Most people who read this website probably already hate it Greta Van Fleet. They have been the laughing stock of music fans looking beyond the Top 40 since their breakthrough in 2017, even more since releasing their 2018 debut album (which has now been notoriously ransacked by Pitchfork), and more. since they played on Saturday Night Live last weekend. (They are no longer just a punchline for shamelessly mimicking Led Zeppelin, but also for resembling Frodo!)
If you already hate Greta Van Fleet, you probably don’t need a list like this. You already know that Robert Plant’s imitation of Frodo (sorry, Josh Kiszka) is less subtle than Pabst Blue Robot. You already know they don’t have the self-awareness and sense of humor of a classic revival rock band like The Darkness, or the ability to give their 70s rock riffs a modern twist like Arctic. Monkeys or Jack White. You are probably stunned by their popularity and wondering who might like that? People who have it never heard Led Zeppelin? Those who like Led Zeppelin so many that more music like this is all they want no matter how lifeless they are?
The only thing I see over and over again is the feeling that at least they are “playing their own instruments” and at least “actually a rock band”, one of the few who have it. still do today. Even without getting into the obvious, ignorant, callous, disco-suck-style nuances of these comments (and the nuances of racism, sexism, and / or homophobia that accompany them), this is simply not true. There are plenty of modern day artists offering the flashy riff and screaming vocals of classic hard rock, and doing it in a more inventive, unique and moving way than Greta Van Fleet. All you have to do is watch a little more difficult to find them. For just a small sample, here is a list of 10 modern hard rock bands that are better than Greta Van Fleet.
Elder is from the Boston area and they’ve been releasing albums for just over a decade, and they continue to grow with each new album. Their last is from 2017 Reflections of a floating world, and they’re gearing up to release a new one in 2019. Led Zeppelin is a comparison that gets talked about often, but it doesn’t end there. They also sound like Deep Purple, UFO, Armageddon, Budgie and a handful of other hard rock and progressive rock bands from this era. The previous albums were slightly heavier, but Reflections of a floating world dug deeper into the prog side of Elder, with atmospheric passages Pink Floyd fans could dig and an arsenal of riffs that expertly tapped into the fast fretwork of the guys you see at the top of Rolling stoneList of the 100 greatest guitarists. If you’re in the mood for guitar solos, Elder comes with a surplus.
Heron Oblivion is a sort of supergroup, led by Meg Baird (also from Espers, a solo artist, and more), and comprising members of Comets On Fire, Assemble Head in Suburst Sound and Howlin ‘Rain. Their self-titled debut studio album (and so far only) was released in 2016 on Sub Pop, and like all of your favorite classic rock bands, they have a live album too. (They continue to do concerts and will have some soon.) Meg Baird is a true howler, the kind of singer who not only takes inspiration from rock from the hippie era, but rivals the greats of that era. She has a rising voice reminiscent of Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane or Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention (which the latter – if you’re curious – Greta Van Fleet has covered, probably thanks to Zeppelin’s duet with Sandy Denny), but she never rings. exactly as one of those iconic singers. She has a huge personality and makes these songs completely her own. And his band mates tear up heavy wah riffs and solos that feel transported straight from the original Woodstock, with the same level of sincerity (and conducive to hallucinogens and liquid light plays) as their ancestors.
JASON ISBELL AND UNIT 400
Okay, not all of Jason Isbell’s songs qualify as hard rock, but neither are all of Led Zeppelin’s, and Isbell has enough in common with the guitar sounds of Classic Rock Radio to make it on this list, especially on his latest album with Unity 400, 2017 Nashville Strait. It’s clearer on “Anxiety”, which is accompanied by a heavy riff that looks like a modern update to The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, but it’s also clear on “Cumberland Gap. “, a catchy rocker that fans of the late Tom Petty need in their lives. Isbell has a bit of country in him, as do Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, CCR and many other bands who have tried their hand or defined hard rock. And Isbell is another guy where live albums are crucial. Listen to the solo on “Decoration Day” by Live from Alabama if you think there are not enough guitar heroes today.
Ty Segall is one of the most prolific rock musicians around, and he touches on all kinds of rock subgenres, but if you want to hear him in a screaming, shredding band, look no further than Fuzz. They have two albums (2013 Down and 2015 Fuzz II) and they’re carved out of the fabric of bands like Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Iron Butterfly, Hendrix, Cream and others, uh down– drenched bands from the late ’60s and early’ 70s. And if Fuzz ever sounds like Zeppelin, like when the opening of “Rat Race” sounds like “The Ocean” for a few seconds, they quickly switch to a other territory. Ty has an evil, sneering delivery that will make you think of the leather jackets and long hairstyles of the original hard rock era, and Fuzz’s guitar work is relentless. They’re a bit louder than the more popular hard rock bands, but no guitar nerd can deny how fiery their solos are. Like the one arriving around 3:30 p.m. here:
Richmond’s Windhand has four albums, all of which are worth hearing, but if you’re unfamiliar with you might want to start with the most recent one, 2018 is awesome. Eternal return. The riffs are reminiscent of Zeppelin rivals and collaborators Black Sabbath, however – especially on newer stuff – Dorthia Cottrell’s choruses earlier echo Alice In Chains and Soundgarden, and these bands land on the same top hard rock list as the classics at this stage anyway. Also, there aren’t many bands bringing together heavy 70s riffs and 90s grunge in the same way Windhand does. They also have a heavy dose of psychedelia and a knack for folk songs that can sound like anything from Jethro Tull ballads to Nirvana Unplugged.
ACID UNCLE & DEADBEATS
The elevator pitch for Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats when they emerged at the start of this decade was âJohn Lennon singing for Black Sabbathâ. Five albums (the last being that of 2018 Wasteland), it still is and it still gives a good idea of ââwhether or not you will like this band. Lots of bands channel Sabbath and many channel The Beatles, but you rarely hear them combined like this. Imagine Oasis or Tame Impala but 20x heavier, without ever getting so heavy that only metalheads would like it. Like the Fuzz mentioned above, they have a garage rock side to them, but nothing a White Stripes fan can handle. If you’re looking for an easy entry point, try the super eye-catching “Bedouin”.
Alright, Jethro Tull fans, this one’s for you. Toronto’s blood ceremony has been around for about a decade, and yes, they do have a Pied Piper, so comparisons to Tull are inevitable. But the sound of Blood Ceremony doesn’t start and end with Tull. Singer / flutist / organist Alia O’Brien has a serious to yell, and she’s more Shirley Manson than Ian Anderson. Similar to the Elder mentioned above, Blood Ceremony started out heavier and darker (they’re called “Blood Ceremony” after all), but their latest album – 2016 Lord of disorder – goes far beyond that. “Lorely” and “Flower Phantoms” have an almost British Invasion style, “Half Moon Street” is a twangy blues rocker, and “Things Present, Things Past” is the symbolic acoustic rock ballad, while “Old Fires” has the kind of headbanging guitar work that those looking to pull out the Led can rock out.
Finnish band Hexvessel has been mixing psychedelic rock, progressive rock, folk rock and more since the start of the current decade, and they are set to release their fourth album. The whole tree on February 15 via Prophecy / Century Media. The singles released so far are more on the folk rock side, but they’ve also proven they have a knack for the harder stuff in the past. 2016 When we are death opens with the “Transparent Eyeball” in charge, a rocker with a larger than life chorus that begs to be played on radio stations that still play rock. “When I’m Dead” from that same album is full of all the twisted guitar feats you could ask for. And if you’re into classic rock mysticism and hippie culture, you’ll be happy to hear that Hexvessel features songs called “Teeth of the Mountain”, “Drugged Up On The Universe” and “Mushroom Spirit Doors”. Take that, “Mountain of the Sun”!
A true classic hard rock band needs a guitar hero to worship, and if there is a modern guitarist worth kneeling down and shouting “we are not worthy!” Because, it’s Marissa Paternoster. His guitar solos for his band Screaming Females have been as flashy and heroic and melting as it gets throughout their career, and the band sounds tighter and more muscular with every release (the latest is from 2018. All at once). Screaming Females are more of a punk band than the others on this list, but they extend their wings way beyond punk too. Marissa’s solos are as classic rock as it gets, some of her riffs are really devil horn-worthy (like “Agnes Martin” on the new album), and her bellowing voice is big enough to fill the stadiums. This is how you create a completely fresh classic rock sound.
Black Mountain got the Pitchfork Seal of Approval almost 14 years before Greta Van Fleet was trashed, so maybe it’s a little too obvious to include this group, but 1) they still haven’t fully the popularity they deserve, and 2) they continue to improve. Their latest album, 2016’s IV, is one of their best, and they seem to be teasing a new album, so 2019 just might be the perfect year to put Black Mountain on SNL and show them how it’s done. They don’t hesitate to show their Zeppelin influence (they’re called Black Mountain, their latest album is called IV, and the first song on this album kinda rhymes with “foolin ‘” with “school”), but if a band knows how to get Led out in a modern way, it’s this band. They’ve got towering, page-worthy riffs, belted vocal harmonies, folk rock journeys, space rock excursions, and more ’70s signifiers, but they do it in a way that still sounds firmly rooted in the 21st. century. They’ve got the chops, the passion, and the super catchy choruses. They’re proof that you can bring the 1970s into the 2010s without looking like a gimmick.