Houses Of The Holy is probably the most melodic of all Led Zeppelin’s albums. The album has full and layered sound that relies more on the band’s powerhouse rhythm section of John Paul Jones and John Bonham than on Jimmy Page’s guitars. Don’t worry though, Mr. Page’s powerhouse riffs abound throughout the album, but they are deftly mixed in to create a bigger sound. Mr. Jones’ keyboards are found in heavy doses which is a welcomed thing. “The Crunge” is a James Brown tribute that has a loose, funky feel and “Over The Hills & Faraway” is a driving rocker. “Dancing Days” has a melodious beat with a stinging guitar and “D’yer Mak’er” is a reggae influenced song and is one of the few Zeppelin songs you can actually dance to. “No Quarter” is the most mystical and darkest of all of Zeppelin’s songs. The music has strange keyboards and Robert Plant’s voice is so distorted that is sounds like he’s singing under water. The lyrics are Tokleinesque in nature and the song is a mini masterpiece. The album closes out with the thumping “The Ocean”. Houses of The Holy has another infamous Zeppelin cover and brought them back to number one.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
If you think of Led Zeppelin as heavy metal band, then you’ve only heard Whole Lotta Love and Black Dog. On this album, as with each of their albums, they went far, far outside the realm of whatever heavy metal encompasses.From the majestic opening of The Song Remains The Same to the ’50’s doo-wop fade-out of The Ocean, this is possibly Led Zep’s most consistent album. With one-man orchestra John Paul Jones prominent on The Rain Song and No Quarter, Jimmy Page in brillant acoustic form on Over The Hills And Far Away and pulling out a killer riff in Dancing Days, John Bonham dominating The Crunge and D’yer Mak’er (pronounced Jamaica, for those who don’t know), and Robert Plant superb throughout, each member of the band is at their peak, at a time before the excesses of subsequent tours began to take their toll.The perfect album to listen to pool-side on a sunny day. Just crank it up and enjoy the magic.
“The Song Remains The Same”, “The Rain Song” and “Over The Hills And Far Away” are, in my humble opinion, the best songs the Zeps ever recorded. A sensual bluesy rocker, a gentle acousting tapestrie and a folk song …funky hard rocker, these might not be the most played Zep tracks (“Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir” still hold that distinction), they are certainly some of the best. Almost everything about them is perfect, every guitar track, every bass line, every drum beat. It would be worth getting this CD just for these tracks.What about the rest of the album? It’s quite good. There’s some stuff here that’ll make you roll your eyes up, like the silly funk workout, “The Crunge” and the catchy but stupid “Dancing Days.” But listen to Plant get down with da riddim, mon as he play some of dat reggae in “D’yer Mak’er” (pronounced “Jamai’ker”) “No Quarter” is definitely the creepiest Led Zep song ever recorded. It’s so ominous, foreboding and mournful that it could have been recorded by Black Sabbath in one of their more experimental phases. “The Ocean” is a fun rock work out that’ll get stuck in your head. But really, they could have just recorded sounds of the bands farting and telling bad jokes and I’d still love “Houses of the Holy” because of those first three tracks I mentioned.Can you dig it?
Imagine turning out four of the most successful and groundbreaking heavy metal/blues-rock albums of all time, only to go on turning out more outstanding material. Very few bands in history have consistently delivered mind-blowing albums one after the other for an extended period of time the way Zeppelin has. Zeppelin had invented the sound of the decade, and by 1973, they were really ready to spread their wings (as if they hadn’t already).
“Houses Of The Holy” follows the same foot steps as “Led Zeppelin IV”, but the approach is much more easy-going. Jimmy Page’s riffs range from folk hooks as well as his classic blues-rock hooks, giving the album a lighter and looser feel. The album kicks off with epic “The Song Remains the Same”. “The Rain Song” is a moody, meandering tune, sprawling progressive rock arrangements touching on classical music, jazz, blues, and folk, as well as hard rock. Robert Plant’s vocals are soulful and heartfelt. “The Rain Song” also shows Jimmy Page’s growth as a producer. “Over the Hills and Far Away” was a further progression away from the band’s original heavy blues into more diverse arrangements. The acoustic introduction is a variation of Jimmy Page’s own “White Summer,” which was highly influenced by Davey Graham’s “She Moved Thro’ the Fair.” The affectionate James Brown send-up “The Crunge,” one of my favorites, really adds to the diversity of the album. “Dancing Days” gives you a solid taste of their classic hard rock strut. The reggae-influenced song “D’Yer Mak’er”, featuring John Bonham’s driving drums makes for an exceptional love song. The song was released as a single and reached the top 20, staying on the charts for total of eight weeks. Zeppelin’s spooky “No Quarter” is a jazz, bluesy jam. The songs starts off with John Paul Jones’ electric piano, reminiscent of the Doors’ “Riders On The Storm”. The song jumps into Bonham’s hard-hitting drums, then leads into Page’s blues-rock riff, backed by an analog synthesizer. Plant paints a picture of creepy images within his soaring slowed-down vocals. “The Ocean” makes for a great closer, featuring a funky guitar riff from Page, into an a cappella, going out swinging.
It’s hard to pick a “best” Zeppelin album. Usually my favorite is the one I am currently listening too. “Houses Of The Holy” lives up to the reputation of their first four masterpieces. They took a chance and were unfazed by the spotlight. This album adds dramatic influence to heavy metal, blues-rock and hard rock as we know it today. Don’t miss out on this flawless classic.
Ah, 1973: It was the year I was born, Pink Floyd put out the seminal Dark Side Of The Moon, and Led Zeppelin’s arguably best release, “Houses of the Holy,” also came out. The urgent opening riffs on “The Song Remains the Same” signal great things to come. Jimmy Page does some marvelous twin guitar work, Robert Plant has an almost Chimpmunkish yelp, and we’re off and running. “The Rain Song” quickly tones things down, a soothing, dreamy tune sprung from the South Carribean, with strings in the background for further relaxing effect. “The Rain Song” might be Zeppelin’s best acoustic song ever.
Like Pink Floyd, Zeppelin refused to releasing songs as singles. And yet, structured pop shines through on the folkishly delightful “Over the Hills and Far Away,” the fun rock jingle of “Dancing Days,” and the reggae- flavored “D’yer Maker.” “No Quarter” contains a dimmer vibe, filled with buzzy guitars, a brooding piano, and Plant’s isolated voice coming through in distorted tones, like a man coping with deep depression. Midway through, John Paul Jones plays a beautifully serene piano, only to give way to John Bonham’s smooth rhythmic drum kick. The band’s cohesiveness is at an all-time high here, as everyone involved gets to subtly show off. There’s nothing coy about the next sublime rocker, “The Ocean,” which anybody with half a heartbeat could stomp along to.
“Houses of the Holy” may have been Zeppelin at its height; the band could have called it quits after this record and still be assured easy classic-rock status. It’s simply another great Zeppelin album that adds to a string of greats. The guys kept their style simple, yet branched out a bit and explored new avenues. Some would even say that all Zeppelin albums after this one were pleasant icing on the cake. Of course, the same thing has been said about Pink Floyd after 1973, as well.