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2 stars Ah! Good ol' Zed Leppelin is now a part of our site. Zeppelin were one of the first 70s rock bands I got into, as I found a box set of all studio recordings for a price of 20$ at a garage sale. I particularly remember liking this one, along with I, III and untitled. The others were just alright, in my opinion. After listening to this stuff for a couple years, I quickly realized how simple the music was. Even after years, it still offers some pleasure, but it is nothing compared to "true" prog bands. Good for fun, but not overly profound, or creative, or sophisticated. I've fond memories of Custard Pie, Trampled Under Foot, Ten Years Gone, In the Light and Houses of the Holy, but the true gem of this release was 'In my Time of Dying', which is my favourite Zeppelin song. Drumming from Bonham is good, but not more than that.

Kashmir really gets boring, and coming from someone who thoroughly enjoys minimal music, that means a lot.

Good for a bit of fun, not much else.

Report this review (#99922)
Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars Well should this album be considered as an album proper? Certainly if you consider that Tull's Living In The Past is one also. But let's face it, this is more a compilation of unreleased material (a slight difference with LITP) from throughout their career plus a few tracks specially written for the album. I am not even sure the new tracks were enough timing to make a single disc. Which does confirm the feeling that Zep was suffering a burnout and were buying time (after such a gruesome but fabulous five-years adventure) and trying to pick up the pieces.

This "compilation" unfortunately has never sat well with me even when it was released (I was 12 and had already discovered them the year before) nevermind looking at the album retrospectively as I do in this review. I always thought of this collection as heavy, dark, directionless full of second-rate material with way too few tracks to highlight it. Out of those two long discs, only Kashmir (which I am a little sick of hearing) and In My Time Of Dying manage tp perk my enthusiasm. On top of it, for the future proghead I was about to become, only Kashmir held some interest (with maybe In The Light, but I am stretching it, here), the rest of the album being relatively unadventurous. Sadly, looking at the posthumous Coda album, had I been Page, there are a few tracks I would've swapped to make this double album more happy and jumpy.

As far as the fans are concerned, lots of them will point to this collection asone of their highlights. I find it terribly over-ratyed and full of tracks that did not managed to make the cut (such the HOTH and the Bron-Y-Aur) on the previous albums.

Report this review (#99995)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars the greatest album ever made? I think so. This one has it all, the stompers, (custard Pie, the Rover, nightflight, sick again) the blues (in my time of dying), prog (in the light) and Kashmir, the pride of Led Zeppelin, to top it all. and I haven't mentioned Trampled Underfoot, and my personal favorite the Wanton song. This album has some of the best group playing, by anyone ever, great powerful production, songs to die for and a wonderful interesting cover. This is 70's rock at its absolute best, diverse, interesting and powerful. Led Zeppelin's tight but loose incarnate. I love it. and as the years go by i love it more, surely the final test.
Report this review (#100009)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the most consistently excellent double albums, the standard only drops slightly on the last track. From the awesome riff of the slightly risque "Custard Pie" onwards, this is one of the Zep's finest efforts.

The first 2 sides (talking vinyl for a moment) contain the rockier numbers, notably the Eastern-flavoured "Kashmir" and the astonishing performance that is "In My Time of Dying". Side 3 contains the gentler numbers - "In The Light", the acoustic guitar solo "Bron-y-aur", "Down by the Seaside" and the wonderful "Ten Years Gone". Side 4 contains the "poppier" short songs. "Night Flight" is a good opener, "Boogie with Stu" features the eponymous Ian Stewart on piano and the song is an old Richie Valens number which can be heard in his biopic. "Black Country Woman" features an aeroplane ("Nah, leave it") as it was recorded outdoors and frankly "Sick Again" is a bit of a dirge, ending the album on a downward note.

As Sean Trane has pointed out, some of the songs on this album were left off previous albums (we even have the title track of their previous album) but I don't believe it suffers for that. You wouldn't know they were "rejects" from hearing the album.

The album was delayed on its release due to problems with the cover - all the band would say when asked about the delay was that they were having problems with the windows. Of course with the CD release you don't even get the cut out windows, and on my CD someone idiot even cut the cough off the end of "In My Time of Dying", so beware of this. Normally a no-brainer as a 5 star album, but only 3 stars on ProgArchives.

Report this review (#100249)
Posted Friday, November 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A varied collection of older previously unreleased songs and a number of new songs. It was the first Led Zeppelin album to be released at their new founded "Swan Song" Label (managed by Peter Grant, known as "the man who led zeppelin"). A very good album yet again by this illustrious quartet.

Being a double album, there's enough room for the individuals to make their mark on this album, unfortunatly Plant suffered some throat problems, and on some of the new songs those problems affected his singing, making it a bit more raw and slightly restrained at times. But aside that all members delivered with great mucisianship and skills.

Highlights on this album are the Indian/Eastern influenced Kashmir, the blues metal of In My Time Of Dying, the heavy rock of Sick Again and The Rover, and the fabulous keyboard/drum rock of Trampled underfoot and the great guitars on Ten Years Gone. Not forgetting the acoustic guitar works on Bron-Yr-Aur. and those are just the highlights, not mentioning the good stuff like In The Light, Houses Of the Holy and The Wanton Song.

After a short break during 1974 Led Zeppelin came back with this marvelous album and re- established themselves at the top of the game. Great album, but I would start with IV, or I before embarking on this adventurous album.

Report this review (#100440)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars By the mid 70s most of us Zep fans were hoping that the band hadn't jumped the shark with their phenomenal 4th album. After all, the odd "Houses of the Holy" release hadn't been the barnburner we expected, leaving us disappointed. Yet two years later we were more than anxious to purchase and absorb their long-awaited and much-heralded double LP, relishing a return to their cool rockin' ways of earlier times. Alas, 'twas not to be. What we got was better than LZ5 but still not in the stratosphere that the 4th was. Of course we got the classic stomper that is "Kashmir," the coy "Custard Pie," the atmospheric "In the Light," the well-written and performed "Houses of the Holy" and the straight-ahead boogie bash of "The Wanton Song." But that wasn't enough to save this bloated more-than-we-needed-to-hear brontosaurus. I'm sorry, but I still cringe every time I hear the tinny "Trampled Under Foot." (I don't know what people hear in that song. Kill the clavinet, already!) Now it became sadly obvious that Zep's best days were behind them and that we should treasure the gems that they had already bestowed upon us in their formative and wildly exhilarating years. They had simply set the bar so incredibly high for themselves that they had no chance of ever clearing it again. They weren't alone, though. Their peer groups like Genesis, ELP, Jethro Tull and even Yes had done the very same thing. It was just time to move on.
Report this review (#100697)
Posted Monday, November 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A monster.

Eight fantastic newly-recorded songs...

"Custard Pie" "In My Time of Dying" "Trampled Under Foot" "Kashmir" "In the Light" "Ten Years Gone" "The Wanton Song" "Sick Again"


"Bron-Yr-Aur" recorded in 1970 during the sessions for Led Zeppelin III

"Night Flight", "Boogie with Stu" and "Down by the Seaside" recorded in 1971 during the sessions for Led Zeppelin IV

"The Rover", "Black Country Woman" and "Houses of the Holy" recorded in 1972 during the sessions for Houses Of The Holy.

Overdubs and final mixing of the older tracks were performed in 1974, thus creating a better "flow". The sequencing is brilliant.

An amazing album...

Had they simply released the eight new songs it would have been an epic album, but the addition of the older material does not dilute the impact. The new material is clearly what makes the album so great, but the older material deserved to be heard in 1975, not posthumously...bravo to Page & Company... - This is an album proper...a timeless classic of prog...of rock...of pop... 5 IRREFUTABLE STARS

Report this review (#100873)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Many people will point to Led Zeppelin's fourth album as the group's masterpiece. However, this less-celebrated double album is LZ's magnum opus.

Often considered the last great LZ album (which is not true, every hard rock fan should own all of their studio albums), Physical Graffiti is a sprawling double album consisting of new songs and outtakes from old recording sessions. However, it doesn't come off as a "mining the vaults" compilation. No, the songs sound as if they were all written for this album, despite it not being a concept piece.

As chopper said, the types of songs are divided by LP sides. 1 and 2 are the booze fuelled rockers, side three has the signature Zeppelin beauties (tracks resembling "Thank You" from II, but even better), and side four has the made for radio pop songs. Standout tracks:

"Custard Pie", "Sick Again", and "The Rover" could have easily been on Led Zeppelin I and II

"Kashmir" is a signature Zeppelin tune no less recognized than Stairway or Whole Lotta Love. This eight minute voyage has more overdubs than a Queen song, complete with an immortal riff and a hypnotic progression.

"In My Time of Dying" is a crunchy blues epic that takes the blues of the debut and masters it. Furious guitar work and crushing drums about in this 11 minute opus.

It's not often that a double album contains no filler. Every track on this album should have been a classic (one certainly was), but the absence of the song Stairway to Heaven means that most casual observers will pass up this album. I hesitate to award a prog related album five stars since they're not masterpieces of prog. However, Physical Graffiti is a masterpiece of rock music as a whole. I cannot recommend this album enough.

Grade: A

Report this review (#100882)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This with Led Zeppelin III are perhaps the best of the lot. Physical Graffiti is a double album that delivers consistently from the rockin ' Custard Pie' and ' The Rover'. The excellent bluesy ' In My Time Of Dying' - eleven odd minutes of it. ' Houses Of The Holy' is perhaps the best track on the album. I stand corrected but I was always under the impression that PG was a fully released double LP and not a hotch potch compilation made up from various rejects or outtakes that perhaps another reviewer is referencing.' Trampled Under Foot' is a great raucous rocker of a song, great keyboards and guitar work. The key to Led Zeppelin's success was the blend of all four musicians.' Kashmir', another Tolkienesque Middle Earth feeling song builds to a great climax with vocals like ' Watch the sun beat down upon my face....''...There were elders of a different race.....". Lyrics of stunning spiritual atmospheres. The music connects with the soul, powerful stuff indeed.

' In The Light' quietly begins CD2 or album 2 on the vinyl.It as a really nervy feel to it. This is soon put to bed with the delightful ' Down By The Seaside'. Another stunning piece of music. More Elvish references return on ' ten years gone' as it marches into the western reaches.' Nightflight' signifies the end more or less to the conceptual feel of the album as the rock and roll kicks in on ' Wanton song', 'Boogie with Stu'. ' Black Country Woman' and ' Sick Again' finish off the album perfectly. this is a great masterpiece with an equally enjoyable feast of a cover. This was definitely their last epic release.

Report this review (#102703)
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another excellent album. This double-album showcases two things: that Led Zeppelin is at its artistic peak and that Led Zeppelin is at its most uninspired at the same time, making it a very uneven album in terms of quality. Fortunately, the good really outweighs the mediocre, which creeps in during the 2nd half of the second disc.

the Highlights:

_In My Time of Dying: Featuring Jimmy Page on Slide guitars and John Bonham at his very best, this 11-minute long song passes really fast. Wonderful Plant performance, pounding drums, immortal guitar riffs, what more could you ask for? One of the best Led Zeppelin songs ever.

7_In The Light: The first 3 minutes is the most unique instrumental passage I have heard from Led Zeppelin. It is a synth spotlight with an echo effect, that creates a wonderful atmophere. The song has many rhythm changes, unconventional riffs and musical passages. You could say that it is a progressive rock song and is probably as good as No Quarter. Underrated masterwork!

10_ Ten Years Gone: The last highlight of the album. Starts with a wonderful acoustic motif, followed by a sad electric guitar riff. The song has an arsenal of elegant guitar riffs and top quality musicianship and melody.

The Great:

1_Custard Pie: such a fine way to begin the album. It is a great rocker that besides guitars, it has harmonica and clavinet.

2_The Rover: It is a mid-tempo hard rock song with very memorable guitar riffs. A typical high-quality Led Zeppelin rocker.

4_Houses of the Holy: I wonder why this was left out in the previous album with the same name. It is a great and catchy pop song.

6_Kashmir: A bit repetitive on the verses, but this song has many interesting musical passages, such as the symphonic riff, the part with the eastern symphonic arrangements (check out the drumming here), and the punchy guitar/Strings riff part which features great vocals by Plant.

8_Brony-Aur-Stomp: An acoustic guitar solo. Very pleasant.

9_ Down By the Seaside: A very pleasant song to play at the beach. That guitar riff in the chorus really melts me, it's beautiful.

14_ black Magic Woman: A bit sub par when compared to the other acoustic songs that Led Zeppelin did. Just a typical folk song with good vocals and pounding drumming.

the Good:

11_ Night Flight: It's a good song, but feels like a left over from another album. Just an organ-heavy blues song with good singing to elevate it to 'good' status.

12_Wanton Song: A start-stop riff dominates the piece. A second riff appears after a minute which is more more interesting and accompanied by an organ.

15_Sick Again: A nice typical rocker with a very memorable riff, but oncee again, not a very interesting song overall, and not the best way to end an excellent album.

The Mediocre:

5_ Trampled Underfoot: A kind of catchy song with the clavinet being heard throughout the song and even playing a solo. The song is nothing too special though, and the use of the clavinet really bothers me here.

13_ Boogie With Stu: Just a piano boogie jam with the Rolling Stones guy. Screams filler to me.

So there you have it, A somewhat inconsistent album with many great songs and a few lackluster ones. I still recommend it highly as there are many excellent songs that you shouldn't miss, but this is really the beginning of the end.

Report this review (#103013)
Posted Wednesday, December 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jimmy Page said that this album became a double album because "we had enough material for one and a half records, so we used previously unreleased recorded songs from the old albums to complete a double album".

This is maybe thier best album. This has some very good songs:

-"In My Time of Dying": recorded in the studio without overdubs, this is a very good song, blues related. Great drums by John Bonham.

-"Kashmir": again great drums by Bonham and very good arrangements, particularly by John Paul Jones playing the mellotron.

-"In the Light": very good keyboards by Jones. The song starts as a "dark" song which has lyrics which in the end have optimism: "If you feel that you can`t go on...everybody needs the light".

-"Bron-Yr-Aur": a very good acoustic guitar piece, which sounds with some "mystery" due to the addition of sound effects to the guitar.

-"Down by the Seaside": very similar in sound to the album "Houses of the Holy" (but originally recorded for their "III" album). With slide guitars by Page.

-"Ten Years Gone": very good guitar riffs and lead guitars by Page.

-"Night Flight": a Pop Rock song in style.

-"The Wanton Song": very good drums by Bonham and very good feedback guitar by Page.

- "Sick Again": again, very interesting and powerful drums by Bonham.

The original cover design also was very interesting.

Report this review (#103291)
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This double LP is certainly the peak of ZEPPELIN's career. Performance is top notch while some of the best guitar and drums moments are present exactly on this release. Although with songwriting and composing not entirely consistent and with more than a few fillers, it does contain several hightlights of which "Kashmir" and "In the Light" are as close to prog masterpieces as they could do. On few occasions J.P. Jones shines with his keyboards including what sounds like a funky clavinet, especially on "Custard Pie" and avalanche bomber "Trampled Underfoot"! "Ten Years Gone" and "Black Country Woman" are excellent psyche respectively folky ballads. Overall the first disc is much better, while the second is actually sort of collection of throwaways. If it were not for the mentioned tracks, it would have been a strong 3 stars album. Thus, add a half.
Report this review (#104160)
Posted Friday, December 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Kashmir, where's that? Somewhere near Morocco?

"Physical Graffiti", the first album to be released on Led Zeppelin's Swansong label, is in many ways a frustrating album. When it is good, it is astonishingly good, when it is not so good. well let's just say it's not so good. At first sight, the explanation for this would appear to lie in the fact the album combines new material with cast-offs and other surplus material recorded for previous albums. This theory is quickly dispelled however when you remember that the older tracks include excellent numbers such as "Down by the seaside", while the newer ones include more prosaic songs such as "The wanton song".

The split between new and old is about half and half, the newer songs sometimes being characterised by a different sounding vocal by Robert Plant (he had just endured a voice saving operation to remove nodules on his vocal chords).

The blues influences which dominated earlier albums are still very much in evidence on track such as the opening "Custard pie". Like many earlier songs, this one is a thinly veiled amalgam of several blue standards, the sexual innuendoes being equally thinly veiled! It is though the Moroccan influenced "Kashmir" which is the undoubted highlight here. This wonderfully heavy piece features John Bonham at his very best (he received a rare co-writing credit for the song) as he powers the piece along. The track features very clever use of tension as the listener anticipates the orchestral bursts which seem to appear at different intervals every time you hear it. The orchestration by the way is a mixture of real instruments plus mellotron. The geographic relevance of the lyrics may be suspect but the song is one of the finest Led Zeppelin have ever recorded.

There is a diversity to the tracks which mirrors the make up of the band's fourth album. While the quality of the songs here is not nearly as consistent, there are plenty of highlights. "The rover" is an unjustly ignored song with a strong melody. The song took shape over several years, finally being recorded for, but not used on, "House of the holy". Strangely, the title track from that album also appears for the first time here, being omitted from the album of that name because it "did not fit". "Down by the seaside" shows the band's lighter side, being a lilting song with occasional high vocalising, and a harder centre.

"Trampled underfoot" is one of the band's most controversial songs. The incessant keyboards driven disco beat may be abhorrent to some, but I find the track to be refreshingly different. The similarities with the Doobie Brothers "Long train running" are undeniable, but the song retains its own character nonetheless.

There does though, appear to be a certain amount of filler on "Physical graffiti", which would certainly have benefited for being a single LP. "In my time of dying" is a rambling 11 minute blues song, and "Ten years gone" is rather nondescript and dull. The whole of the final side of the album is for me rather uninspired and indulgent. "Boogie with Stu" is of interest though, as it credits and features Rolling Stones road manager Ian Stewart (Stu), who played piano on "Rock and roll" from the fourth album. Also bizarrely receiving a song writing credit for "Boogie with Stu" is the late Ritchie Valens' mother. This was intended to be a generous gesture to allow her to receive royalties, as she had reportedly received none from her son's work. The gesture backfired though when Valens estate sued for royalties due to the song's similarities with one of Ritchie Valens compositions.

The excellence of many of the tracks included on "Physical graffiti" render it to be an essential album. It is however by no means without its flaws, and the listener should be selective when choosing tracks from it.

Report this review (#108635)
Posted Wednesday, January 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my personal favourite Led Zeppelin album of all time and includes some of the bands biggest hits such as Kashmir, Ten Years Gone, and Trampled Under Foot. I can't name a bad song on this album. The band was truly inspired and felt they had the skill and fan following to attempt the daring, to put out a double album, which up to this point was something that rarely succeeded. Physical Graffiti passes with flying colours. The folk aspect of this album is especially evident on the second disk, with tracks like Down By the Seaside, Bron-Yr-Aur, and Boogie With Stu. Overall, it is a classic rock album and a high point in Led Zeppelin's career. THIS IS NOT PROG...except for maybe In th light... but thats it!
Report this review (#110596)
Posted Saturday, February 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars THE LEFT OVER ONE (Part one)

Here we go for a double album. Well, actually it should have been better if it were only a single album. "Physical Graffiti" combines some oldies with new material to fill four vinyl sides. If one bears the number of tracks into consideration, almost half of them (seven out of fifteen) were left-over from previous studio sessions.

One has to recognize that this proportion changes to two-third (over fifty-seven minutes) of new material if length is concerned (compared to twenty-nine minutes for the "lost jewels"). The problem being that the new stuff was not, generally, superior to the old one.Lack of inspiration ? Tiredness ? Boredom ?

I purchased "Graffiti" at the time of release, and I was so disappointed that I returned the album a few days later, and this time got the refund. I must say, that in 1975, I was not into hard-rock any longer (my first love). I had switched to prog in November 1973 to be precise. On the same Wednesday afternoon, I purchased "Genesis Live" and "Yessongs". Quite a change. This will not be the last one. I will deeply embrace a new genre in 1977, but that's another story.

None-the-less, it was the second time in a row that I was disappointed with a Led Zep album at the time of release (you can read about the first one in my review for "HOTH").

Let's start with the old stuff (in chronological order).

"Bron-Y-Aur" (1970) comes from the Led Zep III sessions. It is a short acoustic number completely in the mood of the album. They should have been inspired to replace the awful "Hat's Off Roy Harper" and release this one instead. It's a nice and gentle guitar solo as Page was able to deliver. Nothing from the other world. Just a sweet piece of music.

Three tracks from 1971 : the Untitled album sessions.

"Down At The Seaside". It starts as a mellow rock-ballad. It rocks a bit later on but the general mood remains globally mellowish. It's not too bad compared with the others tracks. But there's no wonder that it failed to make the album (this one in particular). "Night Flight" is not a bad song either, on the contrary. A good, average, Led Zep song.

But this is the major concern of this album. Too many middle-of-the-road music. No highlight. I guess it could have been a good B-side for a single. Since "Misty Mountain." and "Four Sticks" did the job, there was no room left for this one. "Boogie With Stu" is an old rock'n'roll song (almost revival). It's time for John-Paul to have fun on the piano. The fan, on his hand, doesn't have a lot of fun listening to this number though.

Next three tracks come from the HOTH sessions (1972).

"The Rover" is a heavy track. The intro reminds me at times of Black Sabbath ("Iron Man"). It gets catchier as soon as soon as Plant comes in and Jimmy's solo creates a nice break in this ordinary song.

I have never understood that "Houses Of The Holy" which should have been the title track was omitted on the album. There were at least two weak numbers that should have been replaced by this one (actually "The Rover" could have make it as well). So, I burned a CD copy of "my" HOTH : just deleting "The Crunge" and "No Ocean" and replaced them with "The Rover" and "HOTH". It's one of my fave on "Physical". The riff is great, Plant's voice as well and the rhythmic section on par.

"Black Country Woman" is an acoustic blues. Probably the worst track here as well as the whole time low from the band. Press next. That's it for the "lost" jewels". Well, not really jewels to be honest. So ? Hurry up for the new numbers. We'll get definitely better stuff ! Well. not quite sure. "In My Time of Dying" is their longest studio track (over eleven minutes). It's a loooooooooong bluesy one. Not a la "Since I've Been Loving You" I'm afraid. It turns (finally) into a rock one after five long minutes but returns to the boring blues part for the last three minutes. It should have, at least, been cut by half.

"Kashmir" is the highlight for most of the fans and one of their emblematic songs. This hypnotic riff never changes for over eight minutes. I remember quite well the first time I listened to it. I've had already read a review which praised this song very much, so I guess I was expecting a kind of fantastic song, a new "Stairway" maybe. I was always expecting the track to really lift of : to get an incredible tempo change, a wild guitar break, some vocals from another world. But the song kept going on and on with the same and languid (almost dull) pace. Till the end.

"Kashmir" will be seriously improved on the Page-Plant album "No Quarter" in which the duo will be playing with an Egyptian ensemble, developing this song to a greater dimension (IMO).

"In The Light" is the third long piece of music. It is almost boring all the way long. Eastern influences (Northern Africa - Middle-East) are obvious again. Plant was deeply inspired by these sounds at the time. More than thirty years later, he will still be (at least, he is consistent). The song starts to be interesting, after two-third or so while the Oriental mood turns into a truly melodic rock ballad. This saves the track from total chaos. There is a working version for this number on an unofficial recording called "Headley Grange" (1971). It was called "In The Morning". The final part is pure jamming. It was on purpose, just to show how the band sounded during these moments.

The opener "Custard Pie" is of course not at all on par with its first five colleagues (the openers I mean). A good funky song but not at all a great number.

"Trampled Under Foot" is my favorite from this weak album : great rhythm, catchy riff. I guess that zillions of fans were expecting more of these type of tracks. Good keys break (no wonder since Jones co-signs the song). The "highlight" on this rather poor album.

"Ten Years Gone" sounds like "The Rain song". Not bad actually. On this one, it appears as a moment of relieve in this complete mess. A nice little ballad which won't revolutionize rock music. But again, since "Graffiti" is so weak, any average number sounds almost like a great one.

I would have preferred to get a chronological sequence of tracks. It would have been easier to figure out the evolution (?) of the band. Anyway, when I listen to this album (which is not too often actually), that's what I do : I rearrange the tracks as such.

"The Wanton Song" is another of these poor funky-hard-rock numbers. We remain in the boring mood, I'm afraid.

The closing number "Sick Again" (that's mostly the feeling one gets while listening to this double album in a row) is one of the best of the whole. But that's not really enough for a double Led Zep effort.

As I say in my intro, this should have been a single album. But even so, it wouldn't have been a great one. Just average. But extending this to almost ninety minutes is a torture for the ears and a pity for the fan that I am. So, basically, thirty-two years after the vinyl purchase I still have the same feeling : poor. Incidentally, I re-purchased it under its CD version (I must be a masochist).

Several new tracks clearly marked a new direction for the band : hard-funk-rock. it will be even more investigated in later efforts. During an interview available on their DVD "Led Zep", Robert will talk about this album. He will explain that it would have been a pity not to release the old stuff, because they were too good for that (?). As far as I'm concerned, the world wouldn't have missed anything, should have they remained "lost" forever.

Since this interview was taped in the catacombs of Forest National just before their concert in Brussels (January 1975) and so far my only Led Zep live experience, I have a bit of sentimental feeling about it (the interview, I mean). The concert as such was not really great. Brussels was used as a base for rehearsals for their US tours (as were The Netherlands). So, the band was not really running well and the track list was not all that great. Still, I have seen Led Zep and listened to "Stairway" live.

IMO, it's the weakest Led Zep album. Almost eighty-seven minutes of boring and repetitive stuff. I think I have listened to it in its entirety about ten times (of which six or seven for the purpose of this review only). I definitely not recommend this one at all (neither for newcomers nor to the casual fan).


Still this album will peak at the first spot of the US and UK chart. Each of their previous record will re-enter the top 200 US charts (unseen event so far).

Two stars.

Report this review (#115184)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. Kind of reminds me of "The White Album" .Not the music of course but with both releases I felt they could have condensed them to one and not missed anything of note. The first disc in both releases are by far the better of the two and the only ones I listen to anymore. I guess though if you can't get enough ZEPPELIN this is a must. A mix of previously unreleased songs and new ones.

Disc one opens with "Custard Pie" a rather bombastic sounding tune. The drums dominate with some good bass as well.The guitar after 2 minutes is good as well as the harmonica to end the song. "The Rover" is such a catchy tune with tasteful guitar melodies throughout. "In My Time Of Dying" is a slow bluesy song that does speed up part way through. The guitar is catchy. "Houses Of The Holy" feature some fantastic vocals. Great tune ! "Trampled Under Foot" has a good beat, almost sounding like a Stevie Wonder song. The keys are great ! Clavinet from Jones in this hard not to like tune. "Kashmir" is Arabic sounding with slowly pounding drums and terrific vocals. Mellotron and some orchestration as well.

Disc two starts off well with "In The Light" an Eastern sounding song. "Down By The Sea" Is rather good too, a lazy summer time song. "Ten Years Gone" has a melancholic feel to it. Good contrast between the mellow and aggressive. Of note "Boogie With Stu" features a guest appearance from the ROLLING STONES pianist at the time, Ian Stewart. A fifties sounding tune.

Report this review (#117761)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Forget about Beck, Clapton, or Richards...

Rock and roll is Jimmy Page and John Bonham.

Zeppelin was the first band I was obsessed with back in my teen years. Though I don't play them much anymore they still floor me when I do throw them on. Pagey was a masterful arranger of the material in the studio and the best rock guitarist. Guitar purists will huff about how sloppy he was compared to his rivals. Who cares!! It's about the music and the emotion in the solo, and Page cooked his peers on both counts. And Bonham will always be one of the most powerful live drummers to witness.

Graffiti is exactly one half 5-star album and one half 3-star album. Were the album condensed down to the better half, you'd have Zeppelins finest work. Here's the 5-star tracks: Custard, Rover, Dying, In the Light, Bron-yr-aur, Seaside, Wanton Song, and Ten Years Gone. Yeah Kashmir is OK too but has been ruined for me by radio overkill. I actually think that The Rover and Ten Years Gone are among Zep's very best tracks, alongside Achilles, Tea for one, SRTS, Rain Song, Stairway, Since I've been loving you, Battle of Evermore.

If you have no Zeppelin yet (is there anyone left who doesn't?), pick up this one, Presence, and one of the live ones as your first three to experience their best material overall. Obviously if you're a blues fan you'll want the first two and some live stuff.

Report this review (#119367)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The "Lamb" of Heavy Metal!

Oh yeah, this album is a masterpiece and this is the best album that Led Zeppelin has ever made. This album comprises eight (8) new tracks especially written for this sixth album plus seven (7) takes during the sessions of previous albums (Led Zeppelin III, IV and Houses of The Holy). When this album was released in 1975 at the time I was also listening to Golden Earring "Together" with its powerful song "From Heaven, From Hell", Styx "Man of Miracle". "Magic" by Pilot was Top 10 hits in my country and people like it very much. "Boogie With Stu" was also popular right after the album was released.

Opened with stunning "Custard Pie" (4:13) as album opener featuring unique riffs by Page intervened by Jones' keyboard work, it's enough to expect how great the album would be. This is now becoming classic while by the time it was released I sometimes played the cassette altogether with Styx "Christopher Mr. Christopher". "Custard Pie" is different, of course. It has a strong rock composition with dynamic textures that bring the music into an uplifting mood for the listeners. "The Rover" (5:36) starts off with simple drum work by Bonham followed with floating style rhythm section mainly contribute by Jimmy Page's guitar work.

"In My Time of Dying" (11:04) is a true rocker and it has been one of my favorites' Led Zeppelin's tunes. I have been so longing for this song to be performed live and I could only get it when the Earl's Court DVD was released couple of years ago. Now I know why it's rarely played by the band it's due to Robert Plant's reluctance to sing after his car crash in 1975. The song really represents the energy, powerful riffs and stunning guitar solo plus Robert Plant's crystal velar voice.

"Houses of the Holy" (4:01) was a spilled over from the band's session of fifth album "Houses of The Holy". By the time the band wrote this song, the album was already packed with many songs. This song was dropped even though the title represented the album. Under "Physical Gaffiti" album, this song was then featured and it's clear that this is an excellent song.

"Trampled Under Foot" (5:35) for me is another kind of Led Zeppelin composition with relatively complex arrangements especially on Page's guitar effects and riffs. What so excellent about this song is the melody and how Robert sings it. Another interpretation for me especially referring back to my listening experience with Led Zeppelin "Physical Graffiti" is that this song as a bridge to the next masterpiece : "Kashmir". Oh yes .. I always listen to Physical Graffitti in its entirety. For me, this double LP album is "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" of heavy metal music. The music is varied and each individual song is superb. "Kashmir" closes disc one wonderfully with its eastern orchestral arrangement. Thanks to the experience that Robert had through his travel to Morocco that led to the dazzling eastern rhythm section of Kashmir. Great track!

Well, actually the first time I spun the cassette, I rarely continued to the second part of the LP until accidentally "In The Light" was played in someone's car and it stimulated me to spin the song at home. Oh man .. in fact this might be another prog track (beside "Kashmir") of this album. I really enjoy the long sustain keyboard work by John Paul Jones in "In The Light". This song comprises multi passages with different tempo and style. With "In The Light" as my first entrance to Disc 2, it then started to roll with other tracks and since then I always listened to this album in its entirety. "The Wanton Song", "Night Flight", "Ten Years Gone", "Boogie With Stu", "Down By the Seaside" etc are all excellent tracks!

What can I conclude with the long writings above? Simple: it's a masterpiece album by Led Zeppelin. This is Led Zeppelin's reply to Genesis "the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"! The only difference is that while Peter Gabriel wrote The Lamb as concept album, Physical Grafitti serves like a collection of old takes and new takes of Led Zeppelin throughout their entire career until the album was recorded. JRENG! Keep on rockin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

DragonForce "Live in Jakarta: May 19, 2007".

Report this review (#120979)
Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's been a lot of twaddle written about this album, some of it from people who should know better. No one here, of course.

Yes, some of this material was held over from previous albums. Less than half the double album, actually - seven of 15 songs, a total of only 28:46 out of the 86 minutes. Not because the material was inferior, but because it didn't fit the moods of the porevious albums. LED ZEPPELIN were skilled at constructing albums. Why consider it odd that some gems were held back until they found an appropriate home? I couldn't imagine, for example, Night Flight, Boogie With Stu or Down By The Seaside on IV, could you?

Look, there's nearly an hour of new material here. And what there is, is of the highest quality. The new songs are the heart of this album's progressiveness, as you would expect given when they were written (1974), and are much longer than earlier tracks in their career.

Enough of that. What of the music? Everything you could possibly want in progressive-tinged hard rock. Back is the granite-slab drumming, the extended, searing solos, the myriad of guitar effects, the pounding bass - and added is JOHN PAUL JONES' keyboards, first aired to real effect in 'No Quarter' from the previous half-hearted album. Here JONES lights up the record with fabulous atmospherics, making 'Kashmir', 'In The Light' and 'Down By The Seaside' soar, to pick three examples. And out with the clavinet to rock us with 'Trampled Underfoot'. Oh, there's a full bag of tricks here, four men at the top of their game, confidence at an all-time high, before the heroin got to PAGE and before PLANT lost his son.

Outstanding moments here are legion. After opening with the competent 'Custard Pie' - interesting subject matter, lads - they tear into us with 'The Rover', better by far than any of the tracks from the album it was left off (save 'No Quarter'). Great lyrics, fabulous drumming, pulsing bass, growling guitar. 'In My Time Of Dying' is by far the best blues number they ever did, exceeding even 'Since I've Been Loving You.' This time their humour works, unlike 'The Crunge' from the previous album. And what spine tingling slide guitar! 'Trampled Underfoot' pounds you with it's beat and its double entendres, then clears the way for the slow dinosaur that is 'Kashmir', truly a pillar in the temple of rock. Such breathtaking simplicity and audacity, phased drums overlaying keyboard stabs and mystical lyrics. BONHAM'S runs here are legendary. PLANT sings up a storm, using his voice in ways he'd never again aspire to. This is a sound that has been imitated by great bands - witness OPETH'S 'Beneath the Mire' and PORCUPINE TREE'S 'Sleep Together' for recent examples. For songs such as this were hi fi systems perfected.

Exhausted yet? We're not even half way through. The second disc is a little lighter, with it's progressive moments in 'In The Light' and the simply superb 'Ten Years Gone'. Look, there are progressive outfits who never did anything as proggy as the latter song. The song's midsection (2.30 - 4.50) is pure genius, deliberate discords and all. 'The Wanton Song' reminds us of this band's roots, demolishing our ears with stupendous clouts, stabs and thuds, and PLANT'S best vocal performance ever. I defy you to understand even one single line (apart from 'and the wheel rolls on').

Simple music? Not progressive? Others must be listening to a different album than the one I own. Perhaps the odd time signatures, the interplay of instruments, the musicianship and the incredible songwriting were excised from their copies.

Best album of 1975 by a country mile. Great cover, too.

Report this review (#134380)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Regarded by many Zeppelin fans as the bands finest moment and I'm not going to argue with that. What's surprising about that fact though is that Physical Graffiti, a double album, was not made up of solely new material, but included tracks left over from previous sessions.

The album opens in fine style with two typical Zeppelin Rockers, Custard Pie and The Rover. The latter was recorded a few years earlier in 1970 but was titivated up with a few overdubs by Page to get it up to scratch.

My own personnel favourite from the original first disc is In My Time of Dying which is actually based on a traditional song and had previously been recorded by Bob Dylan. Naturally the Zeppelin version has their trademark stamp on it and after starting as a slow bluesy number steps up a few notches for a bombastic middle instrumental section featuring some great slide playing from Page and Bonhams Bass Drum playing is on top form.

Next up is Houses of the Holy, another strong Rocker left over from the album of the same name which is followed by the funky Trampled Underfoot with good keyboard contributions from Jones and Plant, who is on great form throughout the album sings his heart.

Kashmir which closes the first disc has become a Zeppelin classic with its Eastern tinged riff and simple but effective Drumming from Bonham.

The second disc whilst not quite as consistent as the first nevertheless contains some fine moments. Highlights being the haunting In the Light, Ten Years Gone and some more great Heavy Rock in Night Flight, The Wanton Song and Sick Again. There's a nice acoustic interlude called Bron-Y-Aur and a bluesy stomp called Black Country Woman which is a bit of a throwaway track but amongst such good company I wouldn't complain.

Down by the Seaside, another fourth album leftover which didn't fit in with the mood of that release is a worthy addition here. Boogie with Stu, featuring Ian Stewart of Stones fame sounds like a barroom tune and although fun, is the weakest song on a superb release.

So despite a couple of less than perfect moments a 5 star album and one of the greatest albums ever.

Report this review (#140938)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars LED ZEPPELIN “Physical Graffiti” 4.5

But the one who falls can rise again. And ZEPs did it, they’ve risen from all the misfortunes they’ve faced in last months (it was only a beginning, unfortunately) like “200.000 $ stolen from hotel” case and drug problems. 15 tracks of pure bliss, classic LZ hymns like “Kashmir” and “In the Light”, more prominent keys, catchy riffs and various moods, from up-lifting to tiresome and frustrated. Another best from them, from late era, 2 LPs of high-class intellectual rock, worthy of any other album released in that year (with some honorable exceptions though). Triumphant live shows in England, another world tour – the future never seemed brighter for ZEPs than in 1975. To my utter regret, this was the last really successful year for them, and PG has become the last good album they’ve managed to create. This is where the end has begun.

Best tracks: “Kashmir”, “In the Light”, “Sick Again”, “The Rover”, “In my Time of Dying”, “Ten Years Gone”, “Down by the Seaside”, “Trampled Underfoot”

Report this review (#141376)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant at their top and the best hard rock band in the 70´s, ZEPPELIN entered 1975 with a DOUBLE LP, and, for most of their hardcore fans, their best one. Recorded mainly in the road and at lots of studios in europe, PHYSICAL has an ambiguous status: it´s LED ZEPPELIN at their peak, groovin´some incredible hard-blues riffs and many other heavy songs. But it´s too much ZEPPELIN for one "shot", and we feel that the band, altough still quite creative, was starting To record several generic hard-blues-rock songs in a considerable "boring" way. It´s undeniable that PHYSICAL, specially disc one, is one of the most heavy and incredible genuine 70´s hard-rock records ever released. THE ROVER, IN MY TIME OF DYING and TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT are simply memorable ZEP´s gems that stay among hard-rock-fans favorites troughout the world. The power of synthesis in ZEPPELIN´S production is quite noticeable here, altough it´s easy to imagine that the band in 1975 were enough running deeply into drugs and alcohol. Anyway, nothing went wrong in terms of production, since among so many hard pieces the guys could deliver a masterpiece: KASHMIR. From the main riff to the string-synthesizer arrangement by Jones, the song is a cornerstone. Page is sounding absolutely perfect in all tracks, making his GIBSON trademark a real big flame in the album. Disc two is, of course, almost as good as disc one, but suffer of some "excess". Another round of heavy-inspired riffs, WANTON SONG, SICK AGAIN, TEN YEARS GONE... Well, nothing bad for a band touring almost without stop for 6 years. PHYSICAL is an example of how a GREAT band could spare all their qualities without major problems concerning studio, producers or excessive jamming. It´s LED ZEPPELIN at their pure-crude state of rock. Unfortunately, this is the LAST great ZEP´S album.


Report this review (#144351)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
3 stars (Bron-Yr-Aur part 3.5)

To paraphrase American author Mark Twain, "a classic is something that everyone wants to own, but nobody wants to actually listen to." From this point of view, I can safely state that Physical Graffiti is a classic album...because I don't see how anyone can sit through the entire thing! It's real friggin' LONG, baby, and in multiple senses of the word.

This album follows a similar logic of Houses of the Holy; you know, try to diversify the sound a little bit. However, although there are a few styles showcased here, most of them you've heard before. In fact, I count only one real departure from the standard sound. So, if they can't craft new styles, the least they can do is dig up some old styles and play them all REALLY LONG. You're going to hear that line a lot in this review.

Still, I swear that there is at least an album's length of decent, nay, incredible (by Zep standards at least) material here. However, because this sucker is split among two discs, you have to bog through some grade A mire to get there.

Opener "Custard Pie" is a decent heavy blues, but how come the riff is showcased on a synth? Jimmy's just sticking with the power chords. Oh well, I'm sure they'll clear this up later on in the album. As it stands, a nice enough rocker, with a bizarre, talk box solo...unless it's a synth. Well, carry on.

And, on one of the Zep's most infamous albums, with one of their most infamous songs, I give the dubious honor of best track to..."The Rover," a dumb little song that NO ONE'S EVER HEARD OF! BWA-HA-HA! Sorry. Seriously though, "The Rover" contains some real cool, medievally riffage, and one of Page's most charming solos ever. Feel free to ignore the lyrics, if you so choose ('cept the ones stolen from Roger Waters. Low blow Robbie. Heh).

"In My Time of Dying" is actually a pretty good number. Might be a little slow for some tastes, but I've no problem with Led when it's slow 'n bloozy. Great workout for Bonham and Page, even if it probably doesn't deserve an eleven minute running time. They even knew about that; listen in at the very end.

"Houses of the Holy" is a decent hard rocker with interesting guitar work, and the usual kinda cool but kinda stoopid lyrics. "Trampled Under Foot" is an interesting funky rocker toe tappin' for sure, but does it have to be so long? Gets a little repetitive after a while, until J. P. Jones steps in with a keyboard solo to break it up.

Anyway, "Kashmir" is definitely a highlight. The tune is solid, the ascending riff is classic, and it invented the genre of "Middle Eastern Metal Epic" (seriously though, where'd it come from? Must be Page's Yardbirds influence; remember "Still I'm Sad?"). Of course, can't be the best, 'cause for one thing it's too long again...and in the middle of all the mystical imagery, Bobby just can't help himself, and starts wailing, "BABYBABYBABE, oh, ain't no denying." Poor lad, it's a sickness you know. Anyway, other than that, good atmosphere, cool use of orchestra and synth (or are they all synths? You tell me), distorted guitar and drums. And what, the hell, aside from the babybabes, the lyrics are petty cool; maybe it is the best thing on the record.

Side...three opens with "In the Light," which continues the Eastern promise in the synth driven introduction, but then turns into a rather noble, albeit still synth driven, rocker. Probably don't need to be so long either, of course. "Bron-yr-Aur" is a cute lil' instrumental acoustic number that has very little to do with the "Stomp" one. Much less "stompin'," in fact, and far more pastoral and medieval.

But "Down by the Seaside" is just plain oceanic pop atmosphere by Led Zep? Oh well, it's pleasant, if not remarkable. Kinda bloozy too. Also kinda cool when it heats up in the middle, but then it goes on! But "Ten Years Gone" has absolutely no reason to be that long. It does nothing in its six and a half minutes other than bore me.

"Night Flight" is another slower, not so harder, number. Nice organ, but if anything makes it especially worthwhile, it's that Plant actually sounds resonant for a minute at the start. "The Wanton Song" blasts on with what sounds like the power of the bad ole days, but it doesn't really go anywhere. And when the instrumental bits comes in, you wonder if that riff was all that powerful after all.

However, I rather like "Boogie With Stu." It's a fairly attractive retro rocker, with some nice piano lines, clever acoustic guitar, and some really catchy drumming. In fact, I'm sort of disappointed Bonzo didn't launch into some kind of rhythmic solo at the end. Likewise, I'm somewhat fond of the similarly minded "Black Country Woman." I mean, it ain't no great shake, but the lads are having fun (dig the studio noise), and I'm having fun too.

Sorta wished we'd ended with it, because "Sick Again" is a rather lackluster blues rocker. I mean, the last two numbers were hardly classics, but they were interesting damn it! This? Nothing particularly bad, but nothing Stand Up-ish about it. Sorry.

So the basic problem with Graffiti is that its numbers are legion; the track list is endless, they all sound somewhat the same, and they either go on forever, or they SEEM like they go on forever. And trust me, that means that listening to the entire album at once could give even the most dedicated Zepster a headache pretty quick...well, unless you're one of "the faithful," who believes that Robert Plant craps gold bricks.

I still give it the 3.5 score because, well, nothing is THAT atrocious. The songs, even if not memorable, are rarely unbearable, and certainly toe tappin', if not headbangin'. The musicianship is all good at least; Bonham bashes like a madman, and Page, when he gets a spot, shows off well enough. Jones dicks around with synths when the need arises. And Plant...uh, you like Plant's wailings? Get this puppy.

And besides, some of the stuff is great. "Kashmir" and "The Rover" are pretty awesome, and could rank among some of their, if not best, most interesting, material. In fact, that's where the true gold bricks lie (rather than up Robbie's ass); in the unusual stuff, like "Boogie" and "In My Time." The rockers? You've mostly heard 'em before, 'cept less lame. Stick with the freaky crap, just don't expect genius, merely entertainment. Uh, assuming that it's not TOO long.

Hmm...consider it this way, that the first record is a weak four, and that the second a strong three. Compromise, see? Except, that's probably conditional, since I still have to listen to the whole damn thing to get to that second CD, but I swear that the better material is on the first disc, which in hindsight, might not be a four anyways. Oh well. Use your own judgment. Just make sure you have A LOT of time on your hands...

Report this review (#144714)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Physical Graffiti was initially released as a "double album" set that included new material as well as previously unreleased songs. It is, in my opinion, a tremendous work that highlights the versatility of the band in covering a variety of musical styles over a period spanning a few years. "Kashmir" and "Trampled Under Foot" as classic Led Zep material. Again, this is not a progressive rock recording. From my aesthetic, I like the output on this record more than that on Led Zep IV, though as you can see from other reviews, opinions are rather mixed on this recording. It remains one of my favorite hard rock records.
Report this review (#154503)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars I loved this album when I was younger and discovered Zeppelin. Now, I'm sorry to tell you I found this double album too unequal. There are great songs (Kashmir, The Rover, Ten Years Gone, Bron-Y- Aur, Down By The Seaside), but also too much fillers (Black Country Woman, Houses Of The Holy, Trampled Under Foot, Boogie With Stu, and especially the longest track, In My Time Of Dying, 11 minutes which are really boring and too repetitive). Some folks considers this is the best Zeppelin album. Not me. Perhaps my rate is too straight, too tough, but I can't give it more than 2, 5 stars, and as there is no possibility to rate it 2,5, I rate it 2 stars. It deserves 3, maybe 4, but not for me...
Report this review (#164058)
Posted Sunday, March 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two of the best sides ever put to vinyl... then some other stuff

Really, Zeppelin made a big mistake in releasing this as a double album set, especially being that the second disc was compiled from offcuts. When it comes to Zep's discography this one is one of the biggest standouts and at the smae time one of the biggest let downs. The first disc is full of Zeppelin's best work, and the second has already been mentioned. One wonders if they just needed to fulfill a contractual agreement that demanded a double album of some kind, but then again, 24-years later, it's a little late to be complaining about that.

So here's the skinny...

The biggest problem with the album is trying to listen to it all in one sitting. There's over an hour and a half of music and only about 45-minutes of it is worth while. The entire second disc is basically a bonus coaster for your beer that the band has thrown in for you. Even with some lengthier tracks and one or two good riffs lying around here and there the entire thing is completely forgettable. It's lackluster, Plant doesn't give his shrill voice to any of the track and Page plays lazily along. While this does work on some songs like Down By The Seaside, given their lazy nature, it's hard to bring to mind any of the songs after you've listened to them, even after multiple spins of the album. Unlike other Zeppelin material where afterwards you'll still have multiple riffs or hooks stuck in your head somewhere. Page also doesn't pull out any wildly impressive guitar solos, it's just frustrating. This is likely the turning point for many fans, since after this they'd continue on this this style on later albums, until their eventual end (which had nothing to do with the actual music, of course).

That said, the first disc of the album is likely the best material that Zep ever recorded. Had this been a one disc set it would probably be considered one of the best albums (and maybe even prog albums) of all time. While the opening song has a considerable amount of quirk to it it still has a wonderful riff which is highly memorable and the rest of the song is just good rock. After that, Zep gets right into serious mode and prepares to impress. The Rover is a perfect example of what Zeppelin does best and implores epic-overtones with an excellent riff section and great soloing that gives Plant's voice room to work its magic. The same can be said for any of the other songs on the disc including the excellent and catchy late-title track Houses Of The Holy or the bouncy and somewhat dark Trampled Under Foot. With a riff full to the brim with blues, In My Time Of Dying is one of Zeppelin's longest (studio) tracks, clocking in at 11-minutes, and it makes excellent use of the time with some impressive and emotional sections. It all ends with the near cliche Kashmir, which is one of Zep's best known songs - and for a reason. That grandiose riff leading the pack over the course of the song's 8-minutes makes for a killer tune that one doesn't mind listening to, even if you've heard it on the radio a hundred times.

So listen to the first album and give the second one a chance, but don't be surprised if it lets you down. To rate the two albums individually the first would get a 4 and the second would get a 2, making for an average of 3-stars out of 5 for the record. This one is a bit pricey to buy just for the first disc, so frustrating is a good word for it, but the first disc is some of Zep's best stuff, so the set is worth the buy if just for that. 'Split' would be a good way of describing this one. Good, but non-essential on the whole.

Report this review (#198815)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Physical Graffiti 3/5

Well here goes, another difficult album for me to point a definitive finger on. Nonetheless I do feel there is a great wealth to be found on this album. However, as always, Led Zeppelin gives the listener a hogpog of ideas and styles, some of which are developed. Contrary to popular opinion, this album isn't strictly divided between the great songs on Disc 1 and the throwouts on Disc 2. Consistent with popular belief is the wide range of inconsistencies within this album. There are a wide variety of genres explored, from straight up hard rock, eastern influenced tunes, and rock and roll numbrs. However, it is not nearly as progressive as the previous three albums, returning somewhat to a refined heaviness relative to their first releases.

The band convened in 1974, writing 8 new songs. Strangely enough, the songs stretched a bit over the traditional space required for one LP. They then decided it would be in their best interest and the interest of their fans to include some previously unreleased tracks from prior sessions. However, what they failed to realize is if they just edited 'In My Time Of Dying' in half and ditched 'Sick Again', they may have been able to give us a single LP of new material.

For the better, the older songs were added to this album. And thus we get 'Bron Yr Aur' from the III, 'Night Flight', 'Boogie With Stu' and 'Down By the Seaside' from IV, and lastly 'The Rover', 'Houses of the Holy' and 'Black Country Woman' from Houses of the Holy. These songs are intermixed with the newer tunes; frankly only 'Kashmir', 'In the Light', 'Ten Years Gone' are essential from these new compositions. The rest seem very to be derivative and uninspired hard rock in my eyes.

Oddly enough, the older tracks are the highlights. 'The Rover' featuring one of Jimmy's most transcedent solos, 'Houses of the Holy' providing much a much needed breath of fresh air to the uptight and rigid hard rock that surrounds it. 'Down By the Seaside' and 'Fly By Night' are two tracks worthy of recognition as well, great use of keyboards in these pieces and I only wish they would have been on IV instead of 'Four Sticks' and 'Misty Mountain Hop'. The same could be said about the aforementioned tracks from the Houses of the Holy sessions.

'Kashmir' and 'In the Light' are fine examples of eastern influenced songs, and are they great songs! Kashmir has the famous riff, made heavy by the orchestra strings and JPJ's keyboard bridges. Plant shows us he still can weave a marvelous story, sing as well as 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' or 'Stairway to Heaven' he does not though. 'In the Light' features great keyboards by JPJ and one of the simplest yet most effective solos from Page, wonderfully layered and perfectly timed.

The weakest parts of this album as previously mentioned are the hard rock songs, essentially these are by-the-book 70's Rock tunes. I much preferred the band falling flat on their face with straight reggae and funk on Houses of the Holy than merge clavinet induced Hard-Funk on 'Trampled Underfoot.' Also, Robert's voice is nowhere near its prime, its whiny and irritating at times on the newer songs.

Ultimately enough material on here to cater to casual listeners. Enjoy the better moments of this album...Led Zeppelin would return within the next year to give us their last great album in Presence.

Report this review (#209328)
Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

I did more for you baby than the good Lord ever done, I went downtown and bought you some hair and the good Lord never gave you none -- Saunders King

For Led Zeppelin, it was always about the blues. Not just because that's where rock had sprung from or there was so much to be inspired by, but because it was one of the most emotionally expressive forms of music to emerge in the 20th century. The group's background in, gleaning from, and mastery of music from the American deep South was acute and it allowed them a unique window into its spirit and past, a coveting so thorough it was often mistaken for thievery. If anything, Zeppelin added to the blues more than they stole from it, at least more than most other white bluesmen.

Rebecca, Rebecca, get your big legs off me. It may be sending you baby, but it's worryin' the hell out of me. -- Big Joe Turner

From Tutwiler, Mississippi and Springfield, Missouri, down in Brownsville, Texas over to Newton County, Georgia, south to New Orleans, into Memphis and up to Chicago, the Blues came from those who had something to say but little means with which to say it, and it was this urgency Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones had tapped into. As weathered and tattered as their first two LPs were, Physical Graffiti - their sixth studio issue - was the most loyal in its reverence for all things blue. A celebration of African American folk music zapped with Thor's hammer, polished enough for us to notice but filled with the spontaneity and feeling so important to the songs. Gospel, ragtime, rhythm talk, spiritual, swing, country, soul-- even field hollering, a proto-blues form, can be heard in Robert Plant's electrifying vocals. Though best remembered for classics as 'Kashmir' or 'In the Light', it's the rest of the material that defines the music here and with a sound that sometimes reflects classic period Rolling Stones (a third of the tracks were cut at the Stones' mobile studio), Graffiti is one of the band's most consistent and finest-sounding works.

I'm going fishin' baby, and I've got a long long pole. Yes I'm going fishin' baby, and I've got a long long pole. Fishin' with you baby, in a very deep hole -- Tom Archia

The men's blues of 'Custard Pie' is salacious and dripping with fluids, Jimmy Page's craggy Les Paul and the throaty howl of Plant's harp, barnyard thud of Bonzo's bass drum and hi-hat, all pounded out by JPJ. 'The Rover', a track that would likely bore if it came from any other band, invites us in and tempts us to get up and dance but epic funereal 'In My Time of Dying' knocks us back down with a maudlin gospel that highlights Plant's genius for the floating lyric tradition, climaxing with a typically mesmerizing riff from Page sewn together by Bonham's booming syncopation. A bit of Texas honkytonk for 'Houses of the Holy', full of character and texture. At times you can almost hear the scratches and pops of an old blues record. 'Trampled Underfoot' pumps its way to the front, a dominating bit that shows the group's development of tone, emotional content and rock styling, and got a lot of radio play in the states as I recall. And the evocative 'Kashmir' ends the first disc with visions of sparse lands, red skies, purple light, and travels of the spirit. Orgasmic at times, it reveals Page&Plant's fondness for Middle Eastern musics and became a favorite for countless fans and non-fans alike.

Mama move your false teeth, papa wanna scratch your gums -- Champion Jack Dupree

'In the Light' picks-up from where we're left with a vibration of synth and Plant's call to awakening knitted brilliantly into Jimmy Page's bluenotes and rocking steady all the way through, Jones's counterlines on bass and John Bonham's patient timekeeping, in kind with 'Over the Hills and Far Away' from 1973 and one of the best things in their catalog. Jimmy Page gives us a well-earned break with gossamer 'Bron-Y-Aur' as it swirls around in our head delighting us with the magic of one man and a guitar. 'Down by the Seaside', though lazy and almost Grateful Dead-like, is not that bad and wakes up in the middle with a driving rock beat. Page's dreams of guitar armies - later to be fully realized on the magnificent Presence - are displayed in 'Ten Years Gone' with a roughly layered approach he'd honed by 1975, the driving power of this group pushing it all forward, making it work through sheer will. 'The Wanton Song': c'mon, how can you not like this? Simple perfection spat out by the greatest hard rock band the world has ever known-- ooh, in the darkness can you hear me call? Yeah I thought so. 'Boogie With Stu', the only questionable addition to an otherwise brilliant album, swings through and juxtaposes a mandolin solo on top of a raggy piano. More pissed-off Men's Blues for 'Black Country Woman' and things close on drunken 'Sick Again', Plant stumbling with Joe Cocker seizures as he confronts the craziness around him.

Here were four men who had a musical and personal chemistry that most musicians would literally kill for at the height of their physical power and ingenuity, and a record of rock music so good it occasionally defies reason. Physical Graffiti is the other White Album, and a treat every time it is spun that continues to reveal its treasures.

Report this review (#235836)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Led Zeppelin ? Physical Graffiti 1975. Sometimes we rock fans can be a little reactionary and conservative. What is the big deal about someone releasing material 2 or 5 years from when it may have been first conceived? Songs are created and Led Zeppelin used them as building blocks to create albums that had a sense of feel and purpose. Here they deploy their Everest moments with great sense of placement and purpose indeed. A two idea slide blues, change to heavy rock number In My Time Of Dying. Sort of 2 songs in one here. One must try to keep up with these forward thinking musicians. Kashmir is often thought of as a one riff idea. But it's not. Yes it has it's opening rhythm, followed by a descending refrain to contrast with it's ascending verse. The drums and guitar harmonies underpin the rhythms in a truly original manner. It is quite subtle, so much so when I first heard it all those years ago it did nothing for me. Then I realised I had to listen to it from a whole other point of view; it's the rhythms and harmonies in that order that tell the story here. Having said that Plant's journey lyrics and sublime vocal are superbly executed. In 1994 -1996 Page Plant actually improved this track with Egyptian, Moroccan and Lebanese musicians (oddly the inclusion of Black Dog quotes detracted slightly) but this is a nice compact version and one of the most influential pieces of music in rock at the time. The third epic is In The Light and follows from Kashmir. It's spacier, a little odd like so many Zeppelin numbers, the descending riff another blues scale and features subtle changes of mood courtesy Jones and Plants sense of vocal melody making the Zeppelin so original. The end of what was side three featured the last epic. Ten Years Gone may be one of the most complex and difficult Zeppelin pieces. Heaven knows (sic) that Page had at times great difficulty getting the brief but need to be perfect solo right on the 1977 tour as the ROIOs demonstrate. But here the tender vocal, the huge guitar structures, the dynamics all play in a magnum opus. So, four epics. All pretty much written for this album. Squeeze in Trampled Underfoot and Custard Pie and you would have one hell of an album. So the songs that remain. Custard Pie, the opener. Plant had surgery on his vocal chords and that explained that choked feel to his vocal. Blues based hard rock number. Quite atmospheric and undoubtedly due to the hear it in any circumstance approach by Page as producer. The Rover is next and this dark almost political number cruises quite steadily into the first epic In My Time. The sunny House Of The Holy (would have worked on that album) is quite fun. It's a blood relative of Page's mate Joe Walsh's later recording Life's Been Good riff and rhythm wise. Next the occasionally derided (it IS a dance song and Progressive rock is not dance music) we have Trampled Underfoot. The irony in the title and the purpose of this funk heavy rock number is Plant's humour and to me at least very welcome. To me a fabulous riff and rhythm this song is unstoppable. The concert versions varied from great to superb and the studio release is no exception. Oddly if you want to hear lesser versions then you have to go for some studio outtakes but here Tramp Led Underfoot (sic) is Led Zeppelin showing what is needed to make dance rock swing. Then comes the second epic Kashmir. After the third epic is that exquisite piece of acoustic guitar (nice to play as well as listen to) Bron-Yr-Aur. Then the mellow Down By The Seaside with it's up tempo tension filled bridge with Plant leading us back to bucolic seaside rest and recovery. The melancholy atmosphere of the last epic Ten Years Gone would finish any normal album. But we are not talking about a normal band here. What ever normal is it's not Zeppelin. Night Flight, The Wanton Song, Boogie With Stu, Black Country Woman, Sick Again are what are regarded as the filler tracks. Boogie With Stu came from the fourth album sessions and I'm damned if I can see how that would fit on that album. But it fits the expansive sunny nature of Graffiti well enough. The Wanton Song and Night Flight may have been headed for Houses Of the Holy. Wanton is great tense riff number and features the guitar through Leslie spinning speaker solo so it sounds Hammond-ish. Night Flight is a medium tempo rock number with Plant leading the way. Black Country Woman is the flip side to Ten Years Gone. Wry and reflective if not as heartbroken as it's epic partner it does have it's own sense of regret that Zeppelin manage to reinterpret so uniquely. Sick Again has no sense of regret, or not so immediately. It's a tune about the young groupies that would give themselves so wantonly to this band and many others as rock bands took over the imaginations (and more) of a generous youth from the scream at the pop bands of the 1960s. Plant's emerging regret is watching these girls get old before their time. Fairly sure he probably helped them on their way but no one forced these girls on young men being worshipped at the peak of their powers. Actually one of the things that annoys me about 1970s era rock bands is songs about the road and how annoyed they could get. It all sounded self indulgent and left me as a listener not at all concerned. Still Sick Again does have half a dozen guitar tracks populating its dense and heavy structure. Zeppelin normally finish an album with a blues, (on HOTH it's that 12 bar coda for example, 4 has Levee, ITTOD has a symphonic blues.) Here it's pure rock though and powerfully done. All in all this is a wide variety of music that runs quite a gamut of styles. Blues, folk, Middle and Near Eastern, symphonic, rock, country, funk and variations make up a cauldron of great potency. Frankly other than all their other albums it hardly gets more interesting than this release. As Page's initial vision for Zeppelin was completed by the conclusion of the fourth album the rest of the band seemed to open up more compositionally. Look, it's just an idea of mine but it seemed as Presence was Page's Zeppelin album, Out Door belongs to Jones, and HOTH is Plant's baby then this album belongs to John Bonham whose drive and rhythms that are so unique to him can serve so well in any context. I think many rock drummers would be tried and tested by the variety here. But Bonham makes it all happen effortlessly. Physical Graffiti is an incredible album from so many points of view. Great title from Jimmy as well. By the way, do try and get the CD release that's a replica of the LP cover. So much effort went into the LP release (musically, production wise and with its cover art) that to get the appalling '80s dump onto CD with its shoddy version of the art does no one any favours. Bad audio results with poor cover art from Atlantic who should have known better. Otherwise release this is superlative. Now it's relevance as a progressive rock album, apparently as opposed to a mere rock release. I refer you to the second to last paragraph. Essential. I've just remembered that today is exactly eleven years gone from the last time I saw Page and Plant at Wembley, London. Night Flight got an outing there as well.


Report this review (#253089)
Posted Friday, November 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars After the turmoils of ups and downs Led Zeppelin have finally arrived to their final destination and a double album well worth investigating!

Physical Graffiti is a personal favorite of mine. Pretty much the whole first part consists of flawless Hard Rock classics. The second part shifts the album into lower gear while still maintaining the high song quality. This is probably the only time I actually enjoy the blues songs at the end of this mighty record because the tracks flow so naturally in the context of this album as a whole. Besides it's really nice to take things slow towards the end and I hope that more bands can implement that in their decision making when compiling a long record.

This is also easily the most progressive title in the Led Zeppelin discography which is not necessarily the same as being historically ground breaking. While the debut album and Led Zeppelin IV hold the titles for being most innovative releases Physical Graffiti is the album where expanding the band's songwriting to actually made sense in the context of the album's length. The album features quite a few tracks that reach beyond the generally excepted 5 minute song length and unlike the previous lengthy blues oriented compositions like Since I've Been Loving You or How Many More Times these expansions have been done through masterful songwriting and not just blues jams.

If you are unfamiliar with Led Zeppelin and want to explore the legend behind this great band then this is the best album to start with! Granted that none of their albums is completely flawless there are a few lesser moments, fortunately they don't distract from the overall excellence featured here.

***** star songs: Custard Pie (4:13) The Rover (5:37) In My Time Of Dying (11:05) Trampled Under Foot (5:37) Kashmir (8:32) In The Light (8:46) Bron-Yr-Aur (2:06) Ten Years Gone (6:32) The Wanton Song (4:07)

**** star songs: Houses Of The Holy (4:02) Down By The Seaside (5:13) Boogie With Stu (3:53) Black Country Woman (4:24) Sick Again (4:42)

*** star songs: Night Flight (3:36)

Total Rating: 4,64

Report this review (#256120)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Unlike a good double album, this appears to be a single album, and a compilation of previous leftovers. Still, the first disc is good.

Returning to the wonderful format that is the meandering blues jam, Led Zeppelin deliver one of my favourite tracks 'In My Time of Dying'. No moment of the 11 minutes is boring, there's too much energy and vibe. My only regret is that it wasn't on the 'Houses of the Holy' album, which lacked such a workout. 'Kashmir' is eastern and brilliant, with fancy timing, rocking orchestral arrangements and some great vocals from Plant. These two tracks make up half of the good disc. 'Trampled Underfoot' enters the realms of funk/disco, and gets good when the electric piano comes in. Other than that, the rest of the tracks are pretty average. There's less exploration and finishing touches than on previous albums, making it seem a little rushed and rough around the edges.

The second disc treats us to a plucked selection from the build up of second-rate material in the Atlantic archvies (yay...). I actually like 'In the Light' a lot, but I can't help but noticing that it's only eight minutes long because the first four minutes are actually repeated. 'Night Flight' and 'Boogie with Stu' are good fun, but all the other tracks seem a bit depressing and self-sympathetic (both in lyrics and general tone). There are few distinguishing moments, and the songs seem to get worse and worse until the album [eventually] ends. It's very long, unpolished, sloppily put together, long, gritty, samey, long, I think you get the point.

'Physical Graffiti' needs a make- over, and a good haircut. Somebody ought to paint the front cover as well.

Report this review (#278562)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Physical Graffity is a strange beast. Back in the days, I didn't like this album. I missed the blues and I disliked the bare rock sound of most tracks. But given the endless soliloquies of praise this album gets I felt I had to give it another chance.

At its best moments Led Zeppelin sound somewhat re-born after the lackluster performance they laid down on Houses of The Holy. They're rocking and pumping and Plant almost sounds testosterone charged as of old. A lot of the song-writing is very good. Kashmir is the obvious and well-known highlight and also Trampled Under Foot and The Rover usually feature on Zeppelin compilations. A couple of songs like Custard Pie and Houses of the Holy sound a lot like the Rolling Stones.

But the year was 1976 and I guess you weren't considered a serious artist if you hadn't released an 80 minute double album yet. And clearly Zeppelin had to overstretch their creative limit in order to get to 80 minutes. The abundance of filler material drags down the overall quality. The closing track is strong, but the 20 minutes that precede contain too much filler.

Of course it's easy to skip the filler and make a decent 40 minute playlist with the best tracks. I just wished Zeppelin had done that themselves when they released it.

Report this review (#281091)
Posted Sunday, May 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album could very well be the greatest album of all time. This is the best of the best from the greatest band ever. There is so much variety in this album its ridiculous! From ofcourse Kashmir to Bron Yr Aur to Boogie with Stu. Its quite amazing, there's not one song thats just like wow I dont like this song. Who ever thinks this isnt a somewhat good album is crazy period. Listening to this for the first was as good as listening to it the twenty fifth time. Who ever doesnt have this album, should have it. Bottom line, you need to get this and listen to it as fast as you can. This is one of the best albums ive ever heard (and Ive listened to a lot of albums).
Report this review (#285600)
Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the best albums of all time for certain. The songs were all recorded during the band's various studio session between 1970 and 1974.

There is an excellent variety of styles from the good old hard rock of "Custard Pie and "The Rover". "Bron Yr Aur" is an acoustic track which adds some folky flavour whilst "In My Time Of Dying" is belting hard blues rock. "Trampled Under Foot" is funky, Boogie With Stu" and "Black Country Woman" are smooth acoustic rock and roll numbers. There's even a rock love ballad with "Ten Years Gone". Everything is superb but if there should be a highlight then that may be "Kashmir", one of the best classical, orchestral rock compositions ever written. Absolutely not to be missed.

Physical Graffiti is also a favourite of both Page and Plant. Robert Plant said it was the band's most creative and expressive. I have loved this album for many years. It is a must for any truly great music collection. 5 stars.

Report this review (#349767)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Physical Graffiti ? 1975 (2.6/5) 9 ? Best Song: Trampled Under Hoof Whose grand idea was it to go ahead and release a [%*!#]ing double album? I have a hard enough time as it is stomaching their usually terse 40 minute affairs. Is there something to be said about the band's devoted following (95% of all humanity) for having shot this album up the being certified platinum 16 times. That means eight million folks in North America bought, and presumably listened to it. Oh how these mighty men of unfathomable stature tower over their opposition. Yes yes yes yes. It sold eight million copies. What's the critical opinion? Rolling Stone Magazine? 5/5. AllMusicGuide? 5/5. SputnikMusic? 5/5. Blender Magazine? 5/5. Q Magazing? 5/5. Robert Christgau? B+. Amazon? 5/5. Progarchives? 4/5. Yeah, just like every other Led Zeppelin album except for Coda. What do I think? Well it's a series of disjointedly aimless jamming that at once has neither a sense of direction nor a sense of progress. The guitar pyrotechnics aren't solidly engaging, nor are they immediately satisfying. You have absolutely inessential blubber monsters like 'In My Time of Dying' and 'Kashmir', the latter being saved only by the snappy ascending riff that they happen to drive so far into the ground you come out eight minutes later spitting out teeth and boredom. I didn't forget to mention the unavoidable fact that it's a double album, right? Nearly ninety minutes of Zep material, hardly prime at that, is surely overkill, yet the masses flocked to it without a passing thought. Well if it's good for Bonham, it's good for me, they chanted in unison, even if the guy's not any more notable than any other prominent rock drummer around that time. Drum solos are garbage. They fail at covering new ground, fail at redefining the old, and fail at keeping my interest. 'Trampled Under Hoof' is the only great hard rocker to be seen for miles around. I mean, how many times in all history has a riff like the one in 'Wanton Song' been overabused? Better luck next time. Postscript ? It's not terrible, just boring?read through the hate.
Report this review (#441828)
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Physical Graffiti is an essential album, even if every track on it is not.

Stretching out across two albums, this collection of Led Zeppelin's work is hard to judge as a whole. As many reviewers have already noted, if you were to trim off many of the outtakes from other albums, this would be a statement almost as cohesive as IV.

Still, there's a lot to like. From the first disc, we have an opening riot of three essential songs. 'Custard Pie' is Zeppelin taking everything they can from the blues and adding muscle to it, while 'The Rover' is easily one of their best tracks, with a nicely built intro that leads into one of Page's most memorable riffs. The classic 'vintage' bass sound from Jones fills the track, contrasting a fuzzier Page, with the verses accentuated by Bonham's usual power. Then comes the thumping epic 'In My Time of Dying' which really takes off at around four minutes, making perfect use of slight pauses and a stomping rhythm. At just over eleven minutes it's one of their longer work outs, but doesn't dip in quality. From here, I'd jump to 'Kashmir' to round out a list of favourites from the first disc. Not much I want to add to discussions of this song, effective stuff for sure.

On the second disc there is a lower percentage of stand outs. 'Down by the Seaside' and 'Ten Years Gone' are quieter moments. An outtake from IV 'Down by the Seaside' is pleasant with an interesting moment of menace in the middle, and clearly shows Robert's voice in better shape than the (still effective) gravelly tone found on the tracks recorded for Physical Graffiti. 'The Wanton Song' has a great riff, while many of the shorter songs seem like the band having some fun in the studio, 'Night Flight' is one of the more interesting tracks there. It just has a feel that isn't really anywhere on other Zeppelin songs.

A great album, well worth owning if you don't have a lot of Zeppelin. And if you've been waiting because the 'filler' tracks seem plentiful, it's still a solid and highly satisfying album for the most part, perhaps their heaviest too.

Report this review (#456241)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars When recording Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin came out of the sessions with slightly more material than they required for a single album. As a result, they decided to put out a double album, with the extra space consisting of songs recorded in previous sessions but which had never made the cut for earlier albums. Usually, when a band pulls a move like this, it makes me profoundly suspicious because it raises a simple but important question: why, when this material wasn't good enough to be put out on an earlier album, is it suddenly good enough to release now?

In the case of Physical Graffiti, the answer is all too apparent: because the new material is so unimaginative, creatively bankrupt and weak that it makes the old rejects look good by comparison. If you really must listen to one of the great proto-metal bands of their day snooze their way through sub-Rolling Stones country-blues-rock then it's a goldmine, but it lacks all of the verve and vitality and life that the Stones invested the likes of Exile On Main Street with. Occasionally the Zeps break out of this creative rut to do something a little different, but this usually amounts to rehashing another song from their repertoire only making it worse. Kashmir, for example, uses the same drum-led sound as When The Levee Breaks, but adds dull, cliched, and unimaginatively applied strings to the mix and removes the aggression and power and apocalyptic dread that enthused that great album closer.

The first disc is devoted to the longer songs on the set, on which the band take a single musical idea and repeat it without any interesting variation until the listener is completely sick of it. The second disc is devoted to shorter songs, which somehow manage to take the sprawling tedium of In My Time of Dying or Trampled Under Foot and squeeze it down into 3-to-4 minute packages. Oh, and it has Boogie With Stu, which has to be the most useless and pointless song the band ever committed to vinyl. I defy anyone to argue that either disc, taken separately or together, is even remotely of the standard of any of the band's first four albums - or, hell, even Rush's Zep-worshipping first album. Or Presence. Or In Through the Out Door. Or Houses of the Holy.

Taken as a whole, Physical Graffiti is good for one thing only, and that's as an explanation for why punk had to happen: so that complacent, self-indulgent rock aristocracy like Led Zeppelin would no longer be allowed to get away with foisting such a lacklustre, slipshod, slapdash product on the paying public. After punk, dinosaur bands like Zeppelin had to work hard and produce decent products to demonstrate that they weren't extinct yet; beforehand, they could put out flabby, wheezy double albums like this and get critically acclaimed for them. I, personally, am not fooled.

Report this review (#515189)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Custard pie is a five stars piece for the entire album. What about the rest? Now, I was really joking. This was a double one releasd on Christmas 1975 and it was very different from the first 4 ones (don't forget the fifth one, who was transition...?!). It has great songs on it, just listen to Custard pie (it was a regular disco hit!!!, I remember dancing it!!) Kashmir, Trumpled under foot. But what about In the light ? And what about the folky last side (it was released as a double LP)?. Well, as a whole, this is a huge piece of music, a very colourful piece of art, a high standard album. Not related to the album : in 1975 Custard pie was a hit in the discotecs, and this was a signal that trouble was coming : why do we need a discotec??

Report this review (#530522)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars The blimp is going down...

After a brilliant start to their career with 4 masterful albums, Led Zeppelin were beginning to falter on every release. This Zeppelin album is all the left over stuff that was not good enough for the previous albums. Some of it perhaps should have been forgotten too, especially on side 2. To be fair there are some very good tracks on offer here. "In My Time of Dying" is a blues gem, with Plant at his best, and Bonham is wonderful on percussion. "Kashmir" is well composed with some excellent mellotron swirls from John Paul Jones. "Ten Years Gone" features killer riffing and perhaps it is a showcase for Page's lead guitar dexterity. "The Wanton Song" has some great feedback squeals and accomplished drumming by Bonham. "Houses of the Holy" should have made it to the album of its name's sake.

Other tracks feel like outtakes and almost filler material. Things like "Bron-Yr-Aur" are legendary among fans but when it comes down to it is just an acoustic guitar filler. "Down by the Seaside" is something left over from the "Led Zeppelin III" album that would have ruined it. "Ten Years Gone", "Night Flight", "The Wanton Song", "Boogie with Stu" and "Black Country Woman" reek of filler material, and sound more like outtakes that should have ended up as bonus tracks rather than on an official album. "Sick Again" finishes it all on a high note.

So there it is, an album to sift the gold from the dirt. "Physical Graffiti" will always have its fans as it is after all an album that has caused discussion through the years, and features one of the most striking covers, especially the vinyl version with pull out windows. The building has become rather dilapidated over the years and has lost its sheen, but it is still worth dropping by for a visit.

Report this review (#533257)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Physical Graffiti is the band's first attempt at a double album and is consequently probably their most diverse. You have the straightforward blues-stained rockers in 'Custard Pie, 'The Rover,' 'The Wanton Song' and 'Sick Again.' The rock is combined with a more Western country feel in songs like 'Boogie With Stu' and Black Country Woman,' neither of which really appeal to my taste.

The more prog tunes are 'In My Time of Dying,' 'In the Light' and Kashmir. Unfortunately, these songs suffer from excessive length, and in the case of the popular 'Kashmir,' overly repetitious themes.

The real treats (for me at least) can be found in the groovy 'Trampled Underfoot,' the uncharacteristically sweet and slow 'Down By the Seaside,' reflective and powerful 'Ten Years Gone,' and of course the great rocking 'Houses of the Holy.'

Overall, this is one of their more adventurous and varied albums, but ultimately contains a lot of filler, and like most double albums, suffers from excessive length. Still there are plenty of good moments to be had on Physical Graffiti.


Report this review (#771440)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Team
5 stars Many people ask why Led Zeppelin is included in the prog archives. Well, if it weren't for the Prog- related category, then I really can't see why they would be here. They touch upon progressive rock at times, but, except for maybe "Achilles Last Stand" and "The Rain Song", they really don't develop and explore it much. So it is hard to give a decent review to an excellent album like "Physical Graffiti" in the Prog Archives using the rating system as described. But, my line of reasoning here is, that LZ did stretch the boundaries of rock here and they made an amazing rock record because of it, and, since Prog-related is a category, then it stands to reason that it can be considered a masterpiece in the Prog Archives.

I love this album for a lot of the same reasons that a lot of LZ fans and Prog archivists don't love it as much. I love it for it's variety and for it's explorations, for the boundaries of the typical LZ sounds that were stretched here. It's a double album that does not wear out it's welcome (except for the very weak last track "Sick Again").

So, there is a lot of discussion about this being an inconsistent album because it includes new songs and several older songs that were recorded previously and not used on other albums for whatever reason. Honestly, I never even knew this until I read some reviews here. I never thought any of these tracks sounded out of place, they always sounded like LZ was exploring their sound and venturing into new territory which, after all, isn't that what being progressive is all about? People argue that the new songs sound like LZ was losing it's edge. The funny thing is, that after reading a lot of reviews here, the songs that most reviewers like and consider to be more like the older LZ sound were actually the newer songs

. So, which songs were written specifically for this album and which ones where previously recorded? Here is a list: Songs that were previously recorded and left off of other albums were (drum roll please) 1) Bron-Yr-Aur (a short acoustic guitar solo recorded for LZIII) 2) Night Flight, 3) Boogie with Stu, 4) Down By the Seaside (#2,3,4 were all intended to be used on LZ IV which most people consider the highlight of LZ studio work which I disagree fact I think their inclusion would have made it a better album and most LZ fans hate "Boogie with Stu" for whatever reason, it would be interesting to see what their reaction would be in an alternate universe where these songs were included on LZ IV), 5) Black Country Woman, 6) Houses of the Holy, 7) The Rover (5, 6, and 7 were recorded for "Houses of the Holy" album which I think was an underrated album also btw except for "The Crunge" which should never have been released anywhere). The list of songs recorded specifically for this album were 1) Custard Pie, 2) In My Time of Dying, 3) Trampled Under Foot, 4) Kashmir, 5) In the Light, 6) Ten Years Gone, 7) The Wanton Song and 8) Sick Again. What I am trying to say here is that LZ did not lose their edge at this point, and with the songs that are now considered classics in rock being recorded specifically for this album (specifically thinking of "In My Time of Dying" and "Kashmir") only proves this. The better songs in most of the reviewers opinions were the ones recorded for this album. Even though there is a mix of what they consider good and bad in both lists, it seems that the real staples were recorded at this time.

What I would like to say is that your argument about LZ losing their edge at this time is invalid, but of course, it's always a matter of opinion when it comes down to it in the end. The only song I don't like here is "Sick Again" and its a sin that it also ends the album on a bad note. The rest of the songs are 5 star quality in my opinion and I absolutely love the variety here. I can also consider this a progressive masterpiece because 1) it is included here in the Prog Archives under a legitimate category (Prog related) and 2) I feel that LZ was progressing by exploring their signature sound and there is nothing wrong with that. The only place they really messed up was on the album "In Through the Out Door" with the track "Carouselambra" which, no matter how I try, I cannot seem to take a likening of any sort to. In my opinion, "Houses of the Holy" and "Physical Graffiti" was LZ at their peak with LZ III and "Presence" being very close. Not bad for being prog related!
Report this review (#1019296)
Posted Thursday, August 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Physical Graffiti is a great album because it's like a compilation of all the Led Zeppelin's fases: from Blues Rock (Led Zeppelin IV), to acoustic (Led Zeppelin III) and Prog related (Houses of The Holy) songs. So this is a good starting point to someone who never heard any album from them. My favorite tracks are "Kashmir", "In The Light", "Down By The Seaside" and "Ten Years Gone" since they are the most interesting to anyone who want to discover their Prog side. I don't think it's a masterpiece because it has some weak moments: "Sick Again", "Boogie With Stu" and "In My Time Of Dying" is too long.
Report this review (#1113613)
Posted Monday, January 13, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

More than the Kashmir album, in fact.

And here we are. This is my fifth entry in the catalog of Led Zeppelin, and this time they are already one of my favorite bands for a long time. Seeing the ratings here, he is the second best rated behind the band IV, but there is so much controversy surrounding it, especially with many questioning the real need for this to have been a double album - especially the D side, which is considered much weaker than the other. This is something that I'll talk later, but first let's deal with the context in which Physical Graffiti was released .

In 1975 Led Zeppelin was probably the greatest band in the universe. They were on top of the world, and the bands that arose wanted to be like them. Remember that the NWOBHM had not yet arisen, and prog was about to face the menace of punk. At this point Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones had already consolidated their careers, then came up with his most ambitious project: a double album where almost half of the songs had been planned (but not placed) on the previous albums.

The result? Another masterpiece. But the question I want to put out is that Physical Graffiti gathers everything the band has done so far - and with "everything", I mean all the sounds that had already been tried by the quartet. Here are the blues rock, psychedelic music, hard rock and metal raw, pompous progressive rock and even different elements such as oriental music and boogie-woogie. Not to mention its iconic case full of mysterious elements.

Maybe in the end is the fact that so distinguished a release from the band that has made me love this album . I mean, all the members are great as usual ( despite feeling that Plant 's voice seems more tired than on previous albums ) , but if I could choose two prominent figures would surely Jones and Bonham . Bonzo is a god of drums, it can not be denied , and for me he was always a man ahead of his time, both in terms of style, technique and methods of recording your instrument. I love the things he does on songs like In My Time of Dying ( in the middle section , where it doubles the speed compass on cymbal ) and Houses of the Holy , where we can hear a cowbell - beyond the anthology issue of The Rover (a song that I first met in the version of Dream Theater before hearing the original). And Jones... as a bassist he is truly phenomenal ( how its bass contrast with the guitar Page in In My Time of Dying is one of the great things that album ) , but for me it's like multi - instrumentalist he highlights . Just see how there is a strong use of clavinet on some songs like Custard Pie and Trample Under Foot , enriching the band's music .

But the thing that surprised me most was to see me postivamente here as there are plenty of songs that stand out far beyond Kashmir always cited . I am not denying the epicidade this song, but the question is ... Physical Graffiti is not limited to it alone ! Since opening Custard Pie , with killer riffs of Page blending the clavinet and bass Jones , I knew this was going to be a new experience . This is a song along the lines of the band , including up wah-wah solo and harmonica Plant. The Rover is another highlight , especially the melody of the chorus , absolutely unforgettable. So once we got the "pièce de résistance" of this album, the epic In My Time of Dying , the longest song the band has ever recorded - and like the other two above 10 minutes ( Achilles Last Stand and Carouselambra ) , is one of their best . It is interesting to see how their longer songs escape the usual prog "standards" . In My Time ... for example , is heavily planted in the blues rock , the plaintive vocals accompanied by slide guitar Plant Page, the contrasting Jones' bass and Bonham initially restrained drums . When this song explodes... wow . It is one of the best things I've ever heard of these guys , seriously. I feel a chill down my spine when the guitar tone of Page changes on your killer solo. After 7 minutes the music back to its initial theme , and at 8 we are presented with the following lyrics: "Oh my Jesus, oh my Jesus...", and the song explodes again, heading for his extended final ( Plant is having an orgasm here? haha ) . The song ends in a relaxed way , with the voice of Plant disappearing in the words "Oh, do not you make it my dying, dying, dying..." to reveal Bonham Robert coughing and then completing the last sentence: "cough". An epic classic.

Side B opens with Houses of the Holy, a direct and accessible metal. Funny that this song was rejected for the album which was intended - one that takes its title (a situation similar to the song Sheer Heart Attack by Queen, which is on the album News of the World). Trampled Under Foot is the weakest song on this first album, although containing a remarkable solo clavinet Jones. And Kashmir... what to say beyond what has already been said thousands and thousands of times? The classic opening, with powerful instrumentation strings accompanying the band in weight, creating this unique atmospheric and mystique that accompanies the rest of the song. A classic that speaks for itself.

Ok , everything is going well... but I have to say, C side of the album is actually my favorite . In my view it is completely flawless, with three of its four songs remain among my favorites of the whole discography of the band. It opens with the mystical introduction of In The Light , the band probably proggiest here (I thought that there was a synthesizer being used here, but is actually Page playing guitar with violin bow ). This song is quite slow , the vocals of Plant contributing even more to the mystical atmosphere of the song, while Jones performs a synthesizer. The structure will repeat it yet again, although in the end the extended solo Page is accompanied by the letters " In the light, everybody needs the light ." Bron - Yr- Aur is an acoustic piece beautifully performed by Page, who reminds me a lot Black Mountain Side 's first album (although without the tabla drum ). Down By the Seaside became a personal favorite of mine. I have this habit of loving the understated ... had never heard this song until you hear the album, and yet it was love at first sight. . The guitar effects used by Page are among some of my favorite moments of this guy, and for some reason always associate this song to something that the Queen could do (must be because of Seaside Rendezvous). It's an admittedly soft rock music, and we could tell that there is a ballad on this album, it would be her. Ten Years Gone was the second song of this album that I met after Kashmir, and since then I have been quite fond of it. Again Page is the star here, appropriating the electric sitar in the main parts of the song, while the lyrics about a relationship that Plant had. Even having heard other pearls of this album, this song is still signed as one of my favorites of all time.

And here we come... in the cause of discord. It is true that D side does not equal to others , and is in fact the weakest here - but not nearly the tragedy painting. Okay , I could live without Night Flight and Black Country Woman, which in my opinion are the weakest on the disc, but the rest I like (although admits Boogie With Stu is a guilty pleasure ). But The Wanton Song and Sick Again are some of the strongest records here, deliciously heavy songs showing the band in their full powers. The issue is not the songs that make up the D side - that is, in my view, it really sounds anticlimactic after everything we hear. I think if he had been traded to the B side things would have been better - agree, Kashmir would have been an even better closure to the album than Sick Again.

In the end, putting everything in balance, but this album is a masterpiece , but even with songs that have become some of my favorite of the group, not seen as superior to IV and Houses of the Holy. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Report this review (#1154768)
Posted Friday, March 28, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Physical Graffiti is recognized as one of the strongest Led Zeppelin albums, some even say that it is the most "proggy" one. While I definitely agree with the first statement, I'm not too sure about the second one. True, the album runs over a total of nearly 83 minutes. True, 3 of the 15 songs exceed the 8 minute mark. But is that enough?

There is one main point against defining Physical Graffiti as a prog album: There's little variety in the style of the songs. Only Boogie With Stu, which is the boogie the title hints at, acoustic Bron-Yr-Aur and the ballads In The Light and Black Country Woman are different from the rest. All other songs are dominated by strong and heavy guitar riffs, though most of them are more complex than the average hard rock riff of the time. Ok, the intro parts of those songs show some variety, too. And there is of course Kashmir with its string arrangement and complex patterns which certainly qualifies as a prog song.

But as I wrote in an earlier review, an album doesn't necessarily have to be prog to get a high rating from me. It only has to be of high quality which is certainly true for Physical Graffity. I already mentioned Jimmy Page's strong guitar work, but the other musicians performances follow up closely and occasionally surpass him. Especially drummer John Bonham has never performed finer and more energetical than on this album. The same can be said about John Paul Jones on bass and keys and vocalist Robert Plant. He may never qualify as an opera singer, but he did exactly what the song needed in all 15 cases.

I might edit the rating up to a 5 after I've had another quiet hour with Led Zep IV (which will most certainly retain its provisional 5 star rating) to find out whether I feel a difference in quality (and liking) between the two albums. But for now, I go for very strong 4 stars.

Report this review (#1357077)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars The most overrated Led Zeppelin album of them all.

Think of it: It's a double album, one of the best double albums out there; but that's because it's ultra hard to create a really great double album. Is it so majestic as IV? No. Is it so unbelievably tight as their debut? No.

It's definitely a truly great, challenging album with some monumental songs (Kashmir, Ten Years Gone, The Rover, In My Time Of Dying to name a few) that any music lover should own. The production is fantastic too, and the artwork is brilliant.

I strongly believe, though, that it should be classified along Led Zeppelin II in the four stars spectrum, and just half a step behind it.

To sum it up, Physical Graffiti this is the fourth best Led Zep album behind I, IV and II.

P.S. Custard Pie is one of the most overrated Led Zep songs too. OK, it's "catchy", but how many better songs in that style have they wrote? Plenty!

Report this review (#1378730)
Posted Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Physical Graffiti is a double disc album, booth disc have more rock and blues elements than anything, Led zeppelin decided well to go back to their original style. The quality of the first disc is almost perfect, very good songs are present here and Kashmir being the only one with prog elements, I always liked this song, but I always thinked it was overrated. Beginning the second disc with In the Light, it opens with a very prog sound, after comes a good acoustic song with a very well structured rhythm, in the next songs they come back to their blues and rock style, however the following are not equally as good as the ones in the first disc. In fact, from here on the quality of the album is not as good as the previous one. In conclusion, there is too much content here, not every song is as equally good, especially in the second side where only In the light and Bron Yr aur stand out. I think this would be a masterpiece but some inconsistencies mainly in the second disc stopped to be it, but at the end is a very good album, all the song are nice to hear. A 4.5 start album.
Report this review (#2077322)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 | Review Permalink

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