Four guys from England grabbed hold of the sweat-drenched, mercilessly sun-exposed blues, dunked them in a giant vat filled with molten metal, and built a bridge half-way to an entirely new music genre.
Early Led Zeppelin may not be heavy metal, but the sound was something entirely new. Taking the blues to heavier emotional depths than ever experienced before, and perversely using deliberately slow tempos to enhance density, Zeppelin pointed to the path that Deep Purple and Black Sabbath would use to storm the world and invent heavy metal.
On their debut self-titled album, Zeppelin take everything to the extremes of their time: Robert Plant's vocals are emotionally raw to the point of revealing an anguished soul; Jimmy Page's guitar wanders down the louder and heavier back lanes of the blues, coating them a definite tinge of black.
John Paul Jones on bass and John Bonham on drums create a prominent base of sludge where unexpected new lifeforms grow, with Jones also contributing surprisingly active keyboards. As the blues are morphing into metal in Led Zeppelin's hands, the psychedelic influences of the late 1960's are in evidence, with swirly, funky accessories sprinkled throughout the album.
Simply listening to the tortured Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is exhausting. Dazed and Confused takes that exhaustion and throws it off a cliff, just as a fun test of added stamina. You Shook Me and I Can't Quit You Babe complete a quartet of amped-up yet slowed-down blues-based tunes that define the album.
On the faster and lighter side, opener Good Times, Bad Times and Communication Breakdown are higher tempo tracks, and their energetic guitar riffing points straight to a future world filled with the hardened heavy metal that this album helped to invent.
Robert Plant - Vocals
Jimmy Page - Guitars
John Paul Jones - Bass, Keyboards
John Bonham - Drums
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. Good Times Bad Times - 8
2. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You - 9 *see below*
3. You Shook Me - 8
4. Dazed And Confused - 9
5. Your Time Is Gonna Come - 6
6. Black Mountain Side - 6
7. Communication Breakdown - 10
8. I Can't Quit You Babe - 8
9. How Many More Times - 8
Produced by Jimmy Page.
Engineered by Glyn Johns. Mastered by Barry Diament.
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