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


Led Zeppelin


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3.91 | 866 ratings

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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.

Epignosis | 5/5 |


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