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Led Zeppelin - Presence CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.38 | 667 ratings

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3 stars This album is worth it for 'Achilles Last Stand' alone. As has been well-documented, Presence was recorded in truly adverse conditions, but perhaps it was that very oppressiveness (or desperation?) that helped forge such a powerhouse of a song.

'Achilles Last Stand' shows Page's mastery in layering guitars. He just piles them on, overdubbing atmospheric touches onto a chugging rhythm (supported so well by JPJ & Bonham), along with soaring solos that seem to scrape the clouds at times. Robert's voice and lyrics compliment the music perfectly, one of his best performances hands down. This song usually sits comfortably in most Zep fans' favourite song lists and deserves to do so.

Next is 'For your Life' which took me years to warm to, and has a kind of languid feel that is probably a logical follow-up to such a rousing opener. 'Royal Orleans' pops up next and is the shortest track at just under three minutes, and along with 'Candy Store Rock' it's one of the more funk-influenced tracks. 'Nobody's Fault but Mine' is a rarely disputed Led Zeppelin classic, and while the rhythm-section shines here, and the harmonica is a nice touch, I always thought this song could have been trimmed back to five minutes.

'Hots On for Nowhere' is interesting at the least for the (slurred) swearing from Robert, a song expressing his frustration with Page and Grant, but again, for me, this track isn't a favourite. Closing the album is 'Tea for One.' While it perfectly conveys the feel of being trapped or stuck in time, with its largely unchanging tempo and sedate nature, it can stretch on. While Page is inspired as ever, I don't find his solos as delicate or fiery as in 'Since I've Been Loving You' (an oft-compared song) nor the arrangement of the track itself as dynamic.

This is probably 3.5 for me, simply due to 'Achilles' being so impressive.

dreadpirateroberts | 3/5 |


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