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Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: 1973

Tracklisting:
The Song Remains The Same
The Rain Song
Over The Hills And Far Away
The Crunge
Dancing Days
D'Yer Mak'er
No Quarter
The Ocean
Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin
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Average Blamo User Rating: (4 votes)

Zeppelin continue the trend of following up their oft-regarded classics with records that are generally amongst the lesser known of the Zep catalogue. Although there are still a couple of standards here, it's not as well known or as big as II or IV. However, it is on a par with IV, and it's miles better than II. The band really go all-out here - sticking their fingers in several pies, from pure-grain prog to reggae, right through funk.

This, though, does result in a couple of throwaway tracks - good throwaway tracks. Naturally, their attempts at both reggae ("D'Yer Maker") and funk ("The Crunge") fall flat on their face, but there is a weird perversion factor here...like, say, that time when a Smirnoff-ridden Boris Yeltsin was caught strutting his stuff on live television once. It'shilarious to hear the Zeppelin take on reggae and disco - they're pretty bad, but also good and funny at the same time.

And either way, these two do lord over the two standard Zeppelin tracks on this record - these spots are taken up by the boring "Dancing Days", a song that isn't as bad as the lastalbum's "Misty Mountain Hop", but isn't that far away, and the much better "The Ocean", which is a pretty decent album closer, but isn't really that great either - bar the decentending.

The rest of the songs are a lot, lot better - the head-spinning opener "The Song Remains The Same" is a great song, with about 100 trillion Page parts. Pretty much impossible to pull off live (although they did have a go) but still great here in the studio. Even better is the following "Rain Song" - a gorgeous ballad, filled with great strings, and a fantastic mood from that great guitar player - another Zeppelin classic. Yet another Zeppelin classic follows - the glorious, folky "Over the Hills and Far Away", that also happens to transform into a decent rocker. Also features another great Jimmy Page solo, and a vocal from Robert Plant that isn't offensive for a change.

The best thing on here though, by far, is "No Quarter". Again, it's another red-flagged Zep classic - part of a select few Zep cuts that would make up the cream of their catalogue.Again, the lyrics can be pretty much summed up as ridiculous Uriah Heep styleinterpretations of Norse mythology, but it does not matter one bit when you've got that haunting John Paul Jones organ, and the guitar of Jimmy Page. The solo section, in particular, is outstanding - it actually features 2 great solos. On one side, we have Jimmy Page playing a nice solo on clean guitar, and on the other side, we have the fuzzed-out psychedelic guitar sounds. Overall, it's brilliance.

Another high 8 for this one. A couple of numbers let the side down, but it's still a fantastic album. Worthy of anybody's collection - especially seeing as it's pretty much the last great Zeppelin album. High 8, nearly a 9.

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