Saturday, May 17, 2008

CD Review: Led Zeppelin IV

1) Black Dog
2) Rock and Roll
3) The Battle of Evermore
4) Stairway to Heaven
5) Misty Mountain Hop
6) Four Sticks
7) Going to California
8) When the Levee Breaks
I personally loved Led Zeppelin III, but others weren't so fond of the band's turn towards folk. So they responded with a disc chock full of classic rockers. Head bangers can't complain about this one.
However, Zeppelin is a versatile band that can branch out and still sound great. Plant, Bonham, Jones, and Page were virtuosos who could deliver with any song you threw them. Softer numbers like "The Battle of Evermore" and "Going to California" sound every bit as decent as the more famous "Black Dog" or "Rock and Roll".
My personal favorite is "When the Levee Breaks", a closer that stands out in a disc full of power, thanks to Bonham's beat, Page's incredible guitar work, and Plant's bluesy harmonica. The guys take a Memphis Minnie song and make it their own. It becomes a heavy, rocking jam akin to some of the other great tracks on this disc, with a sound that still sounds fresh 37 years later.
Same goes for tracks like "Four Sticks" and "Misty Mountain Hop", both featuring nice keyboard work from John Paul Jones. Not to mention the classic guitar riffs on numbers like the latter, "Black Dog", and "Rock and Roll". On those rockers, the riffs sometimes overshadow the words, but Plant's wailing is loud and clear against the tender backing on songs like "Going to California".
But people listen to Zeppelin for those riffs, that heavy stuff. On this disc, Zeppelin gives them what they want - expertly written and performed songs to rock out to. The band of the people.
****2/3 out of five

Oh, and there's this song called "Stairway to Heaven" which is pretty good.

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