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Led Zeppelin - Presence CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.39 | 589 ratings

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4 stars Presence remains an underrated and often overlooked gem in the Zeppelin back catalogue. It was largely written between Robert Plant and Jimmy Page as Plant recovered from a car crash he and his wife had been involved in. While Presence may lack the diversification of previous albums it makes up for in sheer power of the band performance and some great songs. No acoustic numbers like Going to California, no keyboard driven epics like No Quarter are present. Presence is all about electric guitars..and lots of them with plenty of Page overdubs.

Achilles Last Stand is a killer opener and perhaps the last milestone track the band would produce. 10 minutes of driving rhythm from drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones. It moves along at a chugging, frantic pace as Page riffs over the top with a myriad of guitar parts. Plant also turns in an excellent vocal performance, no doubt from his temporary wheelchair confined state.

For Your Life is a grower with its mid pace stop/start riff. It's one of those tracks that take a few listens to get under the skin with not an obvious melody. Once it does however it's an excellent 6 minutes.

Royal Orleans is one of my favourites here and one of the bands lesser known tracks. It's got a great Bonham groove and another stop/start riff from Page and Jones.

Better known is Nobody's Fault But Mine, a psychedelic tinged (in places) blues romp. Opening with a phased Page guitar, Plant wailing over the top (a theme revisited throughout the track) it turns into a solid mid pace rocker which benefits from some fine harmonica work from Plant and a strong Page solo.

Candy Store Rock is Zeppelin playing rock 'n' roll with its 50's vibe and clean guitar sound and very good it is too.

Hots On For Nowhere is the least impressive offering here but still pretty good, once again a nice Bonham groove kicks things along nicely.

Album closer Tea For One is a slow blues piece in the tradition of since I've Been Loving You. While it doesn't scale the heights of that classic it is nevertheless a worthwhile track close to the 10 minute mark.

And there you have it, not their best album but still one of the top releases of 1976 and far superior to Houses Of The Holy, In Through The Out Door and Coda and a necessary purchase for any Zeppelin collection.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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