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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II CD (album) cover


Led Zeppelin


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3.97 | 881 ratings

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The Whistler
Prog Reviewer
4 stars First things first...that's the best album cover they ever had. No, seriously, the creepy photo of the lads in WWI gear? Sweat.

Ah, but what about the album? Well...I likes it. I likes it a bit. Not quite as good as the first one, but I hardly notice the difference most of the time. Of course, I've never had a problem with heavy blooz. If you like dem blooz, then you will adore this album. Of course, if you're more in for the cheery pop feel...well, den you picked up the wrong album, boy.

"Whole Lotta Love" is clearly the best track on the album. Hell, it's ALMOST as good as "Dazed!" All-right. A riff that's so dumb it's cool, all those little sounds effects and, uh, "sounds of joy" springing up everywhere, the neat percussion. Oh, plus, some really great, rapid-fire blues licks too. Some of Page's best crap. Real "deep" lyrics too. Heh...

"What is and What Should Never Be" starts out like a ballad, very gentle, very pleasant. But then, the headbanging begins. And it's actually good. Cool guitar, and I don't even mind Robbie's improv as it fades. "The Lemon Song" is just a basic blues workout, so the melody is good, if not remarkable. However, the band gels flawlessly; Page wails, Jones thumps (GREAT thumps too), Bonzo keeps brilliant time. Hell, even Plant's vocals are good.

The instrumentation to "Thank You" is pretty good, the organ is good for atmosphere (although does it HAVE to go on so long at the end, and then come back?). But the melody isn't quite as good, and the lyrics, uh, leave a bit to be desired. Nice acoustic guitar though. Wait, who said "sissy folk crap?" "Heartbreaker" ought to cure you of that. A nice, layered riff, combined with some more headbanging blues. The solo ain't no great shake, just stick with those loud blast of METAL that jump out during the verses. And that riff.

That flows right into "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)," which is, oddly enough, a piece of heavy boogie-woogie. And I actually like it a bit. "Take a ride on the roundabout." So THAT'S where Yes got it from... Heh. Sorry. Couldn't resist another stab at the Yessers. "Ramble On" is a somewhat interesting number. It's got a folksy sort of intro, but the chorus is booming. And I kind of like the lil' vocals that spill from every which way.

Now "Moby Dick" is actually the most disappointing song on the album. I mean, I KNEW it was gonna be a drum solo, but this is Bonzo we're talking about! I expected an attack! Instead, all I get is this boring drum noodling. But it's not really rhythmic either; it starts that way, but it quickly dissolves to...drum atmospherics? I guess someone must like this. I mean, if it were just "look how hard I can hit the kit," I could at least admire the technique, but it's just...nothing. Well, at least it's not THAT long. And a cool riff too. Well, kinda cool.

Anyway, "Bring it on Home" starts right up to finish off the album. Robbie's vocals are kind of slurred; I think he was singing through the harmonica. I also think he was trying to sound black...oh, wait! Train reference! Yep. One more heavy blues. The guitar is distorted as well. Decent closer. No where near the opener, of course.

So this album basically showcases the Zep at some of its headbanging best, if, as I said, you're in for the heavy blues haul. And I don't mind that one bit. I also said it's just a bit of a step down from the first album; that's because the tunes are a little less memorable as a whole, but the whole thing just flows so damn well, I can't help but give it the same rating.

The lyrics are sort of interesting, because they seem to be an attempt to marry blues ethics with medieval pretensions ("What is and Never Should Be," "Living Loving Maid." "Ramble On." OH, how it's on that one, "OH! BABY BABE, GOLLUM, HE STO-O-OLE MAH WOMAN!"). Of course, there's also about a billion more "babybabybabes" here too. So, ugh, let's leave the lyrics in the dust, and focus on the riffs instead.

Yeah, the riffs man. This has got to be one of the Zep's most riff-heavy albums (er, GOOD riff-heavy albums) ever. Page must have really been digesting a lot of Black Sabbath's latest stuff...that, uh, wouldn't come out for another year or so...

Anyway, I just really, really, REALLY need to stress this one more time. If you like the Zepsters boozy 'n bloozy, then you'll need this album. If you like 'em shrouded 'n mystical, you'll probably want this album. If you like 'em hoppy 'n poppy, then which Led Zeppelin are YOU listening to? Send me an album, might be interesting.

The Whistler | 4/5 |


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