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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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2 stars And a half stars.

In Through The Out Door turned out to be the last Led Zeppelin studio album baring of course Coda which was a posthumous release after the death of drummer John Bonham. It's also their worst having something in common with Houses Of The Holy 6 years previously. Not that it sounds like Houses... The similarity lies in the bands willingness to experiment with different styles which didn't always work. Also on both albums John Paul Jones had a greater input, in fact even more so here, his keyboards taking more of a centre stage position than usual. Jimmy Page's guitar playing comes across as somewhat muted and lacking the fire of earlier days. This is not helped by a somewhat muddy production. Vocalist Robert Plant whilst far from his best work does put in a half decent performance. And of course Bonham is as solid as a rock.

However a weak Zeppelin album is still better than many bands best and does have some good moments though nothing to match past glories. Lets get the rubbish and mediocre out the way first. That'll be Hot Dog then, a weak rock 'n' roll/rockabilly pastiche. Fool In The Rain is only just a slight improvement with it's shuffle groove and even goes into a mid song samba section! South Bound Suarez fairs a little better which is a piece of barroom boogie with a nice riff from Page and Jones's piano making a strong presence.

Treading the mid ground is All My Love, a heartfelt ballad written by Jones and Plant, a tribute to Plant's son who had died just a year previously, which just leaves us the 3 best tracks on the album.

In The Evening makes a strongish opener, it has an atmospheric start like In The Light from Physical Graffiti. It turns into a mid pace rocker though not one of Page's best riffs it kicks along quite nicely, Jones's keyboards also a dominant force. Bonham keeps a simple groove on the drums and Plant turns in one of his best performances on the record.

The albums epic is Carouselambra and happens to be a high point here. It clocks in at just over ten minutes following in the footsteps of the likes of Kashmir, In My Time Of Dying and Achilles Last Stand. It runs through a number of sections from a rocking, once again Jones dominated start. Plant struggles to cut through though and Bonham keeps things simple again. Page cuts through a bit better on a mid song half tempo lull with some nice 12 string playing. The pace picks up again with a sequenced synth riff (never thought I'd hear that in a Zeppelin song but then I guess it was state of the art for the day) which leads us through the final section to fade.

A late (pleasant) surprise is I'm Gonna Crawl. A beautifully melancholic and bluesy piece. Jones's string effect keyboards making a good foil to Page's more angular guitar playing and he puts in a fine solo too. Plant is really on top form putting in his best vocals of the album. A truly brilliant song and the album highlight for me.

In Through The Outdoor is somewhat of a mixed bag then, some weak even poor moments. It does have a few redeeming tracks though to make up for the likes of Hot Dog but 3 good tracks can't really bring this album quite up to 3 stars so we'll settle for 2 .

Nightfly | 2/5 |


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