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Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.93 | 887 ratings

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5 stars Some bands fail when it comes to diversity. Led Zeppelin are the opposite. Why? Because they only attempt styles which they understand and appreciate, never venturing miles away from their comfort zone. = 'Houses of the Holy'

This is my personal favourite Led Zeppelin album. There's a mixture of genres here, but it remains loyal to the Led Zep format of riff-rock and acoustic wanderings. It's also the band's only album without a meandering blues jam (which I actually find a bit of a shame). The opening track is as familiar in style to previous albums, yet somewhat progressively, enters a world of more interesting and colourful chords, contrasting themes and passages, and an overture-like construction. But whats so great about it is that it still manages to completely rock out; and it's complexity can simply wash over those who aren't progressively inclined. I'm already impressed. Then we have the majestic and beautiful 'The Rain Song'. When I first heard this, I couldn't get enough; I was almost crying by the 5th listen. And again, it fulfils all the qualities of previous acoustic tunes, yet compositionally, is far more advanced. Plant's lyrics are fantastic too. Then in the style of 'Ramble On' or 'Tangerine', we are treated to another acoustic/electric hybrid. 'Over the Hills and far Away', following the trend, is just as accessible as previous albums' songs, yet more technical and mature, with developed sections and a suitable intro and coda. So after three "safely Zeppelin" yet developed and progressive songs, we begin to enter the extremes of the album, the diverse, the controversial, the "marmite", the crunge...

'The Crunge' is very funky. It's weird, quite humerous in approach, and not really a significant track. But in terms of the conventions of the James-Brown-esque funk scene, it's faultless. Led Zeppelin CAN do funk, so what's stopping them. Of course if that bridge was present, it would be as progressive as the first three songs, but then it wouldn't be funk! 'Dancing Days' is the only real weak track on the album; it's sort of hippy rock with pop sensibilities, but doesn't deliver the same sort of standards as the tracks on side 1. 'D'yer Mak'er', another genre-prod (this time reggae) is, no one can deny it, very catchy. It probably contains the most clichéd chord sequence EVER, and Bonham's drumming is a little too hard for reggae, but it's hard to criticise when you find yourself dancing to it. Then comes 'No Quarter', the prog-jam. This is another reason why John-Paul Jones is the most talented member of the band. The piano and jazz guitar solos are the climax. It's dark and powerful, almost Floyd-esque. And of course 'The Ocean' is a great 7/8 riff-rocker to end a great album, complete with beach boogie vocal harmonies in it's climactic coda.

Here, Led Zeppelin expand their own genre impressively, and visit other genres with a loyal and light-hearted approach. Much like it's artwork, 'Houses...' is this band's most colourful album.

thehallway | 5/5 |


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