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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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4.41 | 1265 ratings

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5 stars IV is the album where they are 'on' with pretty much every song.

Impossible for me to avoid treading the same ground in this review that many others already have, so I won't apologise for doing so now.

Not many albums achieve a status whereby even just a passing knowledge of it's contents are pretty much expected of people interested in rock. Led Zeppelin's fourth does so in style. Each song is wonderfully-executed, and at the very least, comes off as both forward-thinking for its time, and enjoyable for someone discovering it for the first time.

Is it progressive? At times, certainly. "The Battle of Evermore' (which is the standout for me) is one where Robert is spurred on to new heights by guest vocalist Sandy Denny, and 'Stairway' along with 'Four Sticks' all have strong progressive touches, along with the layered blues of the meaty closer, 'When the Leevee Breaks.'

But perhaps more important to how progressive this album is, might be the way Jimmy Page produced and composed, always looking to fill-out and 'thicken' the sound of a band that was a four-piece. And not in a 'wall of sound way' but his extensive use of overdubbing to layer sounds (not new in itself by any means) is probably one of the defining features of Led Zeppelin. Obviously he used the layer-upon-layer approach more in later albums, but it's undeniable of most of the songs here too. Page used the studio like an extra instrument or element, adding it to the Led Zeppelin sound. In that sense, he was one of the most influential artists in regard to progressive thinking about how rock could be captured in a studio setting.

There isn't a track that I dislike on the album, although I grow tired of some quicker than others. I always found Misty Mountain Hop' and 'Rock and Roll' were the first I wanted to skip if I was sitting down for a listen, and after around ten years of skipping 'Stairway' I do sometimes let it play through. 'Going to California' is often dismissed as just west coast hippy folk, but as I don't mind a bit of that, no complaints there either. In fact, it's the song I've actually put on mixed tapes (along with 'Ramble On') more than twice over the years.

Five stars for me, in terms of production, composition, influence and cohesion. A classic.

dreadpirateroberts | 5/5 |


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