GRETA VAN FLEET ANNOUNCES SOPHOMORE ALBUM, “THE BATTLE AT GARDEN’S GATE”

Brand New Single, “Age of Machine,” Is Released Today

After three years, one-million concert tickets sold across five continents, four consecutive #1 singles, a GRAMMY Award, and performances on “The Tonight Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” GRETA VAN FLEET is hurtling into the future with its second album, The Battle at Garden’s Gate due April 16, 2021 (Lava/Republic Records).  The album can be pre-ordered HERE.

A bold evolution from the band’s 2018 full-length debut Anthem of the Peaceful ArmyThe Battle At Garden’s Gate came together primarily on the road or while in the studio after the runaway success of 2017’s “Highway Tune” led to the band packing up, leaving home, and eagerly soaking up new experiences on an extended road trip around the world. Over the past three years, Greta Van Fleet – vocalist Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kiszka, bassist Sam Kiszka, and drummer Danny Wagner – played to hundreds of thousands of people across North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, South America, New Zealand, and the UK.  While driving to gigs, the first-time world travelers passed many unfamiliar sights, from the favelas in Sao Paulo to the Gold Coast of Australia and everywhere in between, meeting and enjoying conversations with fans and other musicians that opened up new worlds to them.  

To cap off the change-filled era, the quartet moved from Michigan to Nashville, immersing themselves in Music City’s rich history.  The melding of all these experiences opened their eyes to amazing new worlds of culture, history, philosophy and spirituality – and ushered in an entirely new way of looking at life and the approach to their music.  Accordingly, Greta Van Fleet poured everything they experienced into these new songs – the music reflects their spiritual and intellectual growth, increased awareness of the inequalities plaguing the modern world, and deep empathy for what other people are going through.   

“We realized that while growing up, we had been shielded by many things, and we were unaware of a lot of things,” says drummer Danny Wagner.  “And then we were thrown out into this huge world, and it was a bit of a culture shock at first.  But as we started to travel a lot, meet new and different people and experience different cultures, our definition of ‘normal’ changed.” 

“I suppose that everything has changed except what got us here in the first place,” adds bassist Sam Kiszka.  “Everything – our perception of the world, perception of life itself, what it means to be an artist, what it means to be part of a beautiful, gorgeous society.  We’ve gained a larger understanding of why we’re all here.”

Greta Van Fleet L-R:  Jake Kiszka, Josh Kiszka, Sam Kiszka, Danny Wagner
Photo Credit:  Alyssa Gafkjen

In general, the album’s arrangements are spacious and leisurely, giving the music pleasing dynamics, as the band touches on all manners of rock ‘n’ roll.  The Battle at Garden’s Gate is cinematic, capturing the breathtaking energy of an exciting fight scene or the smoldering passion of a brooding, heroic protagonist saving the day.  The new music also illustrates that the members of Greta Van Fleet are paving the way for a new generation of musicians – ones that use rock ‘n’ roll’s foundational elements to build an entirely new sonic blueprint. 

Sonically, The Battle at Garden’s Gate also feels bracingly modern, an embodiment of genre-blended musical freedom.  Recorded in Los Angeles with Greg Kurstin (Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney), the album is ambitious and expansive, marked by epic journeys such as the second single, “Age of Machine,” released today (check it out HERE), and the Top 5 rock hit “My Way, Soon,” which boasts a towering chorus hook and rip-it-up-and-start-again lyrics.

Josh explains, “It’s very dynamic, lyrically speaking.  And that’s the human experience.  It’s much more than pain or fear; it’s also beauty.  People need people, and love is important.”  Lyrically, The Battle at Garden’s Gate muses about the influence of technology on modern life; the role conflict plays in the global sphere; the deceptive fulfillment of tangible riches; and philosophical questions about life, love and power. 

“There was a lot of self-evolution happening during the writing of this album that was prompted by experiences I had, experiences we all had, so a lot of contemplation occurred,” Josh says, while Jake adds, “It’s reflecting a lot of the world that we’ve seen, and I think that it’s reflecting a lot of personal truth.  What Josh does very well with the lyrics is telling ancient tales with a contemporary application.” 

For Josh, working with Kurstin provided the confidence he needed to push his songwriting into these vivid dimensions.  “I’m always a little bit hesitant about my abilities as an artist; I think a lot of artists feel that way,” he says.  “But Greg hovering over me while I’m on the piano, taking an interest in what I was doing – that was really important for me.” 

That added confidence is obvious.  Josh sounds commanding on each song, stretching his already-acrobatic voice to newer heights, while the instrumentalists fearlessly push themselves into new territory.  Easy going organ and acoustic folk-rock riffs drive one song, while another ends in a torrent of guitar noise that rivals Neil Young’s onstage guitar freakouts with Crazy Horse.  “For all of us, the performances – and the aspects of them that are captured – preserve where we’re at musically in time right now,” Jake says.  

The future is unwritten, and the sky’s the limit for these curious travelers and truth-seekers. Josh says, “certainly after this, we’ve grown in so many ways.  This album has taught us a lot, about life in general, about ourselves, about all of us, about the world we live in.”

Concert Review: “IMatter Fest and The Gate Presents” Phinehas, My Heart to Fear, Alive in the Dark, Praxia, Take Two

“IMatter Fest and The Gate Presents”
Phinehas, My Heart to Fear, Alive in the Dark, Praxia, Take Two
Date: Saturday, August 24th 2013
Venue: The Gate, Horseheads, NY

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Red Chord Records artist Phinehas brought their 2013 summer tour to The Gate located in the upstate NY town of Horseheads, NY on August 24th. The group who hails from Los Angeles is currently out on tour in support of their newest EP release titled “The Bridge Between”. Though the crowd on hand was of the smaller size all the bands who performed that evening gave their all in an effort to put on a great performance.

Take Two would hit the stage first and though the group experienced a few technical difficulties not of their own doing the local 5 piece punk/rock band forged through like professionals and did what all good openers do by priming the crowd for what was to come later in the night. Praxia another local band from the area would follow with their own unique style of metal core which definitely kicked things up a notch. Advent recording artists Alive in the Dark were up next and started off their set as though they were shot out of a cannon. The band certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves especially drummer Michael Guevarez who donned a creepy yet entertaining unicorn mask for a portion of the set.

Next up were Solid State Records artist My Heart to Fear. The band hails from Williamsport, PA an area probably best known for its baseball history however over the last few years have become a breeding ground for up and coming metal-core acts. Vocalist Trevor Pool worked the crowd in between songs which helped keep the excitement going and even though the bands tour van broke down between shows none of the members let that affect their performance which garnered a great response from the crowd.

Closing out the night were tour headliners Phinehas who put on a stellar performance from start to finish.
Each of the bands four members really put everything they had into the extended set which whipped the crowd in to several good sized circle pits. Guitarist Jason Combs and bassist Bryce Kelley made great use of the stage as they bounced and spun back and forth while delivering the bands crushing material. Drummer Lee Humerian was a show in his self dazzling the crowd with a bevy of stick twirling tricks while vocalist Sean McCulloch put the icing on the cake with his shredding vocals and commandeering stage presence.

I really have to give it to the people who handle The Gate. Not only do they provide a safe and fun environment to play and listen to music but they seem to be the only ones in the area that are doing anything for music fans and performers. Without their dedication to the art of music younger bands and listeners would have little to no chance to perform or experience some of the great music that is out there. Definitely keep up the good work!

Blu-ray Review “At the Gate of the Ghost”

Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Run Time: 107 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of Japanese films that you will know about “Rashomon”. This adapation of that the film really delivers a visual treat. It is also packs a great cast including Ananda Everingham (“Legend of the Tsunami Warrior”), Mario Maurer (“The Love of Siam”), Chermarn Bonnyasak (“The Love of Siam”), Mum Jokmok (“Ong Bak” Franchise, “The Protector”) and Dom Hetrakul (“Bangkok Dangerous”). The story is well paced and the action is mouth dropping. I would highly recommend checking out this film if you are a fan of the genre.

Official Premise: In this adaptation of the Japanese film Rashomon, a young monk leaves town to seek his father’s counsel after being disturbed by the murder trial testimony of the bandit Singh Khan, the wife of the deceased warlord, and a shaman who conjures up the warlord’s spirit. Along the way, he encounters a poor man who testified at the trial, and the two take refuge in an abandoned burial tunnel during a storm. They are met by an old beggar who joins in their lively conversation about the trial. In vivid detail, each story is witnessed on screen as it’s told from the bandit’s, the wife’s and the warlord’s perspectives, all riddled with bias and personal agenda. In the end, the young monk is left to determine what meaning is of true consequence not only in this murder trial, but in choosing to continue on his monastic path.

The Blu-ray presentation is great. The 1080p transfer is very impressive. The colors really pop out and looks very sharp. The action in the film is so well choreographed. The audio option included a Thai DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which really works with the charm of the film and compliments the action sequels very well. The special features are ok but nothing amazing. They include a brief “The Making of a Legendary Story”, “Behind the Scenes” featurette and an International trailer as well.

3D Blu-ray Review “Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D”

Actors: Jet Li, Kun Chen
Directors: Hark Tsui
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Indomina
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Run Time: 122 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 3D” is a re-imagining of 1992’s “New Dragon Gate Inn”. It is a real kick-ass action film, which gives Jet Li a chance to shine. After seeing “The Expendables 2”, his role was so trivial and  I was dying for some real Jet Li action. If that isn’t cool enough this is directed by Tsui Hark. who has directed some of my favorite films like “Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain” and the “Once Upon a Time in China” series, also starring Jet Li. The film was shot entirely in 3D and really looks amazing, thanks to Chuck Comisky, the visual-effects supervisor for James Cameron’s “Avatar”. Highly recommended for all fans of Li or action in general.

Official Synopsis: Three years after the disappearance of the enigmatic innkeeper Jade and the massive fire that consumed the Inn, a new Dragon Inn has risen from the ashes, staffed by a band of marauders. Masquerading as law-abiding citizens by day, they use the cover of night to continue their true calling as fortune hunters. For legend says that the Dragon Inn is the site of a lost city buried in the desert – and a treasure that spans dynasties hidden deep within. As they await a storm strong enough to unearth the hidden fortress, they are surprised by the arrival of a pregnant concubine and her mysterious protector, Ling. They have come seeking the sanctuary of the Inn – as two factions from the Imperial City close in on them to claim her unborn child. Leading the Imperial Assassins is the merciless Eunuch, Yu who hopes to reclaim the Emperor’s child before she can fall into the hands of the righteous General Zhao.

The 1080p transfer is extremely impressive within its 2.39:1 aspect ratio.  Besides the 3D action, which is amazing, Cinematographer Choi Sung-fai delivers some beautiful colored landscapes, which real pop. This also goes the same for the 2D version of the film, I just prefer and recommend watching it in 3D. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track is perfect but only its original Mandarin language.  The English track is unbearable to listen to and turns the film into a comedy with the voice overs.  The only problem is that I am not a big fan of reading subtitles in 3D but it is really the only way to watch it.

The special features are found on the standard 2D Blu-ray disc and are good but they are also only in SD.  Firstly, there is a two part “Making of Flying Swords of Dragon Gate”, which both together runs about 15 minutes.  There is a look into some of the film’s production but looks like it was shot on a cell phone.  There is about 20 minutes of interviews with the film’s cast and filmmakers.  There is another 30 minutes feature looking behind-the-scenes, which includes some good detail but has some sound issues.  Lastly there is a trailer included for the film.

CD Review: Anubis Gate “Anubis Gate”

Anubis Gate
“Anubis Gate”
Nightmare Records
Producers: Kim Olesen and Jacob Hansen
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

“Anubis Gate” produced by band members Kim Olesen and Jacob Hansen is Anubis Gate’s 3rd full length album and is the follow up to the bands 2009 release titled “The Detached”. This is the bands first release on Nightmare Records and the album features a blend of synth infused progressive metal similar to that of King Crimson or Savatage.

When I have the chance to listen to a new band for the first time I try to be as open and non-judgmental as possible. I really do applaud every musician that has the courage to get out there and make music. Anubis Gate’s self titled album did provide me with one or two high points. The guitars on the album all have a very good recorded tone and despite being in my opinion over layered they still stood out on their own. As a whole I was not a fan of the album but as I always say these are my opinions and mine only. If you are a fan of Anubis Gate and have been waiting since 2009 for this album I am sure it will fill all your Anubis Gate needs. The album to me just felt dated and lacked drive.

I found it very hard to connect with the album or a find a sense of unity amongst the tracks. The instrumentation was nothing out of the ordinary and at times was too over produced and layered. The vocals I felt had a touch to much echo making the album sound like I was listening to it in a cave or echo chamber.

 

Track Listing:

1.)    Hold Back Tomorrow

2.)    The Re-Formation Show

3.)    Facing Dawn

4.)    World in a Dome

5.)    Desiderio Omnibus

6.)    Oh My Precious Life

7.)    Golden Days

8.)    Telltale Eyes

9.)    River

10.)  Circumstanced

 

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