Top critical review
14 people found this helpful
Earth Shaking, ground breaking but still a bit of a Led Down
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