Saturday, 25 October 2014

CD Review: Houses Of The Holy, by Led Zeppelin (1973)


Led Zeppelin's fifth album in five years, Houses Of The Holy finds the world's biggest and most famous band cruising at a rarefied altitude of unusually high quality. This is a record of remarkable consistency, every track an exquisitely constructed marvel of sophisticated music.

The sound is orchestral, dreamy and rich. With shadings of funk, jazz and rock, as usual the album is undefinable as a genre and unmistakable as Zeppelin. There is an occasional burst of pure metal, and the band generally settles down to the comfort of mid-tempo instrumental segments punctuated by Robert Plant's searing vocals.

The highlights are many. Dancing Days unleashes an infectious riff and majestic guitar work from Jimmy Page. No Quarter is a 7 minute journey to whole other solar system, Plant's anguished, hushed vocals playing with a haunting melody and thumping drumming from John Bonham, with Page contributing a buzzy hook for the ages. And The Ocean is the crown jewel of the album, Bonham putting on a drumming clinic while Page lets loose yet another timeless riff with a diamond edge. The band even find the time to sprinkle clever humour onto the album, The Crunge still looking for that confounded bridge on a song that has none.

Every other track on the album earns its place and leaves its mark. Almost effortlessly, Houses Of The Holy is another confirmation of the band's genius and one the best albums of the seventies.


Band:

Jimmy Page - Guitar
Robert Plant - Vocals
John Bonham - Drums
John Paul Jones - Bass


Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. The Song Remains The Same - 8
2. The Rain Song - 8
3. Over The Hills And Far Away - 8
4. The Crunge - 8
5. Dancing Days - 9
6. D'yer Mak'er - 8
7. No Quarter - 9
8. The Ocean - 10

Average: 8.50

Produced by Jimmy Page.

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