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Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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4.05 | 974 ratings

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4 stars Physical Graffiti is an essential album, even if every track on it is not.

Stretching out across two albums, this collection of Led Zeppelin's work is hard to judge as a whole. As many reviewers have already noted, if you were to trim off many of the outtakes from other albums, this would be a statement almost as cohesive as IV.

Still, there's a lot to like. From the first disc, we have an opening riot of three essential songs. 'Custard Pie' is Zeppelin taking everything they can from the blues and adding muscle to it, while 'The Rover' is easily one of their best tracks, with a nicely built intro that leads into one of Page's most memorable riffs. The classic 'vintage' bass sound from Jones fills the track, contrasting a fuzzier Page, with the verses accentuated by Bonham's usual power. Then comes the thumping epic 'In My Time of Dying' which really takes off at around four minutes, making perfect use of slight pauses and a stomping rhythm. At just over eleven minutes it's one of their longer work outs, but doesn't dip in quality. From here, I'd jump to 'Kashmir' to round out a list of favourites from the first disc. Not much I want to add to discussions of this song, effective stuff for sure.

On the second disc there is a lower percentage of stand outs. 'Down by the Seaside' and 'Ten Years Gone' are quieter moments. An outtake from IV 'Down by the Seaside' is pleasant with an interesting moment of menace in the middle, and clearly shows Robert's voice in better shape than the (still effective) gravelly tone found on the tracks recorded for Physical Graffiti. 'The Wanton Song' has a great riff, while many of the shorter songs seem like the band having some fun in the studio, 'Night Flight' is one of the more interesting tracks there. It just has a feel that isn't really anywhere on other Zeppelin songs.

A great album, well worth owning if you don't have a lot of Zeppelin. And if you've been waiting because the 'filler' tracks seem plentiful, it's still a solid and highly satisfying album for the most part, perhaps their heaviest too.

dreadpirateroberts | 4/5 |


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