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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.93 | 908 ratings

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4 stars Album II had left me wondering how Zeppelin could have lost the powerful drive of the debut so quickly. But on III they reclaimed their edge. This album has only a few tracks that register as rock, but even with the abundance of acoustic material this album is entirely focussed and compelling again. They also recovered from the stagnation of the previous album and took a bold step forward by integrating lots of folk influences. There are even some signs of what later would become heavy metal.

The album kicks off with one of the highlights. Immigrant Song got all the adrenaline and energy you can expect from Zeppelin, it's packed into 2.25 minutes and driven forward by one of the first riffs in rock history that scream metal to me. The repetitive staccato riff, the furious speed of it (we're 1970 remember), the heavily pounding drums, Plant's piercing cry. It would all become typical features of the genre, all it took was Judas Priest picking it up and mixing it with the dark subject matter of Sabbath. And metal was born. But that's another story.

Apart from the two other rock songs (Celebration Day and Out On The Tiles), the bulk of the album is soft and folksy. But luckily it's not your typical woolly flower power campfire mellowness, this is folk with balls. On tracks like Friends and Gallows Pole Page's urgent acoustic guitar strumming and Plant's wail blow off the dust that usually lies in thick layers on the folk from those years. When Bonham joins with his heavily pounding drums, this folk simply rocks.

With its folksy touch, Zeppelin took a brave step forward. As usual, taking risks comes with a few flaws. On Tangerine for instance they fail to inject the folk material with their own touch, it's a pure folk song and not one that appeals much to me. That's The Way is another straightforward folk tune, but this one got a more compelling atmosphere, one of my favs here. There's only one a few true blues songs on the album, Since I've Been Loving You is a classic one that doesn't need an introduction. Hats off to Roy Harper is a bit of classic blues fun that closes the album on a pleasant tone.

Zeppelin III is a diverse and mature album, it's probably not the favourite of the rock fans in the Zeppelin audience, but it has next to no flaws and it offers something for everyone, for folkies, blues fans, rockers and even for metal fans that want to explore a genre original. It's not as strong as the debut but it's a Zeppelin album that I will never get tired off. 3.5 stars

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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