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Led Zeppelin - Presence CD (album) cover

PRESENCE

Led Zeppelin

 

Prog Related

3.39 | 444 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Presence' - Led Zeppelin (5/10)

Without a doubt, the weakest official studio album in this band's career, although it still undoubtedly still has some great tracks to it. After a string of incredible albums of which some have gone on to being considered essential classics in rock music, it seems Led Zeppelin was finally on their hind legs with this one. 'Presence' was riding hot on the heels of the band's two disc epic 'Physical Graffiti', so one might be able to see why the band wasn't feeling quite as ambitious this time around. Instead, the band delivers a collection of bluesy tracks that mostly sound as if they could have been b-sides from the debut. Of course, this is still Led Zeppelin in essence, and although there is none of the same artistry or intricacy that the earlier records had here, there is enough good material here to be worth looking into, more or less.

Most interestingly about this album is the fact that Robert Plant recorded his vocals for 'Presence' in a wheelchair, still recovering from an accident. Ironically, his singing here is the strongest aspect of the band's sound this time around. With the exception of the two better known tracks here, the music here is straightforward bluesy hard rock with some groove thrown in. Much of the album is played admirably, but lacks the songwriting tact to really impress. The bottom line is that there is not much to 'Presence' that connotes that the band put the same level of attention or thought into it as they did with their masterpieces.

The two songs that stand out though are also the best known numbers; 'Achilles' Last Stand' and 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' are the only two tracks here that are really worth looking into. 'Achilles' Last Stand' opens the record on a remarkable note, and stands as being one of my favourite Zeppelin tracks. It is a mini epic that seems to approach proto-metal, and features a galloping rhythm guitar not unlike what Iron Maiden does. 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' is another well known track, and would have worked well as the single for this album, featuring the most catchy vocal melodies. The rest doesn't go much farther than mediocre groove rock.

'Presence' is easily the biggest disappointment I have had from Led Zeppelin, but luckily, it is their only record that I found was anything near weak, and 'Presence' isn't even a bad album. However, despite being a fairly listenable record by all standards and having a couple of great tracks, I am reluctant to recommend to the experience to anyone that isn't already familiar with the band's greater work.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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