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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.94 | 899 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
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2 stars Like all Led Zeppelin albums, Led Zeppelin III is enshrined in the hard rock temple. It shows the original gods of rock kicking ass, churning out smokey blues, and even experimenting with folksy acoustics. However, there's a reason that none of these Zep songs ever get played on the radio: they just aren't that good. LZ III isn't a terrible album, in fact, the fact that the band tries a few new sounds is commendable, but Page and company feel like they're in transition from the raw hard blues of LZ II and the more nuanced and complete sound of LZ IV.

"Immigrant Song" is the de facto killer cut from this record. It smashes in the door and your face with aggressive chugging and banshee wails, but when all is said and done, it's over practically as soon as it starts, and it doesn't give us anything to remember except that one big riff. Very over rated when it comes to the list of top Zep songs. "Friends" shows off a more complex arrangement, using a bouncing acoustic riff with odd rhythms and string backing, probably one of the better songs, but unfortunately it doesn't have any "wow" moments to stick with the listener. The other big cut from this album, "Since I've Been Loving You," is another keeper, but still a mixed bag. Page rocks his guitar solos but Plant's vocals are unexpectedly weak and bland. He sounds like he's trying improv or be soulful, but he's really just exposing how much the band is ripping off American blues.

"Out on the Tiles" is noteworthy only for the up front bass work of Jones, while the largely acoustic songs that follow just don't resonate with me. Again, not exactly bad, just sort of strumming for time. The band sounds good, but it almost feels like they don't really know what to do with these songs. A good example is "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp," a folksy dance song that is basically a pastiche of New Orleans-style jazz. Zeppelin sometimes gets criticized for basically ripping off black blues musicians and I think that this commentary applies strongly to a lot of Led Zeppelin III. Robert Plants' vocals in the finale, "Hats Off To Roy Harper" are actually pretty offensive, despite any actual affection to the band's inspiration. It just doesn't work.

So while LZ III is a nice album to come on occasionally during a classic rock party mix, it's much less fun than the band's other, heavier and more exciting albums.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |


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