Greta Van Fleet - Black Smoke Rising

Review by Dom Vigil

If you’re longing for some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, but also searching for something new to sink your teeth into, then look no further. Greta Van Fleet’s debut EP, Black Smoke Rising sounds like stepping back in time, but with a youthful energy that keeps things fresh and exciting to listen to. Trying to give this album a simple review is damn near impossible, and to be honest, I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll give it a shot.

Right from the moment that the guitar and vocals his in opening track, “Highway Tune,” you’re bound to be hooked. Vocalist Josh Kiszka’s voice is full of so much soul, grit and passion that it’ll be impossible to ignore. In fact, it’s actually kind of scary how similar he sounds to Robert Plant, and listening to his voice will certainly take you back in time. But that’s not to say that these guys are forcing these sounds - there’s a sense of ease to everything on this EP that is well beyond this young band’s years.

Where “Highway Tune” is a little more young, wild and reckless, the following “Safari Song” slows things down a bit, but without sounding boring by any means. Musically, the band works together flawlessly, and maybe that’s due to the fact that three of the four members are brothers, but at the end of the day, it just comes down to talent. “Safari Song” nicely showcases each member’s abilities, from the ever-moving guitar work and rich bass tones to drum fills that come with a sense of ease and the gritty, timeless vocals. This talent is only showcased further in the following song, “Flower Power,” which is driven primarily by acoustic guitars. Despite this, the song feels just as full and remains just as captivating as the ones that come before it.

The final title track on the EP is simply just the cherry on top. I urge you to just close your eyes and listen to this one, because much like “Safari Song,” each component to the song sounds flawless. On top of that, “Black Smoke Rising” feels like a journey, changing pace and mood with ease, spearheaded by psychedelic instrumentals and massive, soulful vocals. With only four songs, Greta Van Fleet easily prove their versatility while establishing a strong, timeless sound. If I’m being honest, my jaw literally dropped the second that I hit play on this EP, and I haven’t stopped listening since.

Rating: Is it possible to give this more than 5/5?

Listen to "Highway Tune"