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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti CD (album) cover

PHYSICAL GRAFFITI

Led Zeppelin

 

Prog Related

4.03 | 617 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two of the best sides ever put to vinyl... then some other stuff

Really, Zeppelin made a big mistake in releasing this as a double album set, especially being that the second disc was compiled from offcuts. When it comes to Zep's discography this one is one of the biggest standouts and at the smae time one of the biggest let downs. The first disc is full of Zeppelin's best work, and the second has already been mentioned. One wonders if they just needed to fulfill a contractual agreement that demanded a double album of some kind, but then again, 24-years later, it's a little late to be complaining about that.

So here's the skinny...

The biggest problem with the album is trying to listen to it all in one sitting. There's over an hour and a half of music and only about 45-minutes of it is worth while. The entire second disc is basically a bonus coaster for your beer that the band has thrown in for you. Even with some lengthier tracks and one or two good riffs lying around here and there the entire thing is completely forgettable. It's lackluster, Plant doesn't give his shrill voice to any of the track and Page plays lazily along. While this does work on some songs like Down By The Seaside, given their lazy nature, it's hard to bring to mind any of the songs after you've listened to them, even after multiple spins of the album. Unlike other Zeppelin material where afterwards you'll still have multiple riffs or hooks stuck in your head somewhere. Page also doesn't pull out any wildly impressive guitar solos, it's just frustrating. This is likely the turning point for many fans, since after this they'd continue on this this style on later albums, until their eventual end (which had nothing to do with the actual music, of course).

That said, the first disc of the album is likely the best material that Zep ever recorded. Had this been a one disc set it would probably be considered one of the best albums (and maybe even prog albums) of all time. While the opening song has a considerable amount of quirk to it it still has a wonderful riff which is highly memorable and the rest of the song is just good rock. After that, Zep gets right into serious mode and prepares to impress. The Rover is a perfect example of what Zeppelin does best and implores epic-overtones with an excellent riff section and great soloing that gives Plant's voice room to work its magic. The same can be said for any of the other songs on the disc including the excellent and catchy late-title track Houses Of The Holy or the bouncy and somewhat dark Trampled Under Foot. With a riff full to the brim with blues, In My Time Of Dying is one of Zeppelin's longest (studio) tracks, clocking in at 11-minutes, and it makes excellent use of the time with some impressive and emotional sections. It all ends with the near cliche Kashmir, which is one of Zep's best known songs - and for a reason. That grandiose riff leading the pack over the course of the song's 8-minutes makes for a killer tune that one doesn't mind listening to, even if you've heard it on the radio a hundred times.

So listen to the first album and give the second one a chance, but don't be surprised if it lets you down. To rate the two albums individually the first would get a 4 and the second would get a 2, making for an average of 3-stars out of 5 for the record. This one is a bit pricey to buy just for the first disc, so frustrating is a good word for it, but the first disc is some of Zep's best stuff, so the set is worth the buy if just for that. 'Split' would be a good way of describing this one. Good, but non-essential on the whole.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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