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346
4.7 out of 5 stars
Led Zeppelin IV
Format: Audio CDChange
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Incredible remastering job from Mr Page and team. This remastering is amongst the best I have heard this side of the King Crimson 40th Anniversary Steven Wilson releases.

No point in rehashing the contents so I will just concentrate on the sound quality. The separation of the instruments and voices is a relevation.

When The Battle of Evermore starts you can tell that this version is special. Robert Plant and Sandy Denny just sound amazing. It is possible to clearly hear each ones every note as distinctly separate voices, which I have to admit to not being able to do so before. Plant even does three part harmonies at times, again, not something that previous versions laid out so clearly. There is a great bit of Pages studio trickery towards the end of the song where he uses varying amounts of reverb to get the voices to sweep in and then move away as the harmony lines build up. Sandy Denny's voice is a wonderful foil to Plant throughout.

The steel strung acoustic guitar at the start of Stairway rings out panned hard to the left, then in come the recorders co of John Paul Jones, as he overdubs a couple of lines. You can hear the wood in the recorders here.

John Bonhams cymbals all sound properly metallic and there is a difference between them rather than just a splashy tizz, so common on all too many CDs.

The sound of Bonhams drums on Levee can now be heard coming back down from the roof after whipping up past the mics ;-)

This set has the least interesting set of outtakes though. They sound too close to the finished items to be of sustained interest. Exceptions would be the instrumental versions of The Battle of Evermore and Going To California, which sound sublime and allow us to hear just how good Jimmy and JPJ could play acoustic instruments.

As others have mentioned, the cover is missing the high rise flats and does the wonderful original design no favours at all. That 5 second photoshop reveresed colours front sleeve does nothing for me at all. Zeppelins covers were up there with the very best of the designs that came out during the glory years of vinyl. I was pleased to see the spinning wheel on the reissue of Zep 3 and am all the more perplexed as to why they should put that level of effort into it and not this. Just out of curiosity, does anyone out there remember the first version of the sleeve for 4? I am sure there was a poster on a wall below the high rise that was for Oxfam, which was deliberately fudged on subsequent releases. Perhaps I am imagining it.....

If you have any interest in this album this is a no brainer. Give a Black Dog a good home.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2014
This is one of those rare occasions when you are far better off getting this version than the so-called deluxe version, with a pointless second disc. The original album doesn't need anything else written about it. It's simply one of the greatest works in rock history, and you don't need a second disc you'll only ever play once.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2014
I was in a real dilemma as to how to rate this. Five stars to the original album, and one star for the bonus disc, which as a package is blatant cash-in. It's about time Mr Page gave us some really worthwhile offerings, such as Earls Court '75 instead of these money making retreads.
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66 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2006
This was a pioneering rock album by the band everyone aspired to be at the time, and are influenced by now. Unlike many other groundbreakers, this isn't particularly dated and still holds its own in a market that has moved on.

'Stairway to Heaven' deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time great tracks, but the others aren't fillers. More a case of 'Stairway' as the pinnacle of the album. Plant's vocals are forthright, bluesy and angst-ridden. Page's guitar lines are ideal in each situation and provide some great riffs. Bonham's drumming really is incredible rock drumming - hard, heavy, and not always as predicted. Somehow John-Paul Jones and his bass are by comparison, merely perfect.

There's a variety here - rocky numbers like 'Black Dog' and 'Rock n Roll', then slow blues like 'When the Levy Breaks'.

Since this album, the rock guitar has become louder and heavier through Motorhead, AC/DC, Anthrax, Slayer, through to the modern thrash. Despite that, this album still sounds fresh and has an edge of creative genius that many new bands just don't have as much of.

I write this not as someone who was there when it came out and is nostalgic (I'm too young!) but someone who found it after discovering the modern rock and metal world. And it's still, really, that good.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I remember walking up to Dolphin Discs in Talbot Street in Dublin in November 1971 and seeing the long-awaited album sleeve to Led Zeppelin's new album be given pride of place in their window display. Even at the tender age of thirteen and twelve - my sister Frances and I were devoted Zeppelites - so I drew closer to ogle. Someone in the shop had made a white cardboard star, drawn "LED ZEP IV! IT'S HERE!!" in the album's inner sleeve calligraphy and stuck the card star on the top right of the untitled matt sleeve. People were stopping to gawk - what's the big deal? But I remember thinking only one thing. Cheeky buggers - the Zeps are now so big they haven't even put a bleeding title on it! How very...well...Rock and Roll.

Fast-forward to 2014 and another reissue and yet another (far better) remaster. Here are the levees breaking, hops on misty mountains and the May Queen bustling in your hedgerow...

Released October 2014 - this review if for "Led Zeppelin 4" [aka "Four Symbols"] the 2CD DELUXE EDITION on Atlantic 812279446 (Barcode 081227964467) which breaks down as follows:

Disc (ORIGINAL ALBUM - 42:38 minutes):
1. Black Dog
2. Rock And Roll
3. The Battle Of Evermore
4. Stairway To Heaven
5. Misty Mountain Hop
6. Four Sticks
7. Going To California
8. When The Levee Breaks

Disc 2 (COMPANION AUDIO Unreleased Studio Outtakes - 40:35 minutes):
1. Black Dog (Basic Track With Guitar Overdubs)
2. Rock And Roll (Alternate Mix)
3. The Battle Of Evermore (Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange)
4. Stairway To Heaven (Sunset Sound Mix)
5. Misty Mountain Hop (Alternate Mix)
6. Four Sticks (Alternate Mix)
7. Going To California (Mandolin/Guitar Mix)
8. When The Levee Breaks (Alternate U.K. Mix)

For a supposed DELUXE EDITION the 16-page booklet is adequate at best - colour live shots, the inner sleeve reproduced in the centre pages and a few basic reissue credits on the last few pages. For such an iconic band and prestigious catalogue - you think Atlantic could have pushed the boat out a bit more. It's noticeable also that the track list stick-on sheet that was pasted on to the rear sleeves of I, II and III is now on the outside of the shrinkwrap for you to place wherever you want. It's also irritating because you can barely read the writing on it. But to the really good news...

The much-lauded JIMMY PAGE remaster is excellent and a definite improvement on what we had before - especially on the beautiful acoustic tracks "The Battle Of Evermore" and "Going To California". But it's when we hit "Black Dog", "Rock And Roll" and especially the monster "When The Levee Breaks" that the real sonic punch kicks in. The harmonica on "Levee" threatens to run amuck in your living room while that acoustic break in "Four Sticks" after the guitar intro is absolutely huge. It has to be said that there's noticeable hiss on some of the quieter parts in "Stairway" but not enough to be intrusive or detract. The same applies to the John Paul Jones keys in "Misty Mountain Hop" and Bonzo's drums just so powerful. But for me the sonic jewel on here is the mandolin/guitar battles and vocals in the stunning "Battle Of Evermore" with SANDY DENNY guesting so sweetly.

The liner notes for the 'Companion Audio' give it some waffle about 'new material' recorded for the 'works in progress' - it's deliberately ambiguous because you can't feel that a lot of these 'outtakes' were done in the studio with Pro Tools in the last few years and bear little resemblance to 1971. Having said all of that - they are irritatingly brilliant! You'd be hard pressed to spot the differences in either the Basic Track of "Black Dog" or the Alternate Mix of "Rock And Roll" but the Headley Grange version of "The Battle Of Evermore" is fabulous stuff - guitar bits coming at you've never heard before. Having become so accustomed to the finished take of the album's goliath "Stairway To Heaven" - the Sunset Sound Mix feels oddly unsatisfying - even though that beautiful electric guitar break remains virtually intact (and still has the power to thrill). But I'm taken aback yet again by the sheer Zep power of "When The Levee Breaks" where there's more echoing on the guitars and harmonica to a point where it feels like its going to get out of hand (but it doesn't). And that little guitar flourish at the end is Production genius. Wow!

So what we have is a five-star album given five-star sound and four-star presentation (don't get me started on the rip-off Uber Deluxe Edition). I can remember the excitement their albums used to engender on arrival - and this morning - tingles returned - and that's good enough for me (name or no name). Onwards to "Physical Graffiti" in February 2015 (40th Anniversary) - yum yum...

PS: I also bought "Houses Of The Holy" this morning and it sounds infinitely better too...while the companion disc may the best so far...
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2014
Zep 4 all remastered and sounding lovely. Legend is that p*ssed off trying to nail four sticks Bonzo started the intro to rock 'n' roll and 10 minutes later they had a song. This remaster suggests bonzo was still a little nutsed off with something when it came to recording the track as it's a pretty pugilistic performance, wonderfully captured. Before that jimmy page shows what effective lead guitar playing sounds like on the outro to Black Dog, unlike his live work, here he displays an economy and lazer sighted delivery, my personal favourite of his up tempo solos.
Stairway sounds beautiful, it's funny, after all the naff cover versions and the overblown self indulgent live releases to hear the source code version dragged from her hedgerow and given a rainwater wash down. This was what all the fuss was about. Misty mountain is magnificent, this is why the french can't do rock, you have to eat meat and potatoes to knock this kind of stuff out. I could waffle on but you probably know all about this stuff.
I guess what you want to know is, is it worth shelling out for the deluxe edition? For me this is the better of the 5 so far relased by virtue of the fact that 6 of the 8 tracks are at least virtually complete (no lead guitar on black dog) and therefore of some abiding interest to me at least. Most revelatory is maybe 4 sticks which seems to have better dynamics, I maybe prefer this to the released version, the others are pretty close to the originals and you can at least play spot the difference.
My whinge is as always with these remasters why not release complete alternative versions. Mr Page is always telling us how he "keeps everything" so why not an alternative lead track on Black dog, how about a Robert Plant guide track on battle of evermore instead of an instrumental, ditto going to california. I can't comprehend that such versions don't exist, in fact I know a lot of us have heard 'em on dodgy bootlegs.
Finally the booklet. I ask again, how old does Mr Page think we all are? How interested are we in seeing another 16 pages of photos of the boys in front of non descript crowds at mega gigs? He may be endlessy fascinated in this stuff, due no doubt in part to the fact there's not much else going on? but given a lot of us have been buying this stuff for 40 years does he not think we have enough? What would have been great would have been a good informative booklet, some memories anecdotes etc. Here we have after all, a genre defining, earth shaking, ground breaking album, considered by many as the greatest rock album ever, by some as one of the greatest albums ever. It's treatment (and that of the fans) here is shoddy compared to the back catalogue of much much lesser artists which is a real shame
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This 1971 album is considered by many to be Zeppelin's best, and almost everyone acknowledges `Stairway' to be their all-time greatest song.

`Zep 4' is however more than just `Stairway': it's a collection of fine numbers, with no flat spots. There's great rock music in `Rock & Roll' & `Misty Mountain Top' plus the interesting opener `Black Dog' with its 3-part structure & unconventional rhythms. There are some memorable acoustic-folkie songs: `The Battle of Evermore' dominated instrumentally by mandolin & one of the very rare occasions when the band used a female singer (Sandy Denny) to harmonise with Robert Plant, and the sublime `Goin' to California'. The dark & heavy `Four Sticks' has Bonzo playing with 4 drumsticks throughout the action, and the epic closer `When the Levee Breaks' rounds things off in great style.

When so much music from the intervening decades now sounds dated, this is still fresh and interesting. Is this the sign of a true classic?

The original cover art contained no words whatsoever, not even a title; the album's title was supposed to be four ancient Icelandic runes. But how are you supposed to pronounce that? The band didn't want this album referred to as `Led Zeppelin 4' but that's exactly what everyone calls it; from this point on, their albums had real names.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This 1971 album is judged by many to be Zeppelin's best, and most consider `Stairway' to be their all-time greatest song (it's certainly the best known).

`Zep 4' is however more than just `Stairway': it's a collection of fine numbers, with no flat spots. There's great rock music in `Rock & Roll' & `Misty Mountain Hop' plus the interesting opener `Black Dog' with its 3-part structure & unconventional rhythms. There are some memorable acoustic-folkie songs: `The Battle of Evermore' dominated instrumentally by mandolin & one of the very rare occasions when the band used a female singer (Sandy Denny) to harmonise with Robert Plant, and the sublime `Goin' to California'. The dark & heavy `Four Sticks' has Bonzo playing with 4 drumsticks throughout the action, and the epic closer `When the Levee Breaks' rounds things off in great style. When so much music from the intervening decades now sounds dated, this still sounds fresh and interesting.

Now: is the 2014 `2-CD Deluxe Edition' worth buying, or should you stick with your old CD or vinyl?

The 2-CD release follows the format of its predecessors (1, 2 & 3) in offering the original album remastered on the first CD and a second disk of extra material. The remastering of the original album is fabulous and sounds better than ever, with a deep warm sound and everything in perfect balance. As LZ4 is considered by most to be the zenith of Zep's output containing consistently A1-class material, it's worth buying just for this alone.

The second CD contains only alternate takes of the album tracks, in the same running order. Most sound too close to the original songs to be of sustained interest to any but the die-hard Zeppelin obsessive. There are `karaoke' (i.e. no vocals) recordings of `Battle of Evermore' & `Going to California', which highlight the superlative mandolin and acoustic guitar work of Jimmy page and JP Jones. The standout track here though is `Four Sticks' with a more insistent pounding beat from Bonzo and a truly frenetic vocal delivery by Robert Plant. This take ought to have been selected as the original album track IMO.

So overall the extra material on disk 2 is mildly disappointing. However if you don't have the original album in your collection, then this 2014 `Deluxe Edition' is the one you should go for. Due to the timeless brilliance of the original album and Jimmy Page's excellent remastering job, it's not possible to award this epic classic less than five stars.

The original cover art contained no words whatsoever; the album's title was supposed to be four ancient Icelandic runes. But how are you supposed to pronounce that? The band didn't want this album referred to as `Led Zeppelin 4' but that's exactly what everyone calls it. The 3-gatefold cover offered here lacks the rear cover-art of the original 12" vinyl, opting instead for a kind of psychedelic negative of the front cover, a framed photo of the old country guy carrying a bunch of sticks on his back, so doesn't feel as authentic as the other releases in the series. The 16-page booklet contains mostly photos of the band on stage, plus a replica of the original rough grey album sleeve containing the lyrics to `Stairway', and a splendidly nostalgic full-colour image of the `Electric Magic' poster for the 1971-11-20 gig at The Empire Pool, Wembley. Ah, the memories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 16 November 2014
Five stars for the remastering done and five stars for the album itself, but the second disc is a waste of time. If the remastering of the classic album wasn't so awesome I'd feel cheated but more could have been put into the companion discs
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2009
The best Led Zeppelin album of them all. Some immediate punchy vocal drama with 'Black Dog', and then the shameless joy of 'Rock & Roll'. The sublime melodic pastoral journey that is 'The Battle of Evermore'. 'Stairway to Heaven' follows,setting the standard for the next 20 years. You cannot be a Rock fan and not own this. The last track, 'When the Levee Breaks' is one of the most complex LZ ever recorded. With its roots in a song from 1929 (!) it sweeps over you, rolling and surging. You will go back again and again to experience it. Get this album in your life you will not regret it.
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