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Led Zeppelin returns to full flight (2014 remaster),
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This review is from: Led Zeppelin II [Deluxe CD Edition] (Audio CD)
Most folks who buy this stunner of an album are going to be those who are familiar with the contents and just want to know whether it is worth their while and cash to get the new versions so that is basically what I hope to sort out.
Doing an A-B with the superb remasters done without compression away back in the early 90's shows this new version to be no louder, to have great instrumental separation and no compression issues. This is a cd that can be thrown on and cranked up without the earache inducing nonsense that plagues so many rock albums. Sonic quality and not sonic assault has been the aim for this game and it pays off big time.
Plants vocals just float right out of the mix, dead center for most of the time, swinging wildly from speaker to speaker at others. His voice just sounds like a guy in a recording booth singing his heart out, rather than a version of the sound of a guy singing his heart out in the recording booth, if you get my drift. He just sounds right.
John Paul Jones bass has never sounded better, every note is now distinct and clear, from the attack(so you can tell when he is using a pick or fingers) right through to the palm mutes, resonant fade aways etc..... I have heard lines here that were never apparent before but are there when I go back to the previous remaster.
Jimmy's guitar work, well that is just the bizz, as you would expect. What he doing is more apparent, for example the over dubbed guitar army now has each guitar spread out that wee bit better, his string bending better defined.
John Bonham's drumming is much easier to appreciate, cymbals ringing out and decaying more naturally, better bottom end bass drum welly thudding out nicely.
The downside of this increase in sonic fidelity is that you can clearly hear when the original tape levels were pushed into distortion. This is not so noticeable on previous remasters, tending to be masked behind the lower resolution of the digital master, but that's the price you pay when fidelity is the goal. This is not the same as the digital mess you get when a recording is brickwalled.
Highlight so far has got to be The Lemon Song. Incredible!! Never heard it better. Wow, it is just like sitting there. Jimmy's small single line fills as Robert sings about the need for citric acid release are a revelation. You can hear him run the plectrum down the strings and so on. John Paul Jones bass playing on this recording is still bench mark standard, amazing in other words.
The bonus cd is alright, but not something I would play that often. It is of superb sound quality, just lacking the true top end of the main album and does have some great wee alternative bits scattered through it. Edit- this bonus cd is a first class listen. The stripped back versions are really good, the core being similar, but some guitar work being different - the middle section of Whole Lotta is stripped right back and is all the more freaked out because of it, some vocal overdubs missing, some vocal lines that were scrubbed from the finished version and so on. There is an instrumental version of Living Loving Maid that is just a guitar drums and bass that makes this second cd worth having. It is brimming with wild energy and incredible playing.
Kudos to Jimmy Page for the sterling job he and the team did here!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Jun 2014 21:51:42 BDT
G. G. Saunders says:
A very good review just what I wanted to know, I bought the LP, I bought the CD, I bought the remaster box do I need this probably do :)
Posted on 9 Jun 2014 13:35:19 BDT
What a great review. I agree that the superb remastering on this album expose the distortion on the master tapes, but boy, does this new version does pack a punch. And I completely concur about The Lemon Song -it sounds the best it has ever done, in particular JPJ's bass which has always been - until now - a little low in the mix for my liking.
Absolutely beautiful boxsets all three, and I can't to get the Led out when 4, HOTH and PGraf are released!
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2014 14:47:46 BDT
Many thanks! Yep, well worth getting to hear it all like it was new again. The bonus cds with each are about the best bonus cds that a band has put out along with a main album rerelease. They really are like hearing it all for the first time over again, because of the differences and the parts that had been there but covered/obscured with other instruments suddenly make them selves known.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2014 14:53:19 BDT
Many thanks, Wookie! Yep, I can't wait for the rest either........aghh! 4 ought to be a stunner.....
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