Houses of the Holy (Digitally Remastered) - Led Zeppelin

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Houses of the Holy (Digitally Remastered) - Led Zeppelin

Hard Rock - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Atlantic - Distributor: Arvato Services, Cinram Logistics - Released: 01/08/1997, 08/1997 - 75678263927

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Review of "Houses of the Holy (Digitally Remastered) - Led Zeppelin"

published 11/03/2010 | RPB1968
Member since : 25/01/2010
Reviews : 141
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Pro Quality Zep pre-graffiti
Cons None.
very helpful
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"Crunge worthy in its best sense!"

A strange choice maybe for my favourite Led Zeppelin but 'Houses Of The Holy' their fifth studio album has always held a special place in my heart when considering personal musical highlights.

The raw power and quality of the first two albums is replaced by a far cleaner sound and though close to the eclectic style of the third release as a follow up was never going to hit the classic status given to Led Zep IV.

'Houses Of The Holy' released in 1973 holds up well on its own merits deserving far more credit than given at the time by the media.

The overall production of this album far exceeds the quality of the previous four and some of the tracks included are styles never attempted before by the band.

The opening track 'Song Remains The Same' is a classic guitar opener that typifies the unique style of Jimmy Page.
The frenetic pace of this track makes it a perfect intro to the album. From the outset you pick up on the production changes in particular the guitar which has a far more structure in the delivery than earlier albums. The classic rock guitar lines are more complex which adds a whole new dimension to the Zeppelin sound. Plants vocals I think have been sped up on this to compliment the guitar work. I could be wrong but having heard the track 'live' it does come across very differently.

'The Rain Song' is an incredible complexity of styles with so many segments fed into the arrangement. Some amazing mellotron from John Paul Jones really creates an atmospheric vibe to the track. Led Zeppelin rarely did the ballads but when they delivered one it always came off a treat. There is quite a classical feel to this track and Plants vocal is quite exquisite.

My favourite of the album is "Over the Hills and Far Away" which has a fantastic guitar break to open and literally does flow like a journey up and down and over the hills. Though a single in the States, its commercial appeal was ignored in the UK. Incredibly catchy with superb vocals from Plant; this is one of Zeppelins finest moments for me. It is a truly wonderful track.

"The Crunge" is an enigma in that it is quite unique in its approach and was completely outside Zeppelins comfort zone at that time. It is effectively a jam session taken out of the playtime zone and given space on an official release. It is so loose yet so complex at times and has an over-riding funk feel throughout. The song is apparently a tribute of some sort to James Brown which would explain why there are references at the end of the track to 'the bridge'.

'Where's that confounded bridge?'

"Dancing Days" has always been a highlight for me with its almost transcendental feel throughout. The song has a real lazy hot days feel about it and the vocals have such a free and easy flow. Jimmy Page is bang on form with this one with some wonderful guitar work.

Zeppelin go reggae (well almost) with "D'yer Mak'er" a track that was particularly slated by the media at the time. Such an infectiously catchy number with truly anal lyrics that work to perfection the highlight has to be the drumming. The thumping sounds of John Bonham actually break this track away from being an obvious reggae number. The guitar and vocal compliment the theme and Bonzo then does his own thing on top. The result is a legendary recording much talked about over the years since.

"No Quarter" is a true Zeppelin epic which highlights keyboard skills of John Paul Jones. Not a typical Zeppelin number at the time it quickly became a classic. The strength of the track is the ease of the delivery and the reluctance to up the tempo. It is yet another arrangement with quite mystical undertones. So much detail; so much quality; what an amazing track.

"The Ocean" is a fine finale to the album and a track fondly received by the Zeppelin faithful over the years. Truly classic Page guitar and vintage Plant vocals make this a perfect conclusion to the album.

Track listing
1. "The Song Remains the Same"
2. "The Rain Song"
3. "Over the Hills and Far Away"
4. "The Crunge"
5. "Dancing Days"
6. "D'yer Mak'er"
7. "No Quarter"
8. "The Ocean"

The only shortfall of this album is the failure of what effectively was the title track to appear on the album. The track 'Houses of the Holy' did not show itself until 'Physical Graffiti'; quite why it never made the cut is unclear; a band decision I guess..

How can I really complain anyway; the album is a gem regardless.

'Houses of the Holy' is a true classic in every way and most deserving of a place in your collection.

Whole Lotta Love' and 'Stairway To Heaven' may be readily called on when you think of Zeppelin but the quality really does stay the same when you take on board this album.

Excellent stuff!

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Comments on this review

  • anonymili published 12/03/2010
    Well written piece on a band I've never listened to :)
  • hillhead published 11/03/2010
    Well covered!
  • MEL0611 published 11/03/2010
    Well reviewed x
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Product Information : Houses of the Holy (Digitally Remastered) - Led Zeppelin

Manufacturer's product description

Hard Rock - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Atlantic - Distributor: Arvato Services, Cinram Logistics - Released: 01/08/1997, 08/1997 - 75678263927

Product Details

EAN: 75678263927


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