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Customer Review

119 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jimmy Pages crowning achievement, March 16, 2000
This review is from: Presence (Audio CD)
When Robert Plant and his family sustained serious injuries in a car accident on the Greek island of Rhoads in August 1975, the future of Led Zeppelin was immediately thrown into question. To further complicate matters, the band was spending a year of non-residency outside of Britain due to said countrys tax laws. Unable to tour, and unable to live with their families, the band decided to record a new album, "Presence". Recorded and mixed in just 18 days in Munich, West Germany, the results are striking and easily Led Zeppelins most personal album.
The epic "Achilles' Last Stand" catches Zeppelin at their most powerful and desperate as Jimmy Page builds track upon track of harmonized guitars while the rest of the band thunder maniacally behind him and Plant. It is certainly a task to follow this piece, and sure enough, the other songs don't quite measure up to "Achilles'". The rest of the album is mid-tempo guitar rock inspired by Plants frame of mind post-accident. "For Your Life" is depressing song about drug abuse which contains another fine Page solo. "Royal Orleans" is a short, compact funk-rock piece which supposedly cronicles John Paul Jones' misadventures with a drag queen in New Orleans 2 years previous. "Nobodys Fault But Mine" is a pounding blues-rock song with the Jones-John Bonham rhythm section caught in fine form, making the stop-start riffs sound easy. Pages lead is again worth mentioning. "Candy Store Rock" is a throw-away old-time Elvis-esque rock-and-roll piece which finds Page doing his best Jimmy Burton/Scotty Moore impersonation. "Hots On For Nowhere" is one of Zeppelins minor league masterpieces which has a swagger and a hacked off Robert Plant taking shots at his friends. Pages solo again is excellent, with plenty of Strat abuse as he pounds his whammy bar. "Tea For One", which closes the album, is often compared to "Since I've Been Loving You". It is a slow minor blues which has yet another classic Page solo and a desponant Plant lamenting his seperation from his wife and family.
"Presence" is arguably Jimmy Pages best work as a guitarist. The quality of his rhythm and lead work easily surpasses his work on the rest of the Zeppelin canon. "Achilles' Last Stand" alone is worth the price of the album, but the remaining six tracks also have plenty to offer. It is a personal album which may not immediately hit you hard, but over time will become a favorite.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 13, 2010 1:54:46 AM PDT
...what he said.

Posted on Jan 2, 2012 9:07:25 PM PST
After spending my high school years enamored with Zeppelin (like everyone else), I spent about 20 years not listening to the band. Upon returning, this (along with sides 3&4 of Physical Graffiti) have become my favorite. Not a bad track here, and I wouldn't disregard 'candy store rock' either....

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 1:14:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 14, 2015 1:18:59 PM PDT
John Yeara says:
Decent review...I agree...some of Page's best work, but not sure how you reconcile saying that, but putting down pieces other than Achilles Last Stand, saying they don't live up to it. Zeppelin is one of those acts that you can't compare one piece to another. They are very diverse.....it's like comparing the Rain Song to D'yer Maker.....they are going to serve different purposes: particularly when you note how they put their albums together. Candy Store rock is very underrated... As is Hots on for Nowhere....and in the framework of a Zeppelin record fit quite nicely, while giving Page a chance to play around w sounds, techniques, and guitar layering....similar to some of his work on Physical Graffiti. Zeppelin albums are not a collection of songs, they are a Suite; a complete work.
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