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Achilles Last Stand
on November 5, 2015
This 1976 release found the group in a bit of a rough spot – evidently Robert Plant sang the entire album in a cast after an accident. To make matters worse, a large slug of material had been used for the excellent Physical Graffiti album (1975), which left them with little new material. Surprisingly though, in spite of it all, this is actually a pretty good album. That and it has one of my favorite Zeppelin tunes – the near epic Achilles Last Stand.
Musically, Presence has some really excellent compositions, although I caught the faintest whiff of arena rock on some tracks – the “sword and sorcery” mysticism of earlier albums was definitely wearing off. Then again, this was 1976 and flower power was ancient history. In terms of the performances of the group members, they really are very good –John Bonham in particular does a fantastic job on Achilles Last Stand. I guess my only regret is that they didn’t save some of the Physical Graffiti material for this album – Presence would have been spectacular. Then again, had they done that, we would not have Physical Graffiti.
This remastered album is not bad – it has good sound quality and some generic liner notes that include the track listing, production credits etc.
All in all this is a good album by the group and has enough to offer the Led Zeppelin fan that it should provide some good listening. Recommended along with II (1969), III (1970), IV (or ZoSo) (1971), Houses of the Holy (1973) and Physical Graffiti. Although I enjoy the 1979 follow-up album In through the out Door, it does not have the energy of Presence.