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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin CD (album) cover

LED ZEPPELIN

Led Zeppelin

 

Prog Related

3.97 | 612 ratings

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1800iareyay
Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1969, a band risen from the ashes of British Invasion stars The Yardbirds released a self-titled debut. A band that nobody had confidence in would shake the music industry starting with this record. Led Zeppelin wastes no time proving they are a monumental force to be reckoned with. John Bonham takes the prototypical heavy drumming of Carmine Appice and fully develops it into a thunderous pounding. John Paul Jones lays down timeless basslines and is a great arranger. Robert Plant is a revelation and it's a wonder he was not discovered sooner. And of course, ex-Yardbird Jimmy Page immediately places himslef at the top echelon of guitarists with his riffs, solos, and his innovative use of a violin bow of the guitar. I would say that this is the second best debut of all time, following Are You Experienced?

The album takes Delta blues and adds volume and technical wizardry without losing the feel that makes up the core of blues. "Good Time Bad Times" opens the album with a flash as Jimmy and Jones propel themselves over Bonham's crashes. Jimmy's solo was one of the fastest solos ever played at the time. "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" shows that Robert Plant will become one of the greatest vocalists in rock. The dynamics here are perfect, with the Plant warbling over soft acoustic which leads to crashing electric and back several times.

"You Shook Me" is the first Willie Dixon cover on the album. It too shines with Plant's vocals and Page's solo is terrific and bluesy. Then comes the monster that is "Dazed and Confused." This song is driven by one of Jones' best basslines and Page creating some truly eerie sounds using a violin bow. This is the first song to feature the middle break that would appear on later Zep tunes like Whole Lotta Love. The band drops out while Plant makes weird noises that deal with the song (here drugs, sex on WLL). This tune is a Zeppelin standard and a live juggernaut.

"Your Time Is Gonna Come" is the only song I don't love off this album. It's repetitive and doesn't have the emotion or the fire of the rest of the material. "Black Mountain Slide" is a nice little instrumental that hints at later folky explorations on III and IV.

"Communication Breakdown" is poppy, but in a great, catchy kind of way. Pop doesn't mean bad, and that's evident here. Plant's screams will prove so important to metal vocalists later. "I Can't Quit You Baby" is the other Willie Dixon tune and the band shines on it as well. Jones plays some fine organ here, which the band would later to much greater effect on the eerie No Quarter.

The album closes with "How Many More Times" a great bluesy number with a killer bassline. It's the longest track on the album, and it touches on familiar blues motifs and standards.

The main flaw of this album is that most of the material here was written by blues and folk (in the case of Dazed and Confused) artists and the band didn't credit them. This would continue on the next album, but lawsuits would finally ensure that band either wrote their own stuff or credited writers. Nevertheless, this is a kiler album and a very assured debut. This is good old-fashioned hard rock, but it would be pivotal in the development of heavy metal and hard rock in prog. I'll give it four stars, because I admit that I stretch the meaning of excellent addition to any prog collection. I believe that non-prog album like this still had an effect on prog because Led Zeppelin affected every heavy rock band that came after it.

Grade: B-

1800iareyay | 4/5 |

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