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Led Zeppelin - In Through The Out Door CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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2.93 | 528 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Led Zeppelin's final album, and most controversial

Unexpectedly ripe with keyboards, this album is often called ''Zeppelin's most progressive'', while it may be highly experimental progressive may be the wrong word for it. Many of the songs on this album are very sophisticated hard rock bordering at times on pop territory, although the synths and keys on the album do make for a satisfying listen for the average prog head. Plant's vocals are a lot more tuned down for this album than, say Led Zeppelin I, but that can be expected given the events between the first album and this one. As we all know, this album would spell an abrupt end for the band with the death of drummer John Bonham, but they managed to put out an interesting album while they had the chance.

There's not a large selection of songs on this album since a lot of the tunes are rather lengthy. Unfortunately there's nothing about many of them that make them particularly memorable or progressive, there's not any manic signature changes that make for wild mood swings within the songs, mostly because they were really going for the sophisto-pop approach on this album - which is very strange coming after the hard-rock Presence album. In The Evening gets things of to a start with the introduction of the synths that will feel very unfamiliar to most Zep fans, but it makes for an interesting ride while they're at it. This song presses on with the same riffs throughout its nearly 7-minute duration, and it's fine - it works. South Bound Saurez is led by a classy riff from Page and some good vocals from Plant. Nothing classic about this song, but it's very enjoyable. Likely the only song that makes one want to reach for the 'skip' button on this album is the incredibly silly Hot Dog which makes one raise an eyebrow. Comic? I suppose. Skippable? Yes.

Luckily the singles on the album are quite good. Fool In The Rain is one of those songs that you've heard a million times, but when you hear it on this album for the first time you'll think, ''Oh wow, Zep does this?'' Sophisto-pop at it's best, Page has a memorable riff paired with a supporting riff from a piano which makes for a good combination. The song is rather upbeat and you can actually imagine some lovesick guy dancing around in the rain, especially after the whistle blows and things get all jumpy-like. All Of My Love, on the other hand, is rather dark thanks to the synths and drumbeat that open the tune. Were this song made today a lot of people would call it 'inspired by The Cure', and who knew that Zeppelin could be so. 'gothic'? Page is pretty drowned out in this song, but Plant puts on a convincing performance. I'm Gonna Crawl wasn't released as a single, but it's still a good tune, opening much in the same fashion as All Of My Love, but less dark. Page is still out of the spotlight, but he has some bigger riffs in this one.

Probably the biggest factor of this album being called 'the most proggy Zep album' is because of it's 10-minute mini-epic that lies in wait at the middle of the album. Carouselambra is a hell of a lot different than anything Zeppelin has released before, and coming as the follow-up to Achilles Last Stand it feels rather strange. The keyboards dominate this one with a recurring riff that sounds rather thin, unfortunately, and they manage to hide the guitars pretty well. Luckily this one does go through some speed changes which allow for the guitar to dominate the middle of the track in the slower segment, but the synths come back with more of a warbly sound nearing the end. Not exactly a progressive masterpiece, but a very interesting listen.

This is far from Zeppelin's best album, and definitely not what you'd expect from the band. It almost makes you glad that they weren't able to carry on into the void of the 80s (although this makes Bonham's death no less tragic). People may find this album to be proggy thanks to it's keayboard heavy landscapes, but that's about where the similarities to prog end. In general this is a pretty good album, although it's not recommended to anyone, really, other than people who already know and love the band. People who start here would get a very wrong first impression of the band. 2 hot dogs out of 5 for an experimental and interesting album which is best left to the fans.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |


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