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 07/08/2011 | knight_of_the_soundtable
Member since : 07/07/2004
Reviews : 22
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Pro quite an accessible introduction to the music of LED ZEPPELIN with a wide variety of styles
Cons too middle of the road in its approach, the double CD "Remasters" is a far better introduction
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"Houses Of The Shmoly"

It's 1973: The heavy airship goes psychedelic. But can it pass the acid test?

The album opener 'The Song Remains The Same' is a pretty straightforward rock song, indebted to the blues, and adorned with a touch of hardrock sensibility. Robert Plant's vocal lines border on the psychedelic side here with Jimmy Page's guitar at times accompanying them for a bit until the straighter rock riffs take back the lead again. It's a decent enough song, and with its laidback, slightly southern tinged undertones it sets the mood for "Houses Of The Holy" which is clearly one of LED ZEP's lighter, more easily accessible albums. Taking into account the abundance of this band's really outstanding songs, however, 'The Song Remains The Same' cannot hold a candle to any of them. Following up with 'The Rain Song', LED ZEPPELIN go straight for the catch(iness of a somewhat kitschy rock ballad): Its acoustic guitars shine, and Plant's voice sounds very sweet. With some extra-soft string arrangement thrown in with John Paul Jones's smooth bassline, this slow burning ballad seems to be hand-tailored for the romantically inclined. And yet it reeks a bit of run-of-the-mill courtmanship: The obligatory piano part, the almost endless, lulling repetition of soft chord after soft chord after soft chord, and then a bit of swelling strings in between for good measure, and then the piano returns before Plant's voice becomes more pining - oh well, it's all so foreseeable and clichéd that it might make you cringe after listening to it for the umpteenth time. Until then it serves its purpose, though.

'Over The Hills And Far Away' to me at least comes across as more soulful. In its own right, it's a darn good song, but from a legendary band such as LED ZEPPELIN I would have expected more than a crafty but not very original CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL rip-off, which leads us to the album's main fault: For all its - to some probably very appealing - diversity can easily be explained by a simple formula, namely to take the band's trademark hard-rocking original sound as a blueprint and then water it down with a bit of what was popular at the time of its conception, taking only one ingredient per song so as to not offend any potential average radio listener well attuned to the lowest common denominator, and then to file off any idiosyncratic corners that might remain from the amalgamating process. In keeping with this routine we are being served a bit of funk in 'The Crunge' (one of the album's better cuts), a simple boogie with a super-catchy main riff and a couple of good licks in 'Dancing Days' (which would have been fine enough if its chugging but somewhat boring rhythmic stomp just weren't drawn out for quite so long), and in 'D'yer Mak'er' the main influence is reggae. In my opinion, this latter combination works better than most of the other tracks on "Houses Of The Holy", but it does become stale nevertheless after repeated playing. The final rocker 'The Ocean' is but a throwaway single b-side, at least in my book. Closing a LED ZEP album on a just about average hardrock sing-a-long tune that can easily be dug by any drunken lout in any shitty third-rate pub comes as a real disappointment. The only salvaging thing I can say about 'The Ocean' is that you can kill two birds with one stone by scratching it right off the record so that the final track is 'No Quarter', a nicely mellow, somewhat blurry, meandering and mildly psychedelic piece which truly creates what "Houses Of The Holy" taken as a whole sadly lacks: An original atmosphere.

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Comments on this review

  • JEFFJEN published 12/10/2011
    A great review here :)
  • JOHNV published 07/08/2011
    Agree with the comments below. In retrospect it certainly isn't one of their better albums.
  • Borg published 07/08/2011
    I agree with Rosebud below, nicey writen.
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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


Listed on Ciao since: 04/07/2011