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


Led Zeppelin


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3.91 | 868 ratings

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4 stars This was never one of my favourite Led Zeppelin albums until very recently. I got into Zeppelin for their heavy metal influences and so the albums I enjoyed most were "Led Zeppelin", the fourth album, and "Physical Graffiti" because they had some of the heaviest songs. Particularly the debut album impressed me with its heaviness and at times its speed. "The Song Remains the Same" was always an album that was hard to love. My favourite track was "No Quarter" for its haunting atmosphere and cool guitar sound, and "The Rain Song" I liked for its beautiful music. "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "The Ocean" I liked because they were the most rocking tunes off the album. "The Crunge" and "D'yer Ma'ker" seemed to me like Led Zeppelin was trying to be funny. And the title track sounded like high speed country music with Robert Plant singing in a falsetto voice that never sat well with me.

However, in the last two years I have been really into progressive music and I have fattened up my progressive rock collection considerably. A few weeks ago I added "No Quarter" to a playlist and I struck me that this was a song with prog styling. I listened more carefully to most of the other songs, including "The Song Remains" and the album appeared in a whole new light. Led Zeppelin usually played heavy blues-based rock with a fair helping of folk music. This album still sticks close to that base, however, it seems to me that this album is likely Zeppelin's furthest foray into prog that they would attempt at least up until 1975 (I can't remember much about "Presence" because I never bought it on CD).

So, in this new light I have taken a stronger liking to the album. As with most Zeppelin albums, there is good diversity here. The playing doesn't even need mention. I think what is most admirable is the band's willingness to experiment with music beyond the borders of their established repertoire, something they always did anyway. But here they push the envelope further than before. I have new respect for that blazing country guitar playing in the title track. John Bohnam's drumming is not just powerful but strikes me as talented in ways I had not before considered. I still don't dig the falsetto vocals much but Robert Plant sounds great otherwise. And let's not forget John Paul Jones for his bass and keyboard contributions. One can't be a part of Led Zeppelin without having legendary talents. Together these four gents have produced one very interesting album.

In short, this could have been one of Led Zeppelin's finest moments, light-hearted fun tracks taken into consideration. 3.5 stars rounded up.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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