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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Led Zeppelin

II

Review by Gary Hill

This is widely considered one of Zeppelin’s best discs. Frankly, I don’t think they’ve got a bad album, but I’d think of this one as sort of average for the band. Yes, I know it’s got some of their bigger hits, but I tend to prefer the more experimental side of the band. This one feels almost like a harder rocking extension of the first disc. If they’ve got a heavy metal album, this is it. There are a couple of cuts that could be considered to foreshadow the third album, but really this is far closer to the album that preceded it than the one that would follow. It’s a great disc, mainly because every Zeppelin disc is great. It’s just not, perhaps, all that it’s been built up to be.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Whole Lotta Love

Those who think of Led Zeppelin as a metal band need look no further than this track for their evidence. Based on a smoking riff this is quite fiery. It’s got a lot of what they showed off with “Dazed and Confused” from the first album in the middle of the track. That’s a psychedelic jam that has a ton of stereo effects. The main song is like a blues cut turned heavy metal.

What Is And What Should Never Be
There’s a cool bluesy mellow groove that makes up the verse on this one. It’s almost jazz with some psychedelia thrown in. The chorus powers out into a killer riff-driven jam. It makes for a nice contrasting counterpoint (both within itself and against “Whole Lotta Love”). In the hard rocking jam later in the track we get more of those stereo effects we heard in “Whole Lotta Love.”
The Lemon Song
This bluesy rocker could have fit quite well on the band’s debut disc. It borrows heavily from some blues classic, but has a smoking guitar solo section. The bass driven mid-section is quite cool. 
Thank You
The most melodic cut here, this is almost prog rock. The organ on the track is quite cool and the overall arrangement is just awesome. This is the closest to the music the band would do on their next album. It’s a nice change of pace from such a heavy disc. I’ve always liked this cut a lot and it still holds up nicely. There’s a cool false ending followed by a brief reprise on the organ. 
Heartbreaker
The riff that drives this rocker is one of the catchiest Zeppelin ever came up with. This is a killer rocker. It’s just such a tasty slab of classic rock, kind of like Zeppelin does Free. The guitar solo on this is both classic and tasty. 
Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
This comes in as the second part of the previous piece, running right together. It really does, in many ways feel like the same song. The vibe between the two is the same, but this is, perhaps, a bit less “mean.”
Ramble On
“Ramble On” is a great title for this song. It really fits it well. This is a rambling sort of groove. It’s the second most melodic piece. There’s some definite rock and roll going on, but this is another that’s almost progressive rock in many ways. 
Moby Dick
I’ve never been a big fan of drum solos, and that’s really what this song is. It’s got a smoking riff driven section opening and closing it, but the bulk of this is the drum solo.
Bring It On Home
The first minute and a half of this cut are in a motif that is like a modernized Robert Johnson blues sound. They power it out from there into a real rocker. This cut is one that feels like it could have fit on the group’s debut disc.
 
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