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Led Zeppelin - Presence CD (album) cover

PRESENCE

Led Zeppelin

 

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3.39 | 589 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars UK band LED ZEPPELIN, following their initial phase as The New Yardbirds, became one of the giants of music in the first half of the 1970's. The second half of the decade was more of a slow decent towards the end for the band though, and quite a few feel that this fall from the top started with this album, "Presence", which was released back in 1976.

While I haven't given the entire Led Zeppelin back catalogue a critical assessment, I am on the side of the people that think that this album in general isn't a great one. The jangly boogie-tinged rock of Candy Rock Store, complete with what appears to be an unbalanced mix, feels like a rough demo recording more than a properly developed song, and too many of the other songs have an unfinished touch to them as well, either as in not coming across as well developed, or in that mix and production aren't at the level needed to bring out the best in the songs. Hell, even some of the really good songs here would have profited from some minor edits.

There are highlights though. The concluding epic blues of Tea for One for instance, where the carefully controlled vocals of Plant and Page's spirited guitar playing adds a lot of life and tension to what in essence is a drawn out blues number. Good stuff if you like the blues, although it's appeal probably is somewhat limited beyond that scope.

On a similar note Nobody's Fault But Mine also have solid nods in the direction of the blues, here with some added psychedelic touches and more of a hard rock grit. While I find the vocal sections to be slightly annoying, the instrumental sections here are top notch in my book, and elevates this song on to a higher level.

Achilles Last Stand is the go to song here of course. A tad too repetitive and drawn out in the second half, and a couple of minutes really should be shaved off this one in my book, but the core parts of this song is probably among the very best Led Zeppelin ever made as far as I'm concerned, and the first 6 minutes or thereabouts are purebred classic (hard) rock bliss.

For me, "Presence" comes across as an uneven album. A production where m ix and production comes across as rushed at times, where too many of the songs feels more like sketches and unfinished material than properly developed songs. The musicians are great of course, which sees to it that even the weakest songs manage to come across as pleasing, but for me at least this is in sum a bit more of an average album, but where the presence of Tea For One, Nobody's Fault But Mine and the majestic beauty of Achilles Last Stand manages to elevate the final impression somewhat.

Windhawk | 3/5 |

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