to legally drink, but they have channeled the hell out of heavy, classic rock.  The first time I heard Highway Song was on an episode of Shameless and I thought it was a lost Led Zeppelin B-Side that I had never heard before.  I mean, they sound just like them.  The opening riff screams Jimmy Page.  I challenge you to close your eyes during the first piercing high note after the build and see anyone, absolutely anyone, but Robert Plant being on the other side of that wail.  But it’s not.  It’s 19 year old frontman, Josh Kiszka.

The four song EP, officially released in April though Highway Tune seems to have been floating around for almost a year, contains three of these songs that you could swear are the almighty Zeppelin.  The EP concludes with the title track, Black Smoke Rising, which is the only track on the album that seems to showcase the unique style and talent of the band.  If it is the direction they are headed, I can get behind it, even though the screeching riffs and high pitched wails of Highway Tune, Safari Song, and Flower Power remind me of the band that got me into rock music.  Even though there has been heavy criticism of their likeness to Led Zeppelin and a perceived “unoriginality”, it’s hard to deny that these kids are talented.  I mean, there are worse things to be called than copycats of one of the pioneers of rock music, right?  For now, it seems like Greta Van Fleet has done enough to gain the respect of the Struts, who are taking them out on their first major tour this summer.  This is a band you’ll want to check out, if for no other reason than nostalgia!


JBone — Hard Rock/Metal Contributor. Follow Jay on Twitter: @JBoneBass

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