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Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.91 | 868 ratings

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3 stars After the brilliance of their fourth album Led Zeppelin had a lot to live up to. Its release was delayed until March 1973 due to problems with the sleeve. As IV had been released in 1971 by the standards of the time this was quite a large gap between albums and unfortunately although it has some great moments, overall Houses of the Holy was somewhat of a disappointment. This however did not stop it selling by the bucket load. The band were now getting more experimental, indeed this can be seen to be their most Progressive release but far from their best. There was also a couple of gimmicky tracks which although it's plain to see the band were having much fun spoilt the flow of the album.

Things get off to a positive start with The Song Remains The Same, an up tempo song with many guitar parts from Jimmy Page ranging from picking to powerchords with some excellent soloing too. The one downside of the track is that Robert Plant's vocal's have been speeded up a little giving the impression he was on helium! A better version can be heard on the live soundtrack album of the same name. The Rain Song follows and is a lovely piece of music. Again Page shines on guitar with an unusual chord structure as does John Paul Jones on Mellotron. Plant supplies sympathetic singing whilst John Bonham takes a back seat and doesn't come in until well into the track.

Over the Hills and Far Away starts off with some nice acoustic guitar before the band pile in full force. Bonham and Jones hold down a tight groove whilst Page riffs away over the top. Not a bad track but not one of the better Zeppelin rockers. The Crunge follows and is the first of the gimmicky tracks. It's a James Brown influenced Funk number with some good Drumming from Bonham but ultimately falls a little flat and is a bit of a filler track we could well do without.

Much better is Dancing Days, the intro having an eastern vibe to it but overall the track has a happy summery feel to it. The Reggae vibe of D'yer Mak'er follows and is another disappointment and throwaway track. This is Bonhams track, his Drums well to the fore.

Onto the second Epic of the album, No Quarter is Jones' baby and his keyboards take a front seat. It's an atmospheric piece with a laid back tempo. It proves to be one of the best tracks here and also has an excellent Page riff and some lovely interplay between his Guitar and Jones' Piano.

The closing track The Ocean is an excellent Zeppelin rocker with a stop/start Page riff. Just what we needed after the gimmicky feel of The Crunge and D'yer Mak'er. If those two tracks had been replaced with more rockers along the lines of this then Houses of the Holy would have been a much more rounded album. As it is, it's good but falls short after the majesty of IV.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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