Greta Van Fleet, ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate,’ Review – Track-by-Track Review of New Album

2021-04-13

Greta Van Fleet, from left to right, featuring Sam Kiszka, Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka and Danny Wagner.

Greta Van Fleet – Review by Anne Erickson, photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Review: Greta Van Fleet are back with their sophomore album, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” which features retro sounds and a prog character. Here’s Audio Ink Radio’s track-by-track review of the album.

Greta Van Fleet changed the musical trajectory of modern rock with their 2017 debut single, “Highway Tune,” which topped a bevy of charts for weeks. The Frankenmuth, Michigan band’s retro sounding rock ‘n’ roll was something that hadn’t been heard on modern rock radio in decades, and listeners couldn’t get enough of it.

Now, Greta Van Fleet are back with their sophomore full-length album, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” out Friday (April 16). The album features the nostalgic rock that’s expected from the band, with some new twists and turns.

Greta Van Fleet, ‘The Battle at Garden’s Gate,’ Track-by-Track Review

“The Battle at Garden’s Gate” starts out with the swelling, prog-leaning “Heat Above,” complete with dramatic organs and big, warm guitar tones. Vocalist Josh Kiszka takes on a Geddy Lee quality, as he sings, “Follow the fearsome sound / As they march to battle, hear the drums pound / We do not fight for war / But to save the lives of those who do so.”

“My Way, Soon,” the album’s current radio single, follows. The song features upbeat rhythms, fun musical breakdowns and cool vocal harmonies. Greta Van Fleet take things down a few notches with the following track, “Broken Bells,” a soft, delicate ballad with dreamy atmospheric textures and dramatic melodies.

Next up is the groovy, hard-hitting “Built by Nations,” which opens with a head-bopping guitar riff and blossoms into a full-fledged rock anthem. With its catchy sound, “Built by Nations” would make an apt follow-up single.

The album continues with the trippy “Age of Machine,” a spacy rock tune that recalls bands such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. “Man has made an omnipresent force / Heading on a course for interstellar shores,” Kiszka pleas in the first verse.

“Tears of Rain” follows, opening with sparse guitar strumming and developing into a heartfelt ballad. While most of “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” has an retro feel, if there’s one song that truly sounds like it could have been recorded in the ’70s, it’s “Tears of Rain.”

“Stardust Chords,” the next track, starts out slow and dreamy before switching gears into a full-throttle rock tune. This song has groove, with a twangy guitar and Kiszka’s wailing vocals. “Light My Love” is the perfect song to follow, as it has a similar character, with a deep groove, swaying beat and Kiszka’s earnest vocal lines.

Greta Van Fleet turns things up with “Caravel,” which opens with a snarling guitar lick and offers a real Southern rock vibe. “Caravel” is a totally different sound from the next track, “The Barbarians,” which bringing a small, cool bit of drum soloing in the beginning, right before a strong wah-guitar kicks in.

The prog-sounding “Trip the Light Fantastic” is a bit similar to the album’s opening track, thanks to Kiszka’s high-pitched vocals that, once again, are reminiscent of Geddy Lee from Rush. The album closes out with “The Weight of Dreams,” an epic, near-9-minute song, featuring trippy guitar soloing and riffing, big rhythms and warm vocals.

Throughout “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” Greta Van Fleet stick to their retro-rock roots, and that’s a good thing. After all, Greta Van Fleet is one of those rare bands that can triumphantly sound ’70s but still bring a fresh, new perspective to their music. “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” should please fans of Greta Van Fleet’s debut album and bring a few more along for the ride, to boot.

Ink rating: 9/10. Essential songs: “The Weight of Dreams,” “My Way, Soon,” “Light My Love,” “Tears of Rain.” For fans of: A classic, ’70s-style rock sound, brought back to life by a crew of young musicians. Online: TheBattleatGardensGate.com.

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