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HOUSES OF THE HOLY

Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy album cover
3.88 | 602 ratings | 61 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Song Remains The Same (5:29)
2. The Rain Song (7:39)
3. Over The Hills And Far Away (4:49)
4. The Crunge (3:17)
5. Dancing Days (3:43)
6. D'yer Ma'ker (4:22)
7. No Quarter (7:00)
8. The Ocean (4:30)

Total Time: 40:49

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Plant / vocals
- Jimmy Page / all guitars
- John Paul Jones / bass, grand piano, organ, Mellotron, synthesizers
- John Bonham / drums, percussion

Releases information

LP Atlantic SD-7255 (1973)
CD Atlantic 82639 (1994)
CD WEA 82639 (2005, remaster)

Thanks to Slartibartfast for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
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LED ZEPPELIN Houses Of The Holy ratings distribution


3.88
(602 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(38%)
38%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

LED ZEPPELIN Houses Of The Holy reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars I'll be nice and give another this album half star so it come to 3,5 stars really!!

Graced with an outstanding and fascinating colour filtered pictures (both inside and outside) on the nameless gatefold, this album is one of the two "proggier" albums of Zep along with its predecessor. But the album is terribly uneven and musically completely unfocused (much more so that the Runes album before it).

The album starts out with a pair of tracks that are usually played successively (they blend so nicely into each other too) and although both Song Remains The Same and the Rain Song are well above the average of this album (and the rest of their future discography), they are followed by another great track Over The Hills, but then that is almost it..... Finished!!

Well I did say: almost, because there is still their best track ever coming soon. But set aside No quarter for a moment, and look at the second part of the album's track list: really, is there any real reason to boasts loudly at how great this album is? Sure fans may actually like that wide and unfocused spectrum of (sub-par) tracks that are just non-sense rockers (Crunge), reggae (D'yer), nostalgia (Dancing Days) and uninspiration (Ocean), but this proghead says NO!!! And the real sad fact is that their greatest track is unfortunately stuck in between that flood of fillers and misses. Yes, the superb No Quarter should've been on the good side A (to have it become a superb side A), and the ridiculous Crunge should've been bumped on the side B. No Quarter is Zep at its apex; probably at the top of their songwriting abilities with Percy diving into solemn Viking mythology, these seven minutes are one (if not the only) reason why Zep is included on our beloved Archives.

A very uneven album, which I (had I been the producer) would have chosen to make even more uneven by swapping two tracks, thus with that change then creating a completely schizophrenic album, this album would've made much more sense. Yes there are some incredible moments on this slice of wax, but there are also some huge flaws as well.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#99994) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I guess the overwhelming success of LZ4 made the members of the band feel that they had exhausted their supply of straight ahead rock and roll and they felt the need to go wherever their collective imagination would take them. I'm just not sure where that was. What we got was a very strange album that left most of their fans scratching their heads. We didn't want or expect a clone of the previous LP but this was a directionless trip into the twilight zone. I'll just leave it at that. "Dancing Days" and "Over the hills and far away" are the standout cuts included and they got their requisite airplay throughout the mid 70s but I can only recommend this album to the die-hards and those who like extremely experimental and moody meanderings through what I consider average material at best. If you have yet to own one of their albums this really isn't the place to start.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#100595) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006

Review by Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is less interesting for me, despite having the very good songs "No Quarter" and "The Rain Song", on which Jones shines as a keyboard player. Other good songs from this album are "The Song Remains the Same", "Over the Hills and Far Away" (with very good acoustic guitars) and "The Ocean" (with backing vocals by Bonham). The commercial song "D´yer Ma´ker" is very known and still played in FM "Oldies" Radio Stations in my city. "The Song Remains the Same", "The Rain Song" and "No Quarter" are better in the live versions included in their "The Song Remains the Same" live album, IMO.

Their next album is much better than this, which sounds like LZ was in a "temporary stagnation".

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#102461) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I can see that I am out voted on this one. Again IMHO Houses Of The Holy is worthy of a five star rating. This is more consistent than IV in the overall finished product. Musically it was more complex and probably more progressive than IV.' The Song Remains The Same' isa great opener to the album followed by the wonderful ' Rain Song'. Not the best addition to the album but nearly. Tolkien themes surfacing here as well as on the epic ' No Quarter' on side two. Both slow burners and almost classical sounding at times.' Over The Hills and far Away' is another great song but even better is ' Dancin Days'. It has a repetitive thread which leads with a great hook and indicative of what was to follow on the double album Physical Graffiti. ' Dyer Make'r' another ' Bron-Y-aur-stomp' type pastiche' No Quarter' warrants another mention, this quite possibly one of the top three Led Zeppelin slower compositions. Seven minutes of 'classica'l guitar playing, sad and great climatic vocals, hard hitting drumwork and last but not least great instrumental contributions by JPJ. ' The Ocean' is a fitting finish to yet another masterpiece from Led Zeppelin.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#102702) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.1 Stars

Another excellent album from the hard rock legends! There is not much to say, as there is not any real progression here. This is a follow up to the diverse and brilliant Led Zeppelin IV and this song also proves to be brilliant and diverse, though some of the experiments don't quite work.

Starting with the powerhouse rocker The song Remains the Same you already know you're in for a wonderful musical ride. The real highlights of the album are obvious, especially for a progger's musical tastes. The Rain Song , played in an unusual guitar tuning, is a slow-paced symphonic song that in my opinion is better than the famous Stairway to Heaven. You have mellotron in this piece instead of a symphony, and I prefer the mellotrons. The song gets heavier in the later parts of it, without sacrificing the melodic beauty of the first half. No Quarter is another slow-paced song, but this one sounds dark and creepy. It has organs, piano, and synthesizers playing softly in the background during the verses until an awe-inducing guitar riff breaks the silences on the choruses. The instrumental break in the middle puts John Paul Jones in the spotlight, playing a long solo that focuses on melody and emotion, rather than virtuosity. Jimmy manages to play a guitar solo during it that sounds like if Steve Howe (Yes) played it.

Other good songs are Over the Hills and Faraway which begins with fast acoustic guitar riffs then turns into a nice rocker and The Ocean which is an accessible and radio-friendly rocker. The Crunge is an entertaining funky tune with a great bass line and a funny ending. Dancing Days while it contains an awful guitar riff in the beginning, manages to be a pretty good rock like always.

Unfortunately, D'yer M'ker is to me nothing but an irritating attempt to make a hybrid of Led Zeppelin with Reggae.

Highly recommended, as all of their pre-Presence albums are, except maybe Led Zeppelin II

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#103007) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars THE LAST ONE OF THE GOLDEN ERA

I remember quite well that when I purchased this album at the time of release, I was rather disappointed. I guess that I expected too much from the band in 1973. I only liked four songs from it, so I decided to go and exchange this album. I picked up "The Slider" from T. Rex instead (which I incidentally swapped for a "Best Of" from . the "Aphrodite's Child" which I sold for cheap during a music conference .

End of 1998, I purchased their entire remastered CD catalog in one shot. Will my feeling have changed for HOTH ? Well, frankly, yes. It was the one album I played the most during this "second discovery". During three months or so, I will only listen to Led Zep.

My mind didn't change about two tracks which I consider weak.

"The Crunge" is their first funky tune (unfortunately followed by several ones). It is a tribute to James Brown. Most of the time, his early releases were recorded live with very little rehearsal. To give some directions to his band, he would often say : "Take it to the bridge". The "bridge" will be mentioned several time at the end of the song : "Have You Seen The Bridge" and "Where's that confounded bridge?".

The second one is "The Ocean". This one is dedicated to their US fans who will create an ocean of crowd attending their concerts : "Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean's roar Play for free, play for me and play a whole lot more, more"!

At this moment of their career, they did break all the records in attendance. Led Zeppelin earned a place in "The Guinnes Book of Records". Here is a press release to relate the event : "On May 5, 1973, a crowd of 56,800 paid $309,000 to watch Led Zeppelin perform for nearly three hours in Tampa. The largest paid concert attendance for a single musical act in the history of the United States, it topped the Beatles' previous high of 55,000 and a mere $301,000 at Shea Stadium. Records are made to be broken, but if there's any shattering to be done at this point, Led Zeppelin will probably be the ones to crack the mark again. Like their namesake, they defy gravity to ride a core of flaming vapor, the acknowledged heavyweight band champions of the world".

"The Rain Song" is very quiet all the way through, almost prog my friend ! I have a trace of this number as soon as 1971 during the recordings for their untitled album. So? It has gestated for quite a while. It features some mellotron work from Jones, but bizarrely he was not involved in the songwriting as one could have believed. It has the sweet side of a track like "Entangled" or "Ripples" (from "A Trick Of The Tail"). It is one of the very few songs related to prog Led Zep will write. IMO a total of four :"Your Time Is Gonna Come" from Led Zep I, half of "Thank You" from Led Zep II, this one and "Ten Years Gone" from "Physical Graffiti". For some aspects (mellotron) "No Quarter" might be added but while played on stage, it was extended to anything up to forty minute in a rather heavy and mighty form which leaves the studio version as a nice little ballad in comparison. I prefer the live versions of course (of which the one featured on "The Song Remains The Same" is probably one of the best available.

THAT'S IT IN TERMS OF PROG-RELATION.

These two tracks grew in my perception between 1973 and 1998. "No Quarter" in particular which appears now as good track indeed to me.

So, now : the four tracks I liked at the first sight.

"Over Hill And Far Away" mixes the acoustic ballad and the hard-rock. The same had already been achived in "What Is and What Should Never Be" or "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" in that respect. This song doesn't reach the level of its great predecessors but, still it remains a good one.

"Dancing Days" has a great rhythm. Full of passion and power. While they were rehearsing it, the band was really "dancing" when listening to it. This song generates a feeling of great fun. I still really like it.

One of their most contravertial song is the reggae influenced "D'Yer Mak'er". Interesting to point out that Led Zep played reggae waaaaay before the genre became so popular (outside Jamaica). This shows that the band was attent to all the musical influences throughout their wonderful career. The melody is very catchy and unlike lots of people, I regard this song as one of the best of this very good album.

And finally "The Song Remains The Same". A great opener as Led Zep will aways propose (except in the poor "Physical Graffiti"). The musical trio is absolutely gorgeous in this track. Jones's bass work is impressive, and Bonham's drumming is rather wild. Like a few other Led Zep's songs, the guitar intro is similar to Yardbird's song "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor". Jimmy is of course brilliant. This song was born as an instrumental piece and should have been called : "The Overture". But Plant added lyrics (thank you, Robert) and his high-pitch voice is wonderful. It is my preferred song of the album.

The album will of course peak at the first spot on both sides of the Atlantic. Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#115183) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Where's that confounded bridge?"

Possibly the only album in history whose title track was omitted and put on the next album, this is where Led Zep explored other musical genres including funk, reggae and even prog!

The opening track "The Song Remains the Same" is a storming rocker with multi-layered guitars and what sounds like a speeded- up vocal from Plant, even more storming on the film of the same name.. It segues into "The Rain Song", probably the proggiest song they ever did, a beautiful melody with mellotron and piano work from Jones. As with the first track, I prefer the live version on the film soundtrack but this is still a wonderful number. "Over the Hills and Far Away" starts off with Plant singing over acoustic guitar in a slightly odd time signature but then changes to a more typical Zep rocker. The middle section doesn't really fit to my ears, it sounds like it was made up on the spot when they realised the song wasn't long enough. The ending is Jones with a very quiet harpsichord solo. "The Crunge" is Led Zep's answer to James Brown ("has anybody seen the bridge?") and again utilises an odd time signature in places. I didn't like "Dancing Days" much until a read a quote from Plant about how they danced around on the lawn whilst listening to a playback, and then it seemed to slot into place. "D'ya mak'er" (the title comes from an old joke not worth repeating here) is the reggae number. Lyrically not one of their best but it is an infectious melody and Bonham excels here. One of the few Zep songs I've heard played on the radio. "No Quarter" again shows the proggy side of the band and this is pretty much Jones' number on the electric piano. The extended version on "The Song Remains the Same" is probably the highlight of that album. The final song is "The Ocean" (which refers to the waving hands of the audience) where yet again the crunching guitar riff (which follows a count in from Bonham) is in an odd time signature. The track ends with a rock'n'roll section featuring doo-wops from Plant.

They ran into trouble with the cover for this one - particularly with the background colouring - and it caused much controversy over the naked children. Genre- wise it's probably their most varied album and certainly their proggiest.

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Posted Monday, March 26, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars.This is my third favourite ZEPPELIN album. And if it wasn't for "The Crunge" and "D'yer Maker" this would be a 5 star record in my opinion. I actually like the variety that is found on this album, I just could have done without the funky "The Crunge" (should have been the cringe), that makes me wonder if they were doing this as a tribute to James Brown or someone else from the early beginnings of rock and roll. "D'yer Maker" brings to mind the reggae style of music and is at least something I can listen to. Now the rest.

"The Song Remains The Same" is a song that just makes me feel so good. I love the guitar that seems to overlap everything else. "California sunshine..." Oh yeah ! "The Rain Song" is about "the seasons of emotions". How beautiful is this song. Waves of mellotron as well in this one. 5 minutes in it really gets quite passionate with some beautiful guitar melodies.

"Over The Hills And Far Away" features some more intricate guitar work from Page. I like the way the song builds. Robert is in fine form as well. "I live for my dream and a pocket full of gold.." "Dancing Days" is another great song. I like the guitar melody to open. "No Quarter" is one of their best ! Synths, bass and drumming are all incredible. Nice piano later as well. "The Ocean" opens rather bombastically. Plant is nothing short of amazing ! Great lyrics as well.

I've never understood why this isn't loved more by ZEPPELIN fans. Maybe it's because it followed "IV" I don't know, but if you don't have it. Do yourself a favour and get it.

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Posted Monday, April 09, 2007

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars On this classic album the band's singer starts to reach the spheres of irritation so high, that I can't bear it anymore. The dynamic opener tracks "The Song Remains The Same" and "The Rain Song" are very fine rock compositions, but they get much better treatment on their 1976 double live album. Here the stuff sounds somewhat sterile to my ears, and the way of screaming vocals ruin my own personal listening experience. In addition to the songs mentioned, the real gem here is "No Quarter" which evolves slowly and interestingly, also the Robert's voices have been treated with some effects which I do not consider as a bad thing. In addition to these songs there are too much "air-head" material on this album, down ranking it from artistic music to pure basic rock'n'roll. If you want such classic stuff from the 1970's, this isn't maybe the worst pick. The classic album gatefold covers are surely fine.

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Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As reported, by the time the band was ready to write their material for the fifth album which later was known as "Houses of The Holy", Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones have their own studio, individually. It changed the way they work together in composing music. John was presenting to the other members "No Quarter" with his keyboard outburst while Page was presenting his complete arrangement of "The Rain Song". [Ref. "Led Zeppelin - The Complete Guide to Their Music", Dave Lewis]. The whole album itself was recorded at Stargroves, Mick Jagger's country estate in Berkshire. The album reached no 1 in UK and in US.

"The Song Remains The Same" (5:29) with Page soaring riffs and dynamic drumming of Bonham opens the album in an energetic fashion. This attractive song no wonder becomes the title track of Zeppelin's film. This song is about a morale story on if you give something it will come back to you again that's why the name is like that. "The Rain Song" has moved away from traditional Led Zeppelin's song with darker nuance and mellow style with mellotron-drenched rhythm section at background. The orchestral arrangement by John Paul Jones has made this song interesting. "Over The Hills And Far Away" (4:49) is another excellent track that has become legendary and many bands have covered this song including Nightwish -a power metal band from Finland.

"No Quarter" (7:00) is definitely one of the best compositions the band has ever created. One might wonder how this kind of music was created by Led Zeppelin with their heavy metal attribute. "No Quarter" has indeed some jazz components blended nicely with heavy metal music. The Bonham drum session is quite unique at this song with special tunings on snare and tom. Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Monday, May 07, 2007

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Finally, after a four years of existence, LED ZEPPELIN did it; they produced a masterpiece. This one is their most progressive effort (except for "The song Remains The Same" live soundtrack), but that's NOT the reason why it's a five-star material.

It's hard-boiled, raw & tender in the same time, scary and happy, daring, experimental, mature. It's simply good. It's also somewhat cold (despite the occasional reggae overtones) - which usually distracts to fully appreciate the albums, but not in this case.

The album is balanced well - from the spasmodic riffs in "The Song Remains The Same" and slow, rolling electric monster in "The Ocean" to mellow, introspective, jazzy "Rain Song" soaked with gorgeous Mellotron arrangements.

"The Crunge" is rhythmical funky madness, it set up the standards for a certain genres of music that are yet to be discovered. And that IS progressive rock

"No Quarter" is one of the best songs ever written, again decades before it's time. It will took three decades and dawning of the genre called trip-hop to enable the wider audience to appreciate the song in it's full glory. The live version from "The Songs..." is even more powerful, and PAGE AND PLANT's 90's "unledded" reunion version is very different, but not less impressive...there's a certain something withing the core of the song which makes it so unique.

"Over The Hill And The Far Away" is providing another insane electric jive, no less impressive than "The Ocean" or in "The Song..."... Imagine the best, furious melting electric moments from "III" and move Page's groundbreaking bravurosity one step forward.

The two weakest tracks (but not exclusively weak by no means) on the album are "Dancing Days" and "D'yer Mak'er" (pronounced "DJAMAICA"). Interesting thing is they are both "warmer" tracks on a "colder" album, but they aren't out of place here, "Dancing Days" utilising some heavy riffing, and ""D'yer Mak'er", of course, reggae rhythms, Bonzo hitting the snares like a possessed maniac. It's a bit weaker lyrically-wise; but I think that's intentional - it's simply fits nicely into the overall picture. Speaking of lyrics, there are a lot of moments containing naïve flower-power lyrical attitude, but somehow blended with such a monstrosity of music, they sound almost like a prophecy.

In general, the influnece of LED ZEPPELIN on contemporary music is far from being over....and this album might have a significant role...again.

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Posted Monday, June 11, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album is a real puzzle, and was a great let-down to me after the heroic heights of LED ZEPPELIN IV.

Like many musicials who make it big, the members of LED ZEPPELIN now (in 1972/3) no longer have ordinary lives. This is reflected in their songwriting. The album is loosely conceptual, based around he concept of a tour (guess what they'd been doing before recording this album). This is similar to what PINK FLOYD did in the late '70s with 'The Wall', though not as overt.

But, with three exceptions, the songwriting is not up to it. Where's the bombast? The jungle-heavy drums? The crisp production? The flow? None of it is here. Instead we have a retreat to the tentative days of III. That said, there are parallels to their previous album: 'Dancing Days' is this album's 'Black Dog', and 'The Rain Song' fills the 'Stairway' gap. But there was nothing like 'No Quarter', a magnificent progressive epic, on any previous ZEP album.

There are some true stinkers here. 'D'yer Mak'er' is lame, both in the ill-advised reggae lift and in the weak pun. 'The Crunge' is another poorly executed stab at a different musical genre (in this case funk). It must have been designed to grate on the nerves. Listening to this is like finding a plastic fly in your soup: you know it was intended, but it's still not funny. 'The Ocean' has a heavy rock intro and descends into doo-wap.

Two steps forward (with IV), and one step back with this album. Fortunately things would be addressed on the truly magnificent PHYSICAL GRAFFITI, which found LED ZEPPELIN once again at the top of their form.

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Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars LED ZEPPELIN “Houses of Holy” 2.5

Unfortunately this is where LZ failed at the first time. I mean it’s good, but who can make something better than “IV”? Everybody expected a masterpiece again I guess, but ZEPs just did a good, somewhat laid-back album. Opener is a strong track, “No Quarter” and “The Rain Song” are classy LZ tracks, but any other taken from it would look pale on any preceding LZ album. “The Crunge” is hardly bearable, it holds the title of least favourite LZ track of mine. This is where they’ve shown their weak sides, this is where they’ve shown that they’re Gods no more, they’re Mortals and they can make mistakes. And they should, why not?

Best tracks: “No Quarter”, “The Rain Song”, “The Song remains the Same”, “D’yer mak’er”

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Posted Monday, October 01, 2007

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not exactly a consensus building effort, eh mates?

Houses was always an album near and dear to my heart. While containing some of the band's very finest moments it is an effort plagued by the usual inconsistencies found on most Zeppelin albums.

We start very strong with SRTS showing Page's ever increasing talents not only in playing but in the producer's chair, intuitively layering guitars to create such a great overall sound. It's a song that like most Zeppelin songs will grow into something much more special live on stage, when the grooves are electrified by Bonham and Jones in action. Next is the stunningly beautiful Rain Song, a piece that is not only among my favorite LZ tracks but with a melody as memorable and haunting (in a good way) as anything I've ever heard. It's a song that in the live setting transforms to a poignancy few bands will ever achieve. The same can be said for No Quarter with its earthy and powerful mystery, good here but mindblowing on stage. Over The Hills shows off some catchy songwriting, and again just listen to the nice arrangements of the various instruments. That's the great half. The other four songs were a bit dodgy, not awful, but certainly not in the same league with the good stuff. The Crunge is a bit of funky humor. Dancing Days and The Ocean are rather average straight-up rockers. And Dyer Maker is a cute reggae flavored pop-number that was a big radio hit but made every Zep fan I know roll their eyes a bit.

Young Zep newbies must know that Houses is a recommended album for the first three songs and No Quarter. Although if you already have live versions of the good songs on other CDs you could really afford to put your dollars elsewhere. These studio versions pale in comparison. 3 ½ stars.

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Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Led Zeppelin's influence on rock music since the 70s cannot be denied and that certainly includes progressive rock, even if they themselves were more of a blues or heavy rock group. I remember that they also cited folk artists and singer songwriters as influences, so it is not surprising that they produced an album like "Houses of the Holy", which pays homage to their many interests. You are bound to find a few items to your taste here, but, by the same token, you are unlikely to find it all agreeable, unless you are extremely eclectic and forgiving of more than a few missteps.

Sure, it's hard to find fault with "Rain Song" and its morose mellotronic meanderings. Likewise "Over the Hills and Far Away" is an ingenious blend of pastoral folk and hard rock, "D'yer Ma'ker" a delightfully kitsch call to arms for the burgeoning reggae movement, and "No Quarter" perhaps the most progressive song of their career, a daring piece that must have shocked their by then legion of fans. In fact the overall genre spanning approach taken on this album is itself highly progressive. However, forays into funk ("The Crunge"), old rock n roll ("Dancing Days"), and falsetto imitations of Yes ("Song Remains the same") are just as weak, making this album a mixed bag on the quality plane.

I feel that 3 stars is the logical rating for this, one of the Led Zep albums of greater interest to the prog community, even if many do worship at its feet.

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Posted Sunday, November 25, 2007

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Causeway to mediocrity

"Houses of the holy" is often identified as the band's most progressive release, yet it is among their least familiar and least popular. The blues influences of the early albums are almost eradicated here, being replaced by even older styles including classical music. After their early prolific period, it took almost two years from the release of "Led Zeppelin IV" for "Houses." to appear. By this time, expectations were high, with music fans expecting the band to come up with another "Stairway to heaven" at least. The band did their best to oblige, even using a mellotron and synthesisers to orchestrate the sound, but in general the material lacks the dynamics and originality of previous releases.

The album opens with "The song remains the same", a piece which was originally intended to be an instrumental "Overture". Robert Plant's vocals are speeded up slightly, thus sounding higher and less gritty than normal. This gives the song a sort of Rush feel (or is that the other way round!) but the overriding flavour of the track is muddled and unfocussed. "The rain song", which follows, is a rare Led Zeppelin ballad with mellotron orchestration played by John Paul Jones. It is sort of in the way of "Thank you" from Led Zeppelin 2", but Plant's vocals are rather more weedy. The mellotron sound is wonderful though, and at 7½ minutes, this is the longest track on the album.

"Over the hills and far away" is not the Gary Moore song of the same name. This is another acoustic number, but it is generally more upbeat with a lead guitar break. For me, it introduces the weakest series of consecutive tracks on any Led Zeppelin album. "The crunge", is credited to all four band members as it grew out of a jam session. It is devoid of music, lyrical content, and inspiration and for me is not worthy of any album, let a lone one by Led Zeppelin. "Dancin' days" is an average pop rock number. "D'yer mak'er", which is roughly pronounced "Jamaica", is a reggae influenced song, the title's play on words intending to reflect this. It is though, another instantly forgettable disappointment.

Fortunately, an element of respectability is restored with the final two tracks. The 7 minute "No quarter", which became a live favourite, is a "What is and what should never be" type loud and soft song. It features distorted vocals and liquid guitar sounds, the whole song appearing on the album at a slightly slower speed than it was recorded in order to manipulate the final sound.

The album closes with "The ocean", the title referring to the sea of people in the audience at a Led Zeppelin gig. The track has a distinctive riff, and as a whole probably comes closest to the blues rock of previous releases. At times, it sounds like a misguided attempt to create a "Black dog, part 2".

In all, a very disappointing album for a Led Zeppelin release. While a few of the tracks are adequate, none offer the excitement generated by previous releases.

Strangely, the track from which the album title is taken was dropped prior to release, only later appearing on "Physical graffiti". (See also ELP's "Brain salad surgery" and Queen's "Sheer heart attack"). The artwork for the album was and remains highly controversial, displaying naked, possibly alien, children climbing the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Indeed it is extremely likely that had the album been released today, the image would not have been considered acceptable at all.

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Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars After the brilliance of their fourth album Led Zeppelin had a lot to live up to. Its release was delayed until March 1973 due to problems with the sleeve. As IV had been released in 1971 by the standards of the time this was quite a large gap between albums and unfortunately although it has some great moments, overall Houses of the Holy was somewhat of a disappointment. This however did not stop it selling by the bucket load. The band were now getting more experimental, indeed this can be seen to be their most Progressive release but far from their best. There was also a couple of gimmicky tracks which although it's plain to see the band were having much fun spoilt the flow of the album.

Things get off to a positive start with The Song Remains The Same, an up tempo song with many guitar parts from Jimmy Page ranging from picking to powerchords with some excellent soloing too. The one downside of the track is that Robert Plant's vocal's have been speeded up a little giving the impression he was on helium! A better version can be heard on the live soundtrack album of the same name. The Rain Song follows and is a lovely piece of music. Again Page shines on guitar with an unusual chord structure as does John Paul Jones on Mellotron. Plant supplies sympathetic singing whilst John Bonham takes a back seat and doesn't come in until well into the track.

Over the Hills and Far Away starts off with some nice acoustic guitar before the band pile in full force. Bonham and Jones hold down a tight groove whilst Page riffs away over the top. Not a bad track but not one of the better Zeppelin rockers. The Crunge follows and is the first of the gimmicky tracks. It's a James Brown influenced Funk number with some good Drumming from Bonham but ultimately falls a little flat and is a bit of a filler track we could well do without.

Much better is Dancing Days, the intro having an eastern vibe to it but overall the track has a happy summery feel to it. The Reggae vibe of D'yer Mak'er follows and is another disappointment and throwaway track. This is Bonhams track, his Drums well to the fore.

Onto the second Epic of the album, No Quarter is Jones' baby and his keyboards take a front seat. It's an atmospheric piece with a laid back tempo. It proves to be one of the best tracks here and also has an excellent Page riff and some lovely interplay between his Guitar and Jones' Piano.

The closing track The Ocean is an excellent Zeppelin rocker with a stop/start Page riff. Just what we needed after the gimmicky feel of The Crunge and D'yer Mak'er. If those two tracks had been replaced with more rockers along the lines of this then Houses of the Holy would have been a much more rounded album. As it is, it's good but falls short after the majesty of IV.

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Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Here's where I think Led Zeppelin takes their boldest leap musically. The variety of music styles covered here is more notable here than any other Zeppelin album before this. While I admire their will to be a bit more experimental, many of the songs just don't work here.

Typical Zep affairs are found in ''The Ocean'' and ''Over the Hills...'', so not much discussion needs to take place here. ''No Quarter'' and ''The Song Remains the Same'' have weird prog rock vibes to them that elevate the songs, compositionally speaking. ''No Quarter'' is filled with electric keyboards sure to make the progster buzz with excitement even if I believe the guitars steal the show here. ''The Song Remains the Same'' carries this prog mystique to it in the same way that Black Sabbath songs around this time did; the only flaw is the vocal effect on Robert Plant, one of the worst studio tamperings I've ever heard.

Strangely, my choice cut here is ''The Crunge'', a lightweight, almost throwaway funky song with plenty of offish rhythms that make it interesting. The keyboard lines are hilariously splendid. Unfortunately, the fun ends with a half-lame ballad (''The Rain Song''), a laughable reggae attempt (''D'yer Maker'') and a horrible rock song (''Dancing Days'').

I never have been fond of Led Zeppelin, and this album did little to change that. Raise the rating a half-star for the experimental efforts here.

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Posted Saturday, February 23, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Over the hills and far away from IV

Zeppelin's fifth album, Houses Of The Holy is a completely different beast from the albums released by the band before this point. While there's a lot of the band's old sound still kicking around, this one is more refined and more slick than their previous albums. It wasn't going to be an easy task following up their highest acclaimed album, IV (or Zoso, or Runes or whatever you want to call it), the band seemed to ave done well and produced what is likely their best hard rock album - maybe not the most proggy, but that's okay. The pomp, pseudo-epics may not be kicking around, but we still have some slickly written and recorded tunes that do not easily let down - including some of the Zep's best known tunes.

No mercy right off the bat, and the album is going to continue on that way. The Song Remains The Same has Plant's voice at it's highest, sometimes reminiscent of Queen's Brighton Rock (which would come out a year later, but still...) we're hit with some great hard rock. Page does what he does best and provides the riffs which Zep rides on so well while the rhythm section simply pounds along underneath. Also right off the bat a precedent is set for the album that this isn't going to be filled with particularly catchy tunes, most of them relying on a refrain rather than a chorus and most of the memorable parts come in well thought out melodies than a repeated hook. But hey, Zep's been great with that all along, no? Other heavier songs on the album include the supposedly improvised (lyrically) The Crunge with it's silly sections (''have you seen the bridge?''), and the dark No Quarter - this one more proggy thanks to it's speed and length.

Still it wouldn't be Zep without the pure rock tunes. There's a lot of those on this album, including (as previously mentioned) soe of the band's best known tunes. Over The Hills And Far Away is a calm tune with another excellent bunch of riffs from Page. Plant's voice comes in to bring in some great melodies coupled with Page's already great guitar. More great riffs come out of the later half of the album such as the wonderful Dancing Days (my personal favorite Zep song coupled with The Rover from Physical Graffiti). D'Yer Mak'er is another classic with it's smooth riff almost dipping into R&B territory, Plant provides some odd but fun vocals on this one to make for another great tune. The Ocean has yet another classic riff and some more shouting by Plant, a little bit lower in tone this time.

Of course, we can't be forgetting the longest and prettiest song on the album. Maybe not prog (although it is about 7.5 minutes), but still a wonderful piece. The Rain Song is the slowest tune on the albu with some more emotional and uplifting guitaring from Page. This song is best listened to on a cool night in the fall - absolutely wonderful and peaceful, just gorgeous. The instrumental sections are played with orchestration coming into the background to make for a very, very happy, yet slow sounding piece. One of Zep's best tunes.

For me personally, this album deserves a five star rating - but nostalgia really shouldn't take over the mark here. This may be a masterpiece by Zep, but it's not essential to every Prog collection. Every rock colleciton? Yes - but as a prog album this one is going to get a high 4. Absolutely wonderful hard rock with a slight progressive lean. Recommended to anyone who likes Led Zeppelin or 70s hard rock in any way, shape or form.

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Posted Monday, August 25, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Houses of the Holy is the fifth studio album from UK hard rockers Led Zeppelin and the first album where they showcase their more progressive side. It´s also the first album that moves Led Zeppelin one step away from their basic bluesy hard rock sound. Led Zeppelin incorporated folky elements on Led Zeppelin III but the few progressive elements that Led Zeppelin have in their music started on Houses of the Holy IMO.

Houses of the Holy is a very varied album and it´s obvious that the band didn´t only want to be labelled as a bluesy hard rock band anymore. Houses of the Holy hosts both a funky track in The Crunge and a reggae influenced song in D´yer Ma´ker and we have to wait until the last song called The Ocean to hear the most straight bluesy hard rock song on the album. Before that we´re treated with some great songs in The Song Remains The Same and The Rain Song which employs strings and could be considered a bit symphonic. Over The Hills And Far Away is a rocker and the same can be said about Dancing Days while No Quarter is another track with progressive tendencies.

I like most songs on the album but both The Crunge and D'yer Ma'ker leaves a lot to be desired IMO. There´s nothing wrong with diversity on an album but both songs are repetitive and weak compositions that always makes me cringe in embarressement. Led Zeppelin = Reggae and Funk? No way. I´ve never been impressed by those songs.

The musicianship is excellent and as it´s hard not to be impressed with Jimmy Page inventive guitar riffing in songs like The Song Remains The Same,Dancing Days, The Rain Song and No Quarter.

The production is not too my taste. It lacks the warmth of the early albums IMO.

I´m all in for experimentation and trying new things but I think Led Zeppelin lost some of their original appeal with Houses of the Holy. Sadly they would never regain that appeal and subsequent albums just got weaker and weaker. Houses of the Holy is still an enjoyable album though and deserves either a BIG 3 star rating or a SMALL 4 star rating. I´m most inclined to give a 3 star rating though. There are simply too many weak or average moments on the album.

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Posted Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album contains four (perhaps 5) of the best Zeppelin tracks of all time. It also contains 3 listenable but average tracks that became more prevalent as the band went on from here. It still has the classic Zep sound that is never quite present after this album. From here the production gets a little slicker, the focus seems to get lost, something that I love about Zep is not quite there.

I have a special relationship with The Rain Song. From the first time I watched the Song Remains the Same film, I have loved this song and learned to play it. At first, I learned the extremely awkward and incomplete standard tuning version, which still gave me a certain pleasure to play. When I finally discovered a transcription of the piece in Page's original tuning, the world opened to me. I still remember going outside on rainy nights to strum along in a kind of communion with falling water. Experimenting with non-standard tunings became part of my musical identity and The Rain Song was the standard I set as the pinnacle.

Over the Hills and Far Away was another of the tunes that was part of my guitar training. The interplay of electric and acoustic parts was what Pagey was all about, what made Zep so much more than Sabbath, so much more than heavy metal.

Song Remains the Same, No Quarter, and The Ocean are all classics of the Zeppelin catalog that I still love after dozens if not hundreds of listens. These songs are completely distinct in feel and arrangement, a testament to the enormous breadth of Jimmy Page and the band in general.

The Crunge, Dyer Maker, Dancing Days are certainly move average songs but don't ruin the album for me. I don't feel the need to fast forward though I'd never pick them out to listen to.

This is a pretty solid 4.5 star album for me. Don't feel right rounding up to a perfect score.

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Posted Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Houses Of The Holy' - Led Zeppelin (9/10)

Despite the seemingly lacking appreciation on this site for this album (at least compared to the other works of the band) I would have to say this is my favourite Led Zeppelin album of all time; even more so than 'Led Zeppelin IV.' It is the most progressive sounding, and in basically disowning their blues roots, the band went deeper into unexplored hard rock territory by adding some new influences to their melange, including Reggae.

The song lengths are definately starting to grow here, although there are still songs that fit the conventional 'four minute' ideal. Songs like 'The Song Remains The Same' and 'The Ocean' show considerable progressive influence as well.

In terms of flow, I don't know what people are complaining about. The opener (The Song Remains The Same) is energetic and frantic, before toning down for a really warm ballad (The Rain Song,) shifting slowly into the next song (with an acoustic opener) that fires into a pretty up tempo song ('Over The Hills And Far Away.') Next is the strange and abstract-rhythmic ('The Crunge') which could be considered prog if it wasn't for it's similarity to conventional groove music. Next is 'Dancing Days' which despite it's melodic hooks and upbeat speed, is one of the darkest-sounding tracks the band has ever recorded. To break this darkness and feeling of unease, the listener is granted 'D'Yer Maker' which is an incredibly happy song, despite it's heartbroken lyrics (an interesting contrast.) As the album sets out on it's final stretch, 'No Quarter' starts playing. While the fact that is a song that takes a long time to build up ended up causing me to mostly disregard this track when first listening to it, I've realized that it actually has a fantastic buildup to some of Led Zeppelin's best hard-rock and overdriven riffs.

The last song on the album is one of my favourites, and a perfect closer. 'The Ocean' has a memorable and rocking riff, with some intelligent lyrics sung by the ever-musically strong Robert Plant.

The guitar work on this album is without a doubt the band's most innovative. As with all progressive music, this shows the band exploring new sounds and tastes of new forms of musical expression. I love it, and along with 'Led Zeppelin IV,' this makes up the high point of one of the greatest bands of all time. Epic.

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Posted Friday, March 13, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
2 stars After being extremely productive over a short span of three years the band finally took one year studio break before recording Houses Of The Holy. But once the album was out it showed the listeners many new shades of the band's sound.

Led Zeppelin might not be entirely progressive but they sure seemed to find it difficult to keep on track. Every time I though that I had them figured out the band would reinvent themselves and explore a different music direction on the next album. Of course I can imagine the unbearable pressure of having to follow up Led Zeppelin IV is a tough one and going in a new and fresh direction is much easier than striving for new heights in the one already explored.

Having said all that it all actually sums up to the following statement: I never liked this album!

This might seem kind of strange considering that the album before and after it are so good. Yes, the album opener is another excellent classic but then we're treated by one disappointment after the other. It is only towards the end of the album that we finally get another strong performance in the form of No Quarter but by that time the album is almost finished. I just feel that the material is laking and that it's a Led Zeppelin experiment gone wrong. Oh, did I mention that besides disliking blues I actually hate reggae? Well now you know!

***** star songs: The Song Remains The Same (5:32)

**** star songs: No Quarter (7:00)

*** star songs: The Rain Song (7:39) Over The Hills And Far Away (4:50) The Crunge (3:17) Dancing Days (3:43) D'yer Mak'er (4:23) The Ocean (4:31)

Total Rating: 3,44

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Posted Monday, December 14, 2009

Review by thehallway
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Some bands fail when it comes to diversity. Led Zeppelin are the opposite. Why? Because they only attempt styles which they understand and appreciate, never venturing miles away from their comfort zone. = 'Houses of the Holy'

This is my personal favourite Led Zeppelin album. There's a mixture of genres here, but it remains loyal to the Led Zep format of riff-rock and acoustic wanderings. It's also the band's only album without a meandering blues jam (which I actually find a bit of a shame). The opening track is as familiar in style to previous albums, yet somewhat progressively, enters a world of more interesting and colourful chords, contrasting themes and passages, and an overture-like construction. But whats so great about it is that it still manages to completely rock out; and it's complexity can simply wash over those who aren't progressively inclined. I'm already impressed. Then we have the majestic and beautiful 'The Rain Song'. When I first heard this, I couldn't get enough; I was almost crying by the 5th listen. And again, it fulfils all the qualities of previous acoustic tunes, yet compositionally, is far more advanced. Plant's lyrics are fantastic too. Then in the style of 'Ramble On' or 'Tangerine', we are treated to another acoustic/electric hybrid. 'Over the Hills and far Away', following the trend, is just as accessible as previous albums' songs, yet more technical and mature, with developed sections and a suitable intro and coda. So after three "safely Zeppelin" yet developed and progressive songs, we begin to enter the extremes of the album, the diverse, the controversial, the "marmite", the crunge...

'The Crunge' is very funky. It's weird, quite humerous in approach, and not really a significant track. But in terms of the conventions of the James-Brown-esque funk scene, it's faultless. Led Zeppelin CAN do funk, so what's stopping them. Of course if that bridge was present, it would be as progressive as the first three songs, but then it wouldn't be funk! 'Dancing Days' is the only real weak track on the album; it's sort of hippy rock with pop sensibilities, but doesn't deliver the same sort of standards as the tracks on side 1. 'D'yer Mak'er', another genre-prod (this time reggae) is, no one can deny it, very catchy. It probably contains the most clichéd chord sequence EVER, and Bonham's drumming is a little too hard for reggae, but it's hard to criticise when you find yourself dancing to it. Then comes 'No Quarter', the prog-jam. This is another reason why John-Paul Jones is the most talented member of the band. The piano and jazz guitar solos are the climax. It's dark and powerful, almost Floyd-esque. And of course 'The Ocean' is a great 7/8 riff-rocker to end a great album, complete with beach boogie vocal harmonies in it's climactic coda.

Here, Led Zeppelin expand their own genre impressively, and visit other genres with a loyal and light-hearted approach. Much like it's artwork, 'Houses...' is this band's most colourful album.

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Posted Monday, April 19, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars After the commercial success of their first 4 album, Zeppelin continued to reinvent themselves an instead of delivering a clone of the previous album, they went in an entirely different direction.

Or should that be directions?

The diversity on the album sure doesn't help to build a consensus about it. Some fans love this one a lot, others find it mediocre. I sure do praise Zeppelin's ambition to look forward, but the album simply lacks consistency. It's as if Zeppelin deliberately wanted to make songs in specific styles here, hard rock, blues, funk, reggae? and it comes off forced because of it. The lengthier songs are the best and are almost proggy. Even the beautiful artwork hints in that direction.

Some tracks are average at best. The Song Remains The Same takes a good start but runs out of ideas after less then a minute. Also Over The Hills misses the inspiration and the holy fire that burned on previous Zeppelin albums. The band really sounds tired and worn on all those tracks. The thin production doesn't help. On top of that, a lot of people cringe from the funk of The Crunge and the reggae of 'Jamaica'. I find these rather pleasant really, but they probably shouldn't have made it onto the album. They rather sound like B-side material.

Two songs work really well. The Rain Song sounds a bit aged, but it has a touching melancholy that almost turns syrupy, but luckily Zeppelin stays on the right side of the line dividing sentimental pose from heartfelt honesty. The album also has that one essential track that makes it so hard to give it just a little 3 stars. No Quarter is a slowly brooding blues song that has almost morphed in to progressive rock due to the dreamy dark ambience and remarkable keyboard and piano work. Also the pumping rock of Dancing Days and The Ocean aren't bad. Unfortunately they threw in a cheesy rockabilly section near the end of that last one.

One 5 star track on a 2.5 star album. Equals a thin 3 stars.

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Posted Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars What a mixed bag this album is. After creating one of the greatest rock albums of all time, Led Zeppelin returned with a just OK follow up. Despite some great songs, The Song Remains The Same, Over The Hills And Far Away (my wife's favorite song), and especially No Quarter, the Zep also has some pandering drivel. The Crunge is disco funk, supposedly a tribute to James Brown, but it falls flat on it's beat. And D'Yer Maker, once you get past the pun in the title, is not even halfway decent reggae. I can't figure out why it still gets so much airplay.

Nonetheless, the rest of the tracks make it a good album.

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Posted Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's tough to say what exactly happened, but for album number five, Led Zeppelin decided to make an album completely unlike anything they'd made before. I don't think it's necessarily that the band was looking to become more diverse as a whole; were that the case, they would likely have made further "experimental" albums subsequent to this, whereas they immediately went back to "basics" on their next album. It's possible that the band had looked around and seen that prog-rock was the big fad of the day and wanted to try its hand at it, but whatever happened, the band pushed itself in directions for this album that it would never pursue again.

For the first three tracks, this seems like one of the best things that the band ever did. The opening track, "The Song Remains the Same," sounds very much like the band trying to do a Yes song (don't laugh; what do you think the band was listening to in 1972, the commercial hey-day of British prog rock?), and I think they do a pretty good job of it. I can actually see somebody disliking it for much the same reasons that somebody would dislike a mid-70's Yes rocker ("Roundabout" or "Siberian Khatru," for instance); it doesn't have any real, "tangible" emotional kick to it, and it's relatively lacking in "conventional" structure (though I wouldn't say it has none; there is a melody buried in all of the ruckus, and the acceleration near the end just seems like the perfect capstone to the song). Personally, though, I think it just sounds amazingly cool, and that's enough; the layers upon layers of speedy ringing electric guitars give a sound unlike anything else in the Zeppelin catalogue, and Plant's sped-up vocal delivery is at least novel enough not to irritate it me as much as it might some others. And man, I might just be a sucker for little cool moments like this in general, but I'll be hornswaggled if that "da-da-da da-da-da DA da-da-da da-da da-daa..." part in the middle doesn't grab me every time.

Up next is the utterly gorgeous ballad "Rain Song," featuring what has to be considered one of the best (if not the best) uses of mellotron among all hard rock and heavy metal bands of that era. There isn't really any melody, just a lot of acoustic strumming overlayed with electric guitar and various keyboards, but as a mood piece, it's utterly incredible. Heck, even Bonzo exercises delicate restraint and care (except for the "climactic" part, where he starts hitting hard as usual), and the end result is a track that really has no parallels (that I'm aware of) in classic rock. The following "Over the Hills and Far Away," on the other hand, has some resemblance to "Ramble On" in its feel and acoustic/electric mix, but it's far superior, with a playful acoustic opening and a terrific minimalistic solo within.

So after three tracks, it seems like Led Zeppelin branching out is one of the better decisions in the history of rock music; the band really sounds like it can do just about anything at this point ... and then they completely blow it over the next three tracks. "The Crunge" has some humor value, but as an earnest funk number, it's an utter travesty. To say Plant is obnoxious on this track is to say nothing, and the band is incredibly stiff in backing him up. Give me the Stones and "Hot Stuff" any day over this tripe. Then, flipping over to side two, we get "Dancing Days," which I've always hated and always will hate. Both the rhythm track and Plant's vocals on the song hurt me like a cluster headache (a pain that can best be compared to a giant icicle stabbed through my eye-socket). And then there's "D'yer Maker," which is one of the lamest attempts at reggae I've ever heard, and inexplicably the song from the album that seems to get the most airplay (it's things like this that explain why I completely swore off listening to classic rock radio). Gee, guys, thanks for offsetting one of the best three-song stretches in your catalogue with one of the worst three- song stretches in your catalogue.

Fortunately, the band is at least nice enough to follow this string of futility with one of the best songs they'd ever do, the Viking epic "No Quarter." I actually once disliked it, mostly because of the vocals (for some reason, I always ended up picturing Kermit the Frog singing when I listened to it), but I was a moron. The song is a fantastic, dark, mythical sounding piece, with everything you could want out of such a number. The ominous, muffled vocals and the growling, menacing guitar riff are amazing, but it's really the keyboards that make the song (Jones again). Somehow, everything just comes together, and I just can't help but think of a giant viking ship coming out of the mist in all its silent power and glory. There's wind, there's water, and more than anything there's cold. It would actually get even better live, strangely enough, but this version is just jaw- dropping.

And finally, there's "The Ocean," which lots of people love but I only sorta like in this incarnation (the middle a capella section is the best part, as far as I'm concerned). In summary, then, there are four great tracks, one okay song, and three I'd just as soon never hear again. Truth be told, I probably shouldn't give this more than a high *** (come on, I could live without ever hearing half the tracks on here again), but then again, the best songs tend to be really awesome (and longer than the bad ones), so I guess a low **** is fine for it. I can understand loving it (I adored it at one point before I realized I hated "D'yer Maker" and "Dancing Days"), but that's not really a sentiment I can completely share.

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Posted Friday, July 30, 2010

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was never a big Led Zeppelin fan. Oh, fine, being a teenager in the 70´s I was quite aware of their big success and already large influence. In fact, I liked LZ. But not much. I guess you could call me a casual fan. I much rather hear Deep Purple or Uriah Heep at the time. But some songs I did appreciate, fo course. I actually never owned one of their albums. hHuses of The Holy, however, was the one I liked better when I found out about them. A friend lent me a copy and I remember I recorded it in a cassette that I had for a long time.

Only recently I had the chance to hear this record again and I can say it is still my fave Zeppelin album. That might sound strange for most fans of the group, since this is one of the less charactheristic sounding LPs they did. And this is quite the reason I enjoyed so much: it´s one of their most progressive and the one where John Paul Jones really blossomed on the keyboards. There are some great unsual songs like The Rain Song (one of their most beautiful tunes ever), No Quarter and Over The Hills And Far Away. Dancing Days which had a great guitar riff and the funny D´yer Mak´er were always favorites of mine when I was 15.

I had a lot of respect for LZ and I guess I´ll have to hear all their records again to see if I did miss something or if they were indeed not my cup of tea. But for this one I must give a fair rating, since I still find it quite atractive after all these years. Four stars.

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Posted Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars If anybody released an album cover like that in this day and age, they would be charged with child pornography. This is the album that would appeal most to prog fans who don't enjoy classic hard rock. I can understand some having a problem with the stylistic variety on this album. To me, however, that is one of the album's strengths. Houses Of The Holy has a lot in common with In Through The Outdoor in that both are not very hard rock-oriented, rather they explore different genres and sounds.

"No Quarter" is a pure prog song as far as I'm concerned, and it's a great one. John Paul Jones gets even more keyboard-centred on this album than previous ones. He does a great job with the Mellotron, synth and electric piano. "The Song Remains The Same" features Robert Plant's vocals slightly sped-up. This is another proggy song. One of the best parts of the album is the buildup in "The Rain Song" when Bonham comes in. Even the least proggy songs here("The Crunge", "Dancing Days", "D'Yer Mak'er", and "The Ocean") are among my favourite Zep songs. I've heard that James Brown's drummers at the time could not figure out how Bonham did that funky beat on "The Crunge". This is a funky song but is also complicated. "D'Yer Mak'er" was a reggae song at a time when most people outside the Caribbean had never heard reggae.

In many ways this was the last great Zep album. This album is proof that even big name rock bands wanted to experiment in the early 1970s. Maybe I forgot to mention that there is some dude here named Jimmy Page as well. He really starts overdubbing his guitar parts with this record. Later albums will almost be a sea of guitars. JPJ is the star of the show I think. This would be a very different album(and band) without him. A great classic rock album that would be of interest to many proggers. 4 stars.

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Posted Saturday, February 05, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Though I found it fairly impressive on the first few listens, I personally find that Houses of the Holy is a bit of a "hollow" album - once you get over Led Zeppelin's confident move away from blues-rock (proving that, contrary to the opening track, the songs really haven't remained the same), it's hard to say that the new approach showcased on this album has much to recommend it beyond a bit of superficial flash. Two of the tracks on here are simply terrible - a third-rate attempt at reggae (D'yer Ma'ker) which mangles the reggae sound so horribly that I cringe every time I hear it, and the James Brown "tribute" The Crunge - I say "tribute" because if someone did such a lazy, unimaginative and un-funky parody of my work, I certainly wouldn't feel that they were paying tribute to me.

As for the other songs, aside from the dramatic and foreboding No Quarter - to me, the saving grace of the album - we're dealing with middle-of-the-road classic rock from a band which had formerly defined the cutting edge. The Rain Song, in particular, suggests to me that Led Zeppelin were out of ideas at this point: oh look, it's a gentle ballad awash with Mellotron. That totally hadn't got old by 1972. Snore.

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Posted Monday, August 08, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars Led Zeppelin's follow up to their masterpiece is a let down.

"Houses of the Holy" was the first Zeppelin album I could not get into like the other 4. It certainly has some shining moments such as the astounding 'The Song Remains The Same' and unforgettable works such as 'No Quarter', but the rest is a bit of a blur over the years. The album simply does not reach the peak of its predecessors.

There is beauty in the music such as 'The Rain Song' and the innovation of tracks like reggae inspired 'D'yer Ma'ker' are undisputable. However, the problem is there are no killer tracks that peak at the top of Led Zeppelin lists for me. Nothing comes close to the likes of Zeppelin classics 'Immigrant Song', 'Whole Lotta Love', 'Stairway to Heaven', 'Black Dog' or 'Dazed and Confused', instead there is a straight rock feel ; it is a straight forward approach and we ZepHeads are so used to inventive diversity with vocal Plantisms and Page's dextrous playing.

The album comes into some very mediocre territory with the likes of 'The Crunge', with its funked up rhythm. 'Dancing Days' is an un-Zeppelin sound that never resonated with me. 'Over The Hills And Far Away' is just a flower power ballad. 'The Ocean' admittedly is a great closer but by then it is too late, the album has already lost interest for me.

Overall, this is not the best or worst Zeppelin but sits somewhere in the middle. The music rocks but is nothing outstanding. It is no masterpiece and is more flawed than some may have you believe. 3 stars for the few excellent tracks.

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Posted Monday, September 26, 2011

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Houses of the Holy is the sister masterpiece to Led Zeppelin's fourth album. It too consists of eight tracks, two of them lengthier pieces, and the material combines heavy-hitting rock with flowery harmonic wonders, rendering it equally dynamic. Flaws are few and far between- the enchantment is throughout.

"The Song Remains the Same" A rumbling rhythm charges through. Before the main riff, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones dance around each other on their respective instruments. John Bonham's drumming complements the gritty booming as it always does. When Robert Plant enters, the music adopts a less energetic mood, with whiny, bluesy lead guitar bends. The bass playing stands out the most for me in this upbeat opener. "The Song Remains the Same" is one of those examples demonstrating how Led Zeppelin was a band that could take what a first glance might be a straightforward rock song and make it progressive and unique.

"The Rain Song" Hazy and languid, with lazy acoustic guitar and dreamy washes of Mellotron, "The Rain Song" may well be my favorite Led Zeppelin song, though I am often torn between this and "Stairway to Heaven." While their most famous piece may well have that title, this is the one that makes me feel like I'm going to leave the road and drive right up to the sun. The lyrics remain a mystery to me in Jon Anderson fashion, and I'm just fine with that. Here is a progressive rock masterpiece.

"Over the Hills and Far Away" A radio favorite, this tune opens with a jaunty acoustic guitar and light vocals before crashing into the cacophonic main riff and shrill vocals. It's a happy, carefree song with interesting layers of guitar and a quirky use of ascending notes. The end is one of the band's quietest moments, chiming out, chiming back in, and ending on a tranquil country bend.

"The Crunge" Here's where the album takes a squirrely turn. The drummer thunders in "When the Levee Breaks" style, with the bass laying down the funk. It's a disco-rock number where Plant rattles off the lyrics in streetwalker style, practically ad-libbing.

"Dancing Days" It's hard not to bob one's head along with the main groove here. The droning verses lead into a typically whiny chorus with slide guitar interruptions.

"D'yer Ma'ker" Cranking up what I call the "oldies chord progression" (I-vi-IV-V), Led Zeppelin still manages to keep the song danceable and velvety, while offering a heavier chorus. The lyrics are on the schmaltzy side, but fit the tenor of the music so well that it's hard not to imagine them in place.

"No Quarter" The second of two extended pieces, I could have sworn I'd heard Porcupine Tree cover this one. In a way, I suppose I had: "My Ashes" from Fear of a Blank Planet seems to borrow heavily from "No Quarter," in both tone and composition. It is another progressive rock masterpiece from this English quartet, featuring hushed passages, a dark atmosphere, warlike lyrics, and an evocative use of effects.

"The Ocean" Chalk up another great riff for Led Zeppelin. It has two segments, bridged by a gap of drums only. The main song breaks in the middle for a blues rock interlude followed by a fabulous melodic passage- an excellent rocker, without question.

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Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars Houses of the Holy, I think, is the cream of the Led Zeppelin crop. Looking at the ratings for other Led Zeppelin albums on this site, I see that Physical Graffiti and 4 have higher overall scores. As I mentioned in my review of 4, maybe it's just a matter of oversaturation. You don't hear so ... (read more)

Report this review (#1134765) | Posted by thwok | Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#928411) | Posted by FragileKings | Monday, March 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Houses of the Holy is arguably Led Zeppelin's most progressive effort, and consequently is my favorite. Perhaps what I like most is the eclecticism they achieved in this album. There is a plethora of styles present as the band is not being contained to the simple rock of their past albums. You ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#771434) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A pretty good, but not great Led Zepplin from 1973 with a cool vibe. Some classics are here like "The Crunge", "No QUarter", and "The Song Remains the Same", but just too much middling and filler type songs thrown in. I always have thought that if Led Zepplin combined half of each release with the ... (read more)

Report this review (#733599) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Such a holy experience! In my opinion The Houses of The Holy is far superiour aboth Led Zepplin's previous IV record. The styl changed from straight forward bluesbased hard-rock to experimental hard- rock with funky, orchestral and jazzy influences. Because of the experimental value of this ... (read more)

Report this review (#610186) | Posted by the philosopher | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After the success of LZ4 or Zoso, Led Zeppelin had a lot of pressure on their shoulders to create a follow up. While I rated this album a three, I would give it a 3.5 rating. While Houses of the Holy features some of the group's most outstanding work, it also contains some mediocre tracks that ... (read more)

Report this review (#590870) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Sunday, December 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 This is the second disc I listen to Led Zeppelin after his self-titled debut and I can not fail to show how much I'm impressed. Having just come off a resounding success as Led Zeppelin IV the band course has all the pressure to produce a successor can match. The result? An album tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#571887) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, November 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are some underrated albums on this site and this is one of them. The song remains the same deserves 5 stars for the entire album (IMHO), what about the rest? I was jokimg... Rain song deserves alone 5 stars for the entire album, not The song remains the same, this one deserves 4 stars, to ... (read more)

Report this review (#530489) | Posted by ridemyfacetochicago | Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think this album took hard-rock to soaring new heights because there are aspects from nearly any genre. It includes some of the most creative tracks that the band ever produced. There is also a more dramatic feel with Houses of the Holy. "The Rain Song" is possibly one of the most beautiful p ... (read more)

Report this review (#485451) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 sty ... (read more)

Report this review (#456261) | Posted by dreadpirateroberts | Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Houses of the Holy ' 1973 (3/5) 9 ' Best Song: Rain Song (It's actually great. Too bad nothing else is) Hmmm, Very off-putting, I found. I guess this is the 'real' Led Zeppelin goes to experimentation park ' where the picnics are full of toneless jams and butter pecan pseudo-film score spreads. ... (read more)

Report this review (#441820) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 02, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Houses of the Holy just might be my favourite Led Zeppelin album (along with Physical Graffiti). Still it is far from being perfect. In fact, to me this album is strangely divided in two sections: There are the classic songs, and then there are the bad apples. There's little middle ground to be f ... (read more)

Report this review (#231146) | Posted by nikow | Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I used to hate this album more than any other Led Zeppelin release but I think it wasn't fair to treat this album like that. After 4 very popular albums Zepps decided to release something more hmm experimental. But that's half true in fact. To be honest we still have to do with old fashined clas ... (read more)

Report this review (#214652) | Posted by LSDisease | Sunday, May 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Houses of the Holy 4/5 An album that sees a wide variety of experimentation from the gods of blues based bombast. There are many elements of this album that see the further exploration of progressive tendancies on IV ('Songs Remains the Same', 'The Rain Song', 'Over the Hills and Far Away', ... (read more)

Report this review (#209228) | Posted by mr.cub | Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although the trilogy of albums consisted by IV,Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti(related almost exclusevely by popularity)is clearly less 'humble' and spontaneous than the earliest Led Zeppelin material,these three albums are also fairly more satisfatory in the sum-up of the band's fant ... (read more)

Report this review (#205457) | Posted by Gustavo Froes | Wednesday, March 04, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I know this album isn't too highly regarded on this site, but I have to give it five stars because it is my absolute favorite Zeppelin album. The only song that took a little time to grow on me was Dancing Days, but I really do like it now. This album was simply their most experimental to date. ... (read more)

Report this review (#193926) | Posted by evantate09 | Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Variation being the motto of the day. Led Zeppelin needs no introduction. Led Zeppelin is without any doubt the biggest and best rock'n'roll band this planet has ever seen. And yes, I rate them well above The Rolling Stones. This, their fifth album follows and broaden the path they took on th ... (read more)

Report this review (#189162) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With Houses Of The Holy Led Zeppelin all but left behind the Blues-Rock style that had dominated their first three albums. On tracks like the energetic, multi-layered Psych-Rock of The Song Remains The Same, the Funk driven groove of The Crunge or D'yer Mak'er's Doo-Wop/Reggae fusion Led Zeppeli ... (read more)

Report this review (#170157) | Posted by TheRocinanteKid | Wednesday, May 07, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars No obvious to exceed 4 monstrous first albums of LED ZEPPELIN (especially II and IV). But the Houses of the holy doing not bad at all, with the presence of success such as No Quarter (a classical concert that can last up to 36 minutes), D'yer Mak'er, The Rain Song, and The Song Remains The Sam ... (read more)

Report this review (#166482) | Posted by Amaury | Saturday, April 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first Zeppelin album to have a real name - not just a number, or a suite of runes ! Houses Of The Holy contains some great songs, and is probably the most progressive Zeppelin album. Just listen to No Quarter, The Song Remains The Same/The Rain Song or the Tolkien-inspired Over The Hills And ... (read more)

Report this review (#164055) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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