Weezer Surprises Fans With Fun Album of Covers

Ultimately, The Teal Album is a fun collection of covers that leads me to believe that Weezer may be back on the right track in time for their upcoming March release.

Weezer is one of the most influential rock acts of the 1990’s. They debuted in 1994 with The Blue Album, which went triple platinum and immediately established them as one of the most interesting and exciting bands in the already stacked 90’s rock scene. Their follow up, 1996’s Pinkerton gained a massive cult following upon release, proclaimed by many as one of the best albums of the era. After the 90’s, however, their record is spotty at best. Just in the last few years, they’ve released 2016’s The White Album, which landed in my end of the year top ten list, and 2017’s Pacific Daydream, which rested quite firmly in that year’s bottom ten.

At their best, Weezer is capable of being both comedic and meaningful all at once. They built on the look and sound of early rock n roll artists like Buddy Holly, while fusing it with the grungy tone and punk attitudes of their contemporaries. Their best work is some of the most genuine and listenable rock n roll ever made, but when they aim for radio hits and try to pull in modern influences, the sound goes South quickly. After the universally poor reception of Pacific Daydream, Weezer seemed to be lacking any real plan for the future. However, after the mega-success of their cover of “Africa,” by Toto, there was renewed demand for more Weezer material, and while The Black Album is slated for release in March, Rivers Cuomo and the boys have also seen fit to tide up over with a surprise release of nothing but covers.

The record opens with “Africa,” which is just excellent. Rivers’ voice hits every high note perfectly and the band is so obviously having a blast covering such a classic tune. The production remains true to the original for good and for bad, as the highest harmony part is far too loud in the mix. Overall, though, it’s a blast and it’s obvious why it was such a hit! Luckily, there are a few more moments on the project that reach the same level of enjoyment.

Tracks like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Take On Me,” excel thanks to Cuomo’s performance once again. He strikes a perfect balance between paying homage to the original melodies and interjecting his own classic sound. More than anything, these tracks are just great choices by the band as they highlight their natural sound quite well.

The same is true for tracks like “No Scrubs,” “Happy Together,” and my personal favorite track, “Mr. Blue Sky.” Here, the vocals are similarly impressive, but this time the band is aloud to shine a bit more, which they do loudly. The tone on the lead guitars are perfectly distorted and the snares snap sharply for a very tight sound. It’s at moments like these when Weezer seems to perfectly juggle the goals of glorifying older songs that they love and bringing something new and exciting to the table.

At other points, however, they fall short. “Paranoid,” and the closer, “Billie Jean,” suffer from the same issue, namely, forgettability. In both cases, there’s virtually no change in instrumentation from the original, and in both cases, Rivers is trying and failing to fill the shoes of iconic vocalists with vastly different voices. Because of this, the tracks are left sounding like weak karaoke performances as apposed to genuine recreations of classics.

Still, they’re better than tracks like the closer, “Stand By Me,” and the worst track on the list, “Sweet Dreams.” Here, the instrumentation seems to be slightly changed in the worst ways possible, with the former being doused in misplaced power chords and the latter just played with less interesting arrangement. The latter is especially egregious as it’s one of the more unique choices on the project and it has been robbed of all the intrigue and experimentation that made the original special. These are the only tracks that are genuinely devoid of fun.

Overall, The Teal Album is a success. Weezer is often hailed as a meme before their time, and in that sense, they seem to have finally realized their full potential. Most of these tracks are extremely well performed and each of them exudes the enjoyment that the band clearly felt in recreating some of their favorite songs.

Ultimately, The Teal Album is a fun collection of covers that leads me to believe that Weezer may be back on the right track in time for their upcoming March release.

5/10

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Bufihimat Drops Technically Excellent If Poorly Paced Debut

I is a brutal slog of an album with plenty for extreme metal fans to appreciate if they’re willing to overlook a few weaknesses.

     Bufihimat is a tech/death metal outfit from Voronezh, Russia. They arrived on the scene in 2015 with a single, “Last Journey Through Pain,” and then fell out of the public eye once again. While the track was fairly well received, whatever momentum they gained was all but lost over the three year hiatus which followed.

   Their sound is brutal, generally falling under the umbrella of “extreme metal,” but their main style is death metal, sporting a low, guttural vocal and heavy instruments. They are also, however, incredibly talented, frequently performing extremely difficult passages at a blistering speed. With the release of their first full length LP, I (One), they’ve officially thrown they’re hat in the mix of the extreme metal world, and they’ve done so quite skillfully.

   First and foremost, the drumming on this record is lightning fast. On tracks like “Thy Flesh Consumed,” or “Last Journey Through Pain,” the blistering speed sets quite a tempo with double kicks, which is then shown to be malleable with excellent fills in nearly every open space. The drums really take front and center on this project, and thanks to talented musicianship, they make good on this status.

   The guitars are also well utilized here. Tracks like “Human Hive” or the opener, “Splited” mix the hellish brutality of the distorted rhythm guitar quite well with the almost video game-esque lead guitar licks. The lead is one of the very few less extreme portions of the mix, and it shines well over the slugging rhythm riffs.

   The vocals, while a bit lacking in variety, are still quite impressive. A track like “Qualia,” just can’t come together without a vocalist like this. His screams are thick and gravelly, yet he has the ability to hold out notes far longer than one would expect. In “Decline of the Fading Suns, he lets out long, brutal screams which are accented by hectic instrumental passages, making this the best track on the album.

   My biggest complaint with the project, however, is the lack of variety. While the closer, “He Saw Himself,” provides something of a change by incorporating an organ and well-performed guitar arpeggios, it comes on the tail end of nearly a half our of ear-piercing distortion and near constant double kicks. While I appreciate the brutality of this record, it seems they may have traded in some of the creative possibilities in an effort to create the loudest, heaviest album possible.

   Even on a track like “Digging the Hole,” which begins with a thinner, higher scream and some heavy grunge influence, we find ourselves right back to the sludging tech death that characterizes the rest of the project. This may be the first time that a runtime under 30 minutes has felt like a slog, and it’s due entirely to poor pacing and strict adherence to form.

   That being said, I did enjoy I. There are certainly shortcomings, but for a debut LP, it’s quite an accomplishment. The instrumentation is extremely technical, the production is far better than one would expect from a lesser known group, and the songwriting shows a lot of promise. It is definitely enough to land Bufihimat on my radar for future releases.

   I is a brutal slog of an album with plenty for extreme metal fans to appreciate if they’re willing to overlook a few weaknesses.

5/10

HEAR I: https://open.spotify.com/album/4QSpHxTrr6Txzhp0LFyBMS

Cult Leader’s Second LP Has a Little Something For Everyone

A Patient Man is a perfectly paced mix of brutal energy and gothic cacophony which stands as a testament to the excellent state of metal music today.

     Cult Leader is a tech/sludge metal band from Salt Lake City, Utah. They formed in 2013 after the break up of the band Gaza, where three of Cult Leader’s four members got their start. They made waves in 2014 with their debut EP, Nothing For Us Here, before following up in 2015 with the Useless Animal EP, was well as their first LP, Lightless Walk. The releases have been fairly successful, building on the success previously achieved by Gaza as well as forging their own identity as a group.

   Cult Leader’s sound is a unique blend of several styles of modern metal music. There’s a heavy dose of sludge metal, particularly in the rattling bass guitar, but there are also hints of thrash, grindcore, and even grunge. Through all of this, the technical skill of the group shines brightly over frequent tempo and time changes. They stand as an excellent example of the many intersecting worlds of metal, a trend that doesn’t stop with their newest release, A Patient Man.

   The record really falls into three parts: a brutally heavy opening section, a tame second act, and an epic, gothic closing chapter. Through this, the LP is absolutely perfectly paced. Longer songs like the title track or “To: Achlys,” spend every second of their time very wisely, developing multiple musical ideas and fleshing out each riff and hook in a really satisfying way. On the other hand, a short track like “Craft of Mourning,” feels fully realized and seems to have been given a fair hearing, despite a runtime under three minutes. It’s just a masterclass in getting the most from your songs without overstaying the welcome.

   The opening portion of the record, comprised of “I Am Healed,” “Curse of Satisfaction,” and “Isolation in the Land of Milk and Honey,” is absolutely blistering. The tempos are fast, the drums are explosive, and the vocals are positively demonic. The guitar, while easily the least impressive component of the group, is used interestingly, mostly serving to build an atmosphere, while the melody and rhythm is pushed along by the drums and vocals. The bass, which is often lacking in tracks like this, is impressively present here as well, though it wouldn’t come to fruition until much later in the runtime. It’s a brutal opening, which sets an excellent tone, only to be broken in the second act.

   Covering only two songs, “To: Achlys,” and “A World of Joy,” the second, slower section of the record lasts about 12 minutes and totally flips the script on what we’ve just heard. The tempos are lower, the vocals and guitars are clean, and tone is far less brutal. Instead, we listen as two gothic slogs slowly unravel into epic finishes. The bass guitar is fantastic hear, rattling out the lower end and left just clean enough to hear every imperfection and slide. These are also the best lyrical moments of the project, especially on the first of the two, which may be my favorite song on the album, which reads like a dark hymn. As exciting as this section itself, however, is the epic return of the distortion and thickness of the opening section.

   Opening with “Craft Our Morning,” and “Share My Pain,” neither of which clear three minutes, Cult Leader wastes no time in ratcheting up the intensity, continuing with the brutal “Aurum Reclusa.” The final two tracks, however, bring the project full circle. The title track, and longest song on the record, is absolutely fantastic. From the howling shouts of “such sweet hell,” to the commanding drum work, to the strangely hopeful finish, this track really sums up the record, especially in it’s wide array of influence and musical idea. The closer, “The Broken Right Hand of God,” nears seven minutes as well, is equally powerful, and is one of the only well produces tracks on the album The guitars create something of a cloud of distortion, from which the drums and particularly guttural vocals burst defiantly, only to be quickly swallowed again. In the end, as the feedback and repetitive riffs trail off, this song feels like a meaningful conclusion to an excellent project.

   A Patient Man certainly isn’t perfect. The production is my biggest complaint, as nearly all of these mixes severely lack texture with every instrument seeming to come from everywhere at the same level. Additionally, a few of the builds on the latter half don’t seem to pay off as they should. These of course, are small issues in an otherwise excellent second outing for Cult Leader.

   A Patient Man is a perfectly paced mix of brutal energy and gothic cacophony which stands as a testament to the excellent state of metal music today.

7/10

HEAR A PATIENT MAN: https://open.spotify.com/album/1OPpVnWDfL3YKmIqxuVRdZ

Tenacious D Expands Their Mythos With New Album and Animated Series

Post-Apocalypto may not win over the uninitiated, but it’s certainly a welcome new chapter for fans of the greatest acoustic metal comedy duo of all time.

     The self-proclaimed greatest band in the world, Tenacious D is an acoustic, comedy metal duo from Los Angeles. The group is comprised of Kyle Gass and Jack Black, and often features guest appearances from the likes of Dave Grohl, Meatloaf, John Spiker, and a multitude of well known actors and actresses lending their star power to music videos and films.

   Tenacious D rose to prominence in the late 1990’s with a short lived, three episode series on HBO, but they became household, or more accurately, dorm room names in 2001 with the release of their self-titled debut LP. The record was a unique mix of stoner humor and absurdism tied together by the pair’s obvious love of the metal genre and production and instrumentation which was far better than it had any business being. Five years later, they released Pick of Destiny as a film and album, which bombed in the box office, but has since developed a massive cult following. In 2012, we were given Rize Of the Fenix, another large success that launched a massive world tour. Six years later, we finally have our forth installment in the Tenacious D catalog, this time in the form of a soundtrack accompaniment to a six episode animated series on YouTube in which Gass plays himself, and Black voices all other characters as well as himself. The project is equal parts absurd and fantastic, resulting in a worthwhile return for the D.

   Firstly, we’ll need to discuss this story, in all of it’s insanity, beat by beat. JB and KG, as they are called throughout the record, begin by witnessing a nuclear holocaust and meeting a two headed dog, which they name Hope. They start traveling across the country and meet a clan of cave women who sleep with them before trying to feed them to the horrifying cave monster, Crackalackadingdong. Hope kills the monster and the three escape, running into a German scientist who lets the band audition for a trip to space station full of famous musicians and beautiful women. The scientist only takes JB, who excepts his offer, but returns to Earth after a heartfelt duet with KG because he misses his bandmate.

   After Jack returns, they are attacked by the father of Crackalackadingdong, Daddy Ding Dong, but they’re saved by a Terminator-esque robot, sent from the future by JB Jr, Jack Black’s son with one of the cave women. JB Jr. instructs his father and KG to retrieve the “Orb of Gilgamesh” from the White House, which is now under the control of a tyrannical Donald Trump Jr. and guarded by large numbers of KKK and Nazi soldiers. Along with the robot, Tenacious D battle their way through the armies and teach Trump Jr. the value of diversity before taking the orb to Egypt on Air Force One to meet JB Jr. in the pyramids.

   When they arrive, they find out that JB Jr. is evil and only wanted to orb to take over the universe. He’s about to kill the D when the tribe of cave women arrive on the Crackalacka Dragon and defeat JB Jr. The album ends with a quick interlude celebrating the fact that the band just saved the world and a reprise of the original title track and opener. A fair amount of story is cut in the transition from web series to album, but the bones remain, and they’re quite well executed.

   The story is told through two means. The first of these are spoken skits, which are definitely the album’s highlight. Bits like “scientists,” and “cave women,” show of Jack Black’s voice acting quite well, sold by his willingness to give his all to virtually any joke. On the other hand, “i’ve got to go,” and “desolation,” play on the stoner dynamic which has always been a staple of the duo’s comedy.

   These are balanced by musical passages which are a bit softer than what we’ve come to expect from Tenacious D, but nonetheless, very enjoyable. Most of these tracks wear their influences on their sleeve. “MAKING LOVE” is an obvious call back to the indulgent, orchestral style of acts like Styx, while “F*CK YO-YO MA” is almost a parody of the classic, musical theatre duet. The “JB JR RAP” near the end is, perhaps, the most impressive moment in the 30-minute runtime, though not the true best song on the album, because Tenacious D shows the ability to dabble in the rap genre without coming across as dated or out of touch.

   The album isn’t perfect. Few of the songs have the sing-along or replay value of some of their early hits, and some of the skits overstay their welcome, but overall, it’s a very listenable record.

   Post-Apocalypto may not win over the uninitiated, but it’s certainly a welcome new chapter for fans of the greatest acoustic metal comedy duo of all time.

6/10

HEAR POST-APOCALYPTO: https://open.spotify.com/album/4O83oaztVuBlPDrp50Q3mh

Daughters is Back After Eight Years With the Best Metal Album of the Year

 You Won’t Get What You Want is an advanced piece of noise metal that is quite nearly perfect, and easily the best metal album of the year, if you’re up for the challenge.

     Daughters is an experimental, industrial metal act from Rhode Island. They’re well known for an absolutely hellish style, disjointed rhythms, wide array of influences, and, until recently, jarringly short tracks. Their 2003 debut LP, Canada Songs, had a runtime of just 11 minutes, with very few songs clearing a minute, which was complimented by the thrashing instrumentals of their early work. This continued on the slightly longer, Hell Songs, in 2007 which also hits hard and fast with a bit more character.

   This all changed, however, with what was meant to be their farewell project, which was self-titled and released in 2010. The record mixed elements of thrash, noise, and experimental metal with a heavy dose of post-punk to create a gothic cacophony of a farewell with a runtime that neared 30 minutes. Having bid the band farewell, their cult following was quite excited to hear news of an upcoming fourth album, and though listeners were quite surprised, they certainly weren’t let down.

   From the opening track, “City Song,” it’s very clear that we are in for something very different. The track feels like being lost in a dark ocean, with a driving bass, jarring snare-shots, and a panicked but hopeless vocal performance by Alexis Marshall. It’s sets a bleak tone, which the rest of the near 50 minute is all too happy to follow relentlessly.

   Energy is high on tracks like “The Reason They Hate Me,” or my personal favorite, “Long Road, No Turns.” Here, the drum work is explosive and the grating electronic leads make a listeners heart race. Daughters is able to use this manic noise rock to build tension in a unique way, not unlike a horror movie. It’s a style that, I would imagine, the vast majority of music listeners simply haven’t heard anywhere else.

   Tracks like “The Flammable Man,” and “The Lords Song,” call back to the earlier days of the group as the only songs to come in under three minutes. Here, we’re treated to a much heavier bleed in from the group’s more traditional punk influences along with the thrash style of released like Canada Songs. The bass guitar is especially brutal here, well mixed, and following a blistering tempo.

   On the other hand, “Satan in the Wait,” and “Ocean Song,” each top seven minutes, and make the most of every second. The former carries a horrific narrative over rhythmic drum and a howling guitar which almost mimics a siren, ending with a hellish chaos of shouting, squealing, and crashing cymbals. The latter is a true post-punk tune, telling what is essentially a horror story  over of the best instrumentals I’ve ever heard. These tracks are so fantastic and the slow burning style of Marshall’s story telling is so listenable that even longtime fans will find themselves wishing that Daughters had always been in the business of long-form, post-punk epics.

   The real shining point of the album, however, is the extremely unique instrumentation. The closer, “Guest House,” features a screeching synth that over scores the howling vocals well. “Less Sex,” is highlighted by a melodic choir part in the chorus, giving the track a distinct blues sound, and “Daughter,” opens with a gloomy piano riff which, though a bit gimmicky, is an interesting hook around which the rest of the tune is built.

   My complaints are slight, leading me to seriously contemplate my second ever perfect score, but, unfortunately, my complaints are present nonetheless. “Daughter,” is easily the weakest piece of the tracklist, held down by an odd organ section in the bridge. In addition, a few of the rhythm changes can be a bit underdeveloped, and the electric guitar, while used well for effect, could do with even a short turn in the spotlight. Aside from this, I must admit that the album lacks severely in replay value, with a tone so bleak and overbearing that, if you don’t find yourself in the mood, the project can simply come off as irritating, although, in fairness, it doesn’t seem that replay value and accessibility were ever goals held by Daughters.

   You Won’t Get What You Want is exactly the kind of album that music critics love. It tests the bounds of what music is and, in doing so, challenges even the most experienced music listener to make heads or tails of such a difficult piece of art. This album uses it’s smothering, gothic tone to tell interesting stories and create something that just doesn’t exist elsewhere in the music world, carrying all the lushness of a big budget rock album, but trading in the sweetness for horrific electronic tones and constant dissonance.

   You Won’t Get What You Want is an advanced piece of noise metal that is quite nearly perfect, and easily the best metal album of the year, if you’re up for the challenge.

9/10

HEAR YOU WON’T GET WHAT YOU WANThttps://open.spotify.com/album/7w7ZTlk8YLc0OxviTp97qA

Elvis Costello Drops Yet Another Excellent LP

Look Now is a fun listen, and yet another project from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

     Elvis Costello is a new wave/pub-rock artist from the UK. He is nothing short of an icon of popular music and one of the most respected writers of all time, despite having only one platinum certification and not a single number one album over his four decade career. While he hasn’t had the kind of commercial success one would expect from legend, you’ll be hard pressed to find an influential artist, post-1970 who isn’t a fan.

   His sound is hard to nail down as, over his long career, Costello tried his hand and multiple writing and instrumental styles. However, there is a general punk slant to much of what he’s done, as well as an affinity for the orchestral composition of new wave. He’s also flirted with jazz influences, recently working with The Roots on his 2013 release, Wise Up Ghost. Most of all, his lyricism is unique, poetic, and above all, powerful. Most fans agree that his massive discography is simply devoid of weakness. Because of this, I was over the moon to hear of Look Now’s release, and for good reason.

   Costello’s vocal, though aging, is quite effective on this album. Slower selections like my personal favorite, “Don’t Look Now,” are obvious examples of this, but he also keeps up well on tracks with beefier instrumentals, such as “Burnt Sugar is So Bitter,” or “Unwanted Number.”

   In addition, his lyricism hasn’t lost a beat. “Under Lime” tells a unique story dealing in sexuality and relationships, while “Photographs Can Lie,” is a beautifully written tale of love gone bad. On this LP, Elvis writes about life with the voice of a man who’s lived it, seeing new angles to old stories, and showing a wonderful understanding of love, change, and time.

   All of this, however, pales in comparison to the real highlight of Look Now, the excellent instrumentation. Elvis’ most recognizable musical partners, The Imposters, join him on this project to incredible effect. The bass guitar is active on tracks like “Mr. & Mrs. Hush,” or “I Let the Sun Go Down,” pushing the tracks along while providing a playful depth to each of them.

   The drums set a danceable groove on track after track. The rimshots on “Why Won’t Heaven Help Me,” are the highlight of the verses, while the open high-hat on “Under Lime,” moves the song to a perfect tempo. The rest of the album sees the drums take a more laid back, but equally important back seat, with an especially impressive ear for cymbal accents.

   Beyond the basic band instrumentation, this album’s palette is quite broad. The choirs on “Suspect My Tears,” and “Under Lime,” are fantastic, while the keys on intimate pieces like the beautiful “Stripping Paper,” or the closer, “He’s Given Me Things,” are simple and perfect. This record also features some excellent horn and string parts that build an orchestral sound and leave listeners wondering excitedly what they might hear next.

   There are very few complaints to make here. There are a few pacing issues, with most every track landing somewhere between three and four minutes and following a similar form. Costello’s voice can be a bit much at times, showing age by wavering on longer notes and in the higher reaches of his range.

   Aside from these small issues, Look Now is an exciting addition to Costello’s massive catalog. The mastery of form and helming of such a broad palette is the kind of skill which only comes from the kind of long, storied career this man has under his belt.

   Look Now is a fun listen, and yet another project from one of the greatest musicians of all time.

8/10

HEAR LOOK NOW: https://open.spotify.com/album/7dvbHsQbTs5RqE9iRgXHCC

Greta Van Fleet Releases Explosive First LP, Despite Production Issues

Greta Van Fleet still has a lot of room to grow, but this album leaves me excited to take that journey with them.

     Greta Van Fleet is neo-classic rock group based in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The group has achieved massive success since the release of their debut EP, Black Smoke Rising in the summer of 2017 and the follow up, From the Fires a few months later. The latter was certified gold and peaked in the top 40 on billboard, reaching number one in their hard rock classification.

   Their sound is often compared to that of Led Zeppelin, an observation which gains the bulk of its credibility from from frontman, Josh Kiszka’s high pitched vocal with which he wails over virtually every track. Beyond this, the instrumental work, particularly Jake Kiszka’s guitar, is evocative of the indulgent style of rock’s golden age in the early to mid-1970’s. Greta Van Fleet have continually dispelled the direct comparisons to Zeppelin in many interviews, and it’s become something of a hot topic in online circles. Personally, the similarities are far to obvious to be missed, but it’s never bothered me or effected my enjoyment of the band’s work, which I’ve found to be some of the best in modern rock music over the past few years. That being said, this LP had it’s work cut out, as it was tasked with exploring new sonic landscapes without losing the group’s classic style. It’s a difficult juggling act, but I must say, Anthem of the Peaceful Army performs it quite well.

   The Greta we know and love is hear in full force, particularly on tracks like “The Cold Wind,” or the lead single, “When the Curtains Fall.” Here, we’re treated to well toned guitar work, rock beats, and pure rock vocals. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and in every way it’s classic, which is everything we’ve come to love and expect from the group.

   There are also consistent improvements, however. Sam Kiszka’s bass work, which has been lacking up to this point, is excellent on “The New Day,” and “You’re the One.” In addition, Danny Wagner’s drums on tracks like “Mountain of the Sun,” are vastly better on this project, retaining the basic rock beats of From the Fires, but adorning them with well placed fills and crashes.

   And, of course, Josh and Jake Kiszka’s contributions on vocals and guitar respectively are fantastic, as expected. A tracks like “Lover, Leaver,” and “Brave New World,” just couldn’t be accomplished by many bands in the current rock scene, but Josh and Jake muscle them to excellence through catchy hooks and soaring vocals, both of which can be found on nearly every second of the forty minute runtime.

   The best addition to Greta’s arsenal, overall, are the dark and atmospheric tracks like “Watching Over,” and the opener, “Age of Man.” The latter works in a bit of orchestration and the latter uses an almost minimalist approach and an excellent guitar solo, but each achieve a more nocturnal feel than was ever possible on the band’s earlier hits. The best example of this comes in the closer, “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer),” the longest track on the record and my personal favorite, which dances between droning guitars, minimal interludes, and explosive screams to carry all of its six minutes. This is an obvious moment of growth for Greta, and as such a young band thrown into such a bright spotlight, the willingness to branch out is commendable, as well as sonically enjoyable.

   On the other hand, there was a surprising amount of acoustic guitar on this record, which doesn’t always work to the band’s favor. “The New Day” utilizes this quite well, but tracks like “Anthem” and my least favorite entry, “You’re the One,” which also suffers from poor lyricism and, my biggest complaint with this record as a whole, boring production.

   The production team at Republic records seems to have missed a large portion of what makes Greta Van Fleet the group they are, and because of this, this album suffers from multiple missed opportunities. This band has the opportunity to build a lush, maximalist sound, and instead, it sounds like for, albeit talented, musicians performing together. One of the best elements of the indulgent, stadium rock of the 70’s was hearing lead riffs, drum fills, and vocal hooks seem to peak above a powerful wave of sound for only a moment. This is a missed opportunity which I hope will be corrected in later projects.

   Anthem of the Peaceful Army is a blast to listen to. Its made to be played very loud and harken to a much earlier, prouder time in rock’s history, and yet it delivers substance along with its aesthetic. Every aspect of the band’s sound has improved and, despite a few lyrical and production missteps along the way, they’ve crafted an extremely enjoyable LP.

   Greta Van Fleet still has a lot of room to grow, but this album leaves me excited to take that journey with them.

7/10

HEAR ANTHEM OF THE PEACEFUL ARMYhttps://open.spotify.com/album/7zeCZY6rQRufc8IHGKyXGX