Sunday, January 12, 2014

Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin

This is the fifth, and my favorite, album by Led Zeppelin. This album is much different from all the other LPs by them and deserves more praise. It was released on March 28th, 1973 and recorded from January to August the prior year. This is the first time that Zeppelin didn't release an album every year, I and II were from 1969, III was from 1970, and IV was from 1971, this was from 1973. If I'm also correct this is the first album done by their longtime collaborators Hipgnosis. This also includes funk and reggae, and it's a more prominent through the album. The albums prior were all Blues/Folk/Rock. I really got into Zeppelin from Mothership which was on sale because Circit City was closing and we went there the day of the Super Bowl 2007. Instead of watching the game I played the two disc on that CD and Damn! I still love some of those songs, some more than ever. But here's my review.
  1. The Song Remains The Same: This opens, and sets the tone, for this trip. And damn, this is one journey. This track, when played live, was another to feature the famous Gibson EDS-1275 that he used in Stairway. The reason is because he needed it for the next part. On the studio version he overdubs with a Tele and a Rickenbacker 12 String, but that's enough facts. This intro pumps you, and it is tight. Like the later Achilles Last Stand this is great. It was supposed to be an instrumental overture into The Rain Song, but the lyrics give it so much more power. The playing from everyone on this track is top notch and probably the best on this album. The energy emoted from this is amazing, it literally blows me away with each listen. I'm still coming back after almost 7 years of loving this song, the Super Bowl this year will be 7 years. JPJ and Bonzo are just fricken Gods on this track.
  2. The Rain Song: This is a pretty song, but it's also kind of slow. It's also 39 seconds longer than the second longest track No Quarter, an even 7 minutes. The mellotron reminds me though of the orchestral effects in I Talk To The Wind, and it actually kind of saves the song a little for me. This is very nice and I somewhat agree with Plant about it being his best vocal performance. I like his vocals on Achilles more and the prior track, but what ever. The song progressively builds up. If I'm correct there is an alternate tuning in this song? Probably why it achieves that weird guitar sound.
  3. Over The Mountains And Far Away: This sounds like it'd be fun to play on acoustic guitar. This is another tight song. Not as tight as the first track, but it's great. And continues where The Rain Song left off, but picks up the pace of the album. This is a fun song, and the riff right after the solo it awesome. I love the playing on this song, and I think that the acoustic guitar sounds awesome. I also like the whole instrumental ending.... I don't want to spoil it if you haven't heard it, but it's pretty epic.
  4. The Crunge: This is one funky song. It reminds me a little of reggae infused into Mother Popcorn. I love the mellotron, or what every Key instrument JPJ is probably using for the song. It almost sounds like its being played backwards, which reminds me of their take of Revolver. I think the way he "speaks" at the end gives the song a little humors vibe to it.
  5. Dancing Days: This song is odd, but it's great. I like the organ and the odd time signature in this song, If I'm correct it also changes keys in this song. This is just a bizarre song that I hardly imagine would be on the radio if it wasn't be Zeppelin. This isn't that serious of a track either. It kind of falls into that No Quarter realm of odd sounds. Not as atmospheric, but definitely some different things here
  6. D'yer Mak'er: This is probably, no it IS, the funniest moment on this LP. I just want to sing and play along to this track. This is the most reggae on this album, and Zeppelin ever really got. I don't really have much to say about this track, the distortion is sick, the solo rocks. This is just a really fun and not entriely serious song. The title's a pun on "Why'd ya make her, Jamaica". I also love the whole whispered voices at the end and that they add stuff at the ending, it's not just boring and repetitive, they add other instruments and part. The honky-tonk piano thing.
  7. No Quarter: Damn, this song is defiantly a foreshadow. They would do that atmospheric eerie sounding songs on later albums too. I remember being creepy out by this track years ago when I first started getting into Zeppelin, I used to skip this song. Now I almost always listen to this track when I get the chance. That mellotron in this song is damn great, and defiantly why that's one of my favorite instruments. Imagine hearing this for the first time, it's pretty intense. Now it's not as much of a scare, but still. I used to be afraid to listen to Eleanor Rigby and Mr. Kite. The whole piano solo part just kind of takes you to another planet. I could see why people would get stoned to this. I could only imagine what this would be like to hear on that warm vinyl record. The riff in this song reminds me a little of Echoes, like how it's atmospheric and then there's a sick ass riff. I love the ending, when he says the title. That's probably my favorite part, all that guitar fuzz. I need to know how they got that fuzz!
  8. The Ocean: This wraps up the tone of the album, giving it a proper end.  This album has an ocean vibe to it from style to the titles of tracks to the artwork. Naming the end The Ocean brings this theory full circle. As everyone knows the truth, The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution and I'm just pointing it out. This isn't as funky a song as some others, but I like the whole A Capella thing too. Something that reminds me of a song they'd do later on In My Time Of Dying.
Overall I have to give this album a 9/10. Though some of these ideas were later expanded on, this is where it "started over" for them and truly is my favorite album they've released. I mean, they were already established as a blues band, but they kind of got rid of that style for this album, and it worked very well. This album isn't that serious of an album either, which gives it great power.

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