“The Battle at Garden’s Gate” is the second studio album by Greta Van Fleet released on April 16, 2021. Greta Van Fleet stepped into the rock scene in 2012 and the band is made up of the Kiszka brothers – Josh, Jake and Sam – and Danny Wagner.
While there is a lot of controversy around Greta Van Fleet and people often refer to them as completely ripping off Led Zeppelin, some things need to be set straight. No one will ever be Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin paved the way to inspire future musicians and Greta Van Fleet has found their niche in similar sounds and vocal ranges.
Despite 10 studio albums from Led Zeppelin, they never won a Grammy while Greta Van Fleet won 3 Grammys for rock album, new artist and rock performance while only having produced one album at the time. Not to mention that “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” was featured in multiple “Most Anticipated Albums of 2021” lists from Rolling Stone, Vulture and Ultimate Classic Rock.
“The Battle at Garden’s Gate” is full of catchy songs featuring punchy riffs that complement Josh’s high vocal range. The first song “Heat Above” starts off with a melodic organ coupled with a crescendo of drums until the guitar riff hits and you can’t help but sway along with the melody. The chorus of this song is catchy and Josh Kiszka does a wonderful job showing that he is not afraid to wail and show his vocals.
Next up are “My Way, Soon” followed by “Broken Bells.” On “My Way, Soon” Greta Van Fleet reminds everyone that they excel in highway rock and roll songs. This song features lyrics that complement this genre such as “I’ve packed my bags, and I’ve got my freedom. I’ve sacked the rules so I don’t have to heed them.” Meanwhile, “Broken Bells” takes a step back and shows listeners that even though the highway is fun, you’ve got to take a pit stop every now and then. “Broken Bells” is a slower, but steady song off the album with spacey lyrics about dreams and a psychedelic guitar solo.
“Age of Machine” starts off with a heavy guitar riff that immediately caught my attention only to have distant vocals of Josh fade in before the actual song starts. The band creates a middle ground between highway rock and classic rock from the ’70s and ’80s.
Coming in hot is “Stardust Chords” which is the closest to Led Zeppelin that Greta Van Fleet has sounded to me. The guitar riff, melody and vocals, in the beginning, are almost reminiscent of Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Other than that, this is one of my personal favorite songs on the album and it captures all the aspects of music that Greta Van Fleet does well from nasty guitar riffs, beautiful vocals and, of course, that highway rock feel.
“Light My Love” is different from the typical Greta Van Fleet that most know them for, but nonetheless they were able to craft this ballad. “Light My Love” features piano solos and softer vocals from Josh that still show off his wailing and vocal range while giving the audience a sing-a-long, lighters in the sky song.
“Caravel” and “The Barbarians” are standout songs in the album as well and feature heavy guitar on both tracks, while “The Barbarians” starts out with a reverbing solo that transitions to airy melodies.
What Greta Van Fleet lacks in lyricism and the deeper meaning of songs they make up for in their sound. They create a modern sound in rock music that has deeper roots and ties to bands like Led Zeppelin. Greta Van Fleet is not and will not be Led Zeppelin, but they are simultaneously creating a name for themselves and managing to get more listeners interested in rock and roll.
The album ranks 8/10 for me and I think the members of Led Zeppelin have a “Whole Lotta Love” that their work and impact on rock ‘n roll is not forgotten about.