1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 44

From the Fires, by Greta Van Fleet
Suggested by Phillip Staines

It’s amazing what a good voice can do for a band. It’s the most quantifiable measure of a band’s success. I say this as a drummer, but it’s an exceptional talent indeed for an instrumental musician to be the necessary lynchpin that anchors a band’s meteoric rise. There are exceptions, and song-writing is also key, but a lead singer is the lens through which success can shine.

There are a few bands of note whose careers exploded when a new voice fronted them at the expense of the old. I’m sure both Paul Di’Anno and Chuck Moseley have their fans, but Iron Maiden and Faith No More without Bruce and Mike? Perish the thought.

Look at Queen. Legendary status, but exactly how successful would they have been without Freddie Mercury, do you think? What about Aerosmith without Steve Tyler? Guns n’ Roses without Axl?

On the subject of Axl Rose…

Josh Kiszka, vocalist of Greta Van Fleet, has a phenomenal voice, and he owes a massive debt to everyone’s favourite ginger rock sociopath. At times, the resemblance is uncanny. At other times, he channels Steven Tyler too, and yet others it’s Brian Johnson of AC/DC. In at least one song, I swear I heard Wyclif Jean.

As well as having a range and a delivery that echoes some of rock’s greats, Josh also displays an assurance that’s borderline arrogant. Every note and phrase hits the bullseye, all playfully delivered by a performer making a mockery of his limited experience. For someone who’s only been around a couple of years, Josh Kiszka makes it look effortless.

Underpinning the vocal we have a hearty meal of expertly uplifting rock, with a cupful of country and a swirl of Jamaican spice. There’s more than a hint of Led Zeppelin here, sold by the corking singing and as assured as the peerless vocals, each song offers so much to fans of the genre. Personally, I can’t get enough of Safari Song, but Highway Tune, Black Smoke Rising… hell, every song bears another listen, and another. I can see From the Fires making my rotation, no question.

I give this album a worthy 9/10, as it’s one of a few thus far to both fuel my desire for nostalgia alongside offering something fresh and new. As you’ve doubtless guessed, I love me a strong vocal performance, sometimes to a fault, and Greta Van Fleet have ticked that box with aplomb.

And three of the band are brothers! Hansen, eat your heart out.

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