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


Led Zeppelin


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3.92 | 911 ratings

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4 stars As is often the case, Led Zeppelin open their albums in fine style. Houses of the Holy does exactly that, exploding with 'The Song Remains the Same' and then changing gears for a beautiful one, 'The Rain Song.' On the strength of these two tracks, along with 'No Quarter' and the wide range of styles present, this album is often cited as the most progressive in their catalog.

I've heard 'TSRTS' described as a 'shimmering tour de force' somewhere and I have to agree. An exciting track with some wild shifts in mood, and great guitar all around, it's even better live, especially backed with 'The Rain Song.' Jone's mellotron gives 'TRS' that otherworldly quality beloved of prog-rock, and contrasts nicely with Page's clean guitar tones and Bonham's brush-work. Again, 'The Rain Song' is even better live - check out the Zeppelin film soundtrack and you'll see it.

'Over the Hills and Far Away' starts acoustic and amps up in the manner which Zeppelin began exploring with 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' or 'Ramble On' and is a fantastic rocker. One of their best tracks without a doubt, though I feel that if the electric guitar was fuller here, it would have been even better.

The stylistic diversity on the rest of the album is a big flaw for some, and proof of Zeppelin's diversity for others. Perhaps it is both things, though I don't enjoy albums where everything stays pretty much the same, 'The Crunge' isn't a favourite for me, and 'Dancing Days' is not as good of a rocker as 'Over the Hills...' or 'The Ocean.' And while John Paul Jones in particular has gone on record as expressing his dislike of 'D'yer Ma'ker,' it is a bit of fun. Does it fit in the context of the whole album? Probably not, but I can't help liking it when bands retain a sense of humour.

No way to finish up without mentioning 'No Quarter.' A sumptuous journey into snow and shadow, it's really outstanding. Nice soloing from Page and Jones, interesting passages and lots of atmosphere. Robert's voice is heavily treated but it fits, it all fits basically, easily one of their best compositions.

Probably my most played Zeppelin album, and close to five stars, but without every song being at the same level as 'No Quarter' or the opening three, this is still an impressive four stars.

dreadpirateroberts | 4/5 |


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