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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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4.39 | 1112 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars A voice of reason.

Sure, we all know the songs well enough. Chances are if you have any exposure to music in the last oh, 35 years, you are familiar with Led Zeppelin's music and specifically this record, for Black Dog and Stairway to Heaven. I've always felt that Plant's vocal work was the best aspect of the band, with his exuberance and stage presence, he was/is the defining lead man of the modern era.

Before we discuss the main two tracks, it's important to note that this record is extremely uneven. We more or less have a hodge podge of marginal songs and an extreme overpraising of a rather average set of musicians (compared to most of the rest of prog). For example, Jimmy Page is well known for being one of the sloppiest guitarists in a live setting. However, I do find some of his compositions unique, although that would mostly be on the Houses of the Holy album.

Black Dog is the most praised non-prog song you will find on this site. It's a powerful blues/rock riff with what I consider easily Plant's best vocal performance. I also prefer it over anything else on the album, yes, even the beloved Stairway.

Stairway is a song that I suppose I'll never understand the attachment to. That's what it has become now anyways, an attachment to 70's culture. Me being born in the 80's will never understand this perhaps (although I have no attachment to pop culture of the 80's, 90's or now). I've never understood the praise to this otherwise average song with about 1 minute of powerful music. Yes, it's average. It's mildly progressive, the repetitive acoustic arpeggios string on for too long (the acoustic chords that come in later are much better), and the vocal style of the song doesn't fit Plant's overall style. Think Jon Anderson singing lyrics that would actually make sense (it just doesn't work).

I'm more of a prog guy myself. I'll take Starless over Stairway every day of the week. I believe those that are are on the more commercial and traditional side of prog are more in favor of this record than those on the more extreme and radical ends of prog, although my opinion could be completely incorrect. All in all, I feel Zep IV, while certainly being influential to many rock bands, isn't the bright shiny diamond everyone proclaims it to be.

OpethGuitarist | 2/5 |


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