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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 16 October 2006
I love this Album! In fact this was the album that got me into Zeppelin, and D'yer Mak'er was the track that sparked my love for this band more than 20 years ago.

Houses of the Holy is a typical Led Zeppelin album, inasmuch as it is a collection of tracks of different styles and moods, delivered by superb musicianship, yet unified by that unique, indescribable Zeppelin sound. As usual, the band invite you on a musical journey that pushes the boundaries of what you thought Led Zep are all about.

Jimmy Page's guitar playing is immaculate through out, from the multi layered guitar rock anthem "The Song Remains the same", through probably their most beautiful ballad "The Rain Song". "Over the Hills and far away" is a folk rock track that would have graced Led Zep III and Dancing Days is an off beat rocker with some great slide guitar playing. The Ocean is probably one of the great guitar riff rock songs ever, in the very best tradition of Black Dog and Heartbreaker whilst No Quarter illustrates the growing creative influence of John Paul Jones.

The tracks that usually divide opinion are "The Crunge" and "D'yer Mak'er". If you take them on face value, The Crunge has a groove that is a brilliant advert for the rhythm section whilst D'yer Mak'er is simply a beautiful, naïve love song.

This album is great for listening to in the summertime; sitting around a beach fire with friends watching the sun set, and has a beautifully uplifting vibe. If you like head banging your way through an entire album then maybe this isn't for you. If you like something a bit more varied then this is a classic.
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on 1 November 2003
This is an album on which all 8 tracks give me tingles, that fabulous feeling that you get when you love a song so much that you almost want to cry and dance and sing all at the same time.
It kicks off with a truly great rock song, 'The Song Remains the Same'. Having recently watched the video of 'TSRTS' for the first time, I'm even more in love with this song than ever. It then runs seamlessly into 'The Rain Song', which is really beautiful, classic acoustic 'gentle' Zep. I love 'Over the Hills and Far Away' for the heartfelt vocals of the chorus. 'The Crunge' I just love. It's bizarre but great (and also sounds like a James Brown song at the end...). My favourite track is probably 'Dancing Days' for its rhythm and riff. 'D'yer Mak'er' (or however you spell it) is a strange contrast of stereotypical romantic song lyrics and a reggae sort of rhythm which is weird but interesting and also gives it individualism. 'No Quarter' is an eerie, Lord of the Rings-ish track; hard to explain but if you listen to it you'll see what I mean! And then there is 'The Ocean', probably the one I neglect unfairly because it seems like a bit of an anticlimax after 'No Quarter', but it's a more typical Led Zeppelin rock track (not that that's a bad thing at all!)
Led Zeppelin are one of my all-time favourite bands. I know everyone loves them for different reasons, but for me their eclectic sound and brilliant musical talent is what makes them so excellent (and they also write damn good songs!). This album is definitely worth getting even if you're not a huge Zep fan because the songs are all so different but so great. So yeah. Buy it!
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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2016
It wasn’t until this, their fifth album that some critics and even fans felt that the band was finally slipping, having peaked. This was more experimental than anything they had done up until this point, with forays into Eastern sounds and even, gasp, disco. Time has been kind to the record though, and now we can look back and appreciate it fully. There is at least one song which we could have done without, a couple that many will see as forgettable, but still some big songs and a few underrated ones. Underrated seems to be the key word here, as many people leave this albums out when they list great Zeppelin albums. Have another listen, and hopefully you’ll be surprised at the depth of writing and music on display.

‘The Song Remains The Song’ is a joyous opener, and in spite of the song title, this is a new sound and direction for the group. The drums are not as thunderous, but there is a wall of sound production which ensures there is still a heap of volume and power. Page’s guitar are jangly, but typically fast, accurate, and Plant gives some vocal acrobatics which become grating at their higher moments.

‘The Rain Song’ is an atmospheric one, for me definitely evoking memories of looking out through clouded windows at the seemingly neverending rain, the gently strummed chords in the intro like ceaseless dripping. There are some long, peaceful instrumental moments in this song, with soft vocals in the sparse verses. Plant seems to employ a number of unusual vocal distorts and tricks throughout this album, and while that is certainly true here, those are put firmly in the background. The vocals are almost drawn, drawls, there is a looseness to them meaning the melodies come more from the music than the singing. With superb work from JPJ in the background, and the usual sturdy stuff from Bonzo, the song reaches a thunderous crescendo with a few minutes remaining, or at least it seems so as it is only momentary, the final moments being a louder, more dramatic retread of the opening.

‘Over The Hills And Far Away’ has one of my favourite Zep introductions, another wonderful acoustic piece from Lord Page. It’s a spirited return to the sounds of Led Zep III, with Plant bringing back some idealistic vocals and cutesy melodies. Once the drums kick in the song takes on a heavier approach, a streamlined funky collection of riffs to make another strong track. There is nice overdubbed guitar work for the solo, sounding a little bit disco, a little bit rock, and a large part fun.

‘The Crunge’ continues the funky sounds, and within moments it’s clear that this is unlike anything the band has recorded so far. Frequently voted among the worst songs the band has ever written, it is a clear misstep, but there is still a certain charm. Plant is alarming with his wailing, there are weird synth noises, and while the music and performances are fine, it simply sounds too cheesy for a band as powerful as this. The band show with the next track that they can experiment with other genres successfully, this one though is a bit of a cult mess.

‘Dancing Days’ is a terrific fusion of rock, and more dance oriented genres, with the emphasis clearly on the rock side whilst retaining the Zep sound thanks to powerful drums and a fantastic riff. Catchy and repetitive like the best Disco tracks, though free of all the dated and cheesy stuff, this is an interesting song, and another strong one on this underrated album.

‘Dyer Maker’ is yet another unique track, with a fun vibe, great guitar work almost blown away by Bonzo stoutly refusing to play his drums quietly in an otherwise soft song. Influenced by growing reggae popularity, it is a bit of joke song, but it’s one I wholeheartedly enjoy – the band are exploring a sound they haven’t touched upon before, they sound like they are having a great time, and they succeed at claiming the style as their own. With amusing lyrics, catchy melodies, it’s one which many fans don’t enjoy, but I’ll always defend it.

‘No Quarter’ is definitely the precursor to the much more renowned Kashmir, but it is certainly not an inferior version of that epic, instead standing on its own as a fantastic, eerie, downbeat and doom laden rocker. It’s an extremely moody song with a variety of production tricks played to enhance the mood. The peaking of progressive rock, with its studio trickery and focus on mood clearly holds influence over this one, and yet again Zep take all the important pieces from another genre and meld them into their own style. Oscillator effects and a lot of compression on the guitars and synth, and even on the vocals, as well as the dynamic tonal changes throughout and the Eastern tinges give a distinct sound which again sounds unlike the standard Led Zep track, but also unlike anything else.

‘The Ocean’ is introduced by some Bonzo banter, annoyed at the number of takes, but finally getting it right. This is a more typical Led Zep track – big bluesy riff, stomping drums, rocking vocals etc. Aside from some unusual timing, it’s a straightforward, unremarkable track, at least until the last minute when the song suddenly changes into a honkey tonk blues breakdown. A dedication to their fans, it’s a decent track, and a decent song to end with.

In some ways this could be called my favourite Led Zep album – with 5 of the 8 tracks being previously rated by me on my ipod as 5 stars. A number of those 5 star tracks though may not be as essential or brilliant as 5 star tracks on more popular albums, and only one of the 3 remaining tracks can be said to be poor. Some fans may be put off by the different approaches to songwriting which the band take here, moving away, or more accurately, branching from their blues and hard rock roots. Regardless, the songs are still there, the songs are still strong – the songs remain the same. Sorry.
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on 15 December 2005
Oh dearie me - a lot of people dont seem to like this one as Led Zep had the temerity to do some different stuff and not rehash Led Zeppelin II over and over. I'll admit it isn't their very best album (a photo finish between Led Zeppelin III and Physical Graffitti) but there is nothing wrong with Dancing Days or The Ocean if you like your typical Zeppelin rockers and No Quarter still raises the proverbial hairs on the back of the neck. Yes The Crunge and D'Yer'Maker are a bit throwaway but does it matter, you'll only be shy a fiver if you buy a used version & you find you haven't liked a single track - I can't see that happening somehow!
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on 6 July 2000
Houses of the Holy is perhaps not as great in length as Physical Grafiti,or as classic as Led Zeppelin 4,but is one of their more diverse albums. The opening track,The Song Remains The Same is one of the finest opening tracks I have ever heard;powerful and heavy guitars mixed in with percise drums and bass lines. Over The Hills And Far Away has a lovely accoustic intro and a well crafted ending which may suprise,as does The Ocean. As well as containing solid tracks such as The Crunge and Dancing Days,as well as the fun track D'yer Maker,the album is dominated by the quiet,simplistic brilliance of The Rain Song,featuring nice mixed orchestral violins;and the haunting echoes of No Quarter, where John Paul Jones excels on keyboards and synthesisers. Jones is on excellent form throughout the album,along with gutsy guitar work from Jimmy Page. Robert Plant and John Bonham are also top class. This album was an fantastic introduction to their next album Physical Grafiti,which is even better.
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on 25 October 2005
I don't know why however this remains my favourite Zeppelin album, it is slighty flawed with the ok funk that is the crunge. But you can't really complain of the short comings of this album especially with such quaility on display, the song remains the same (jimmy page's guitar work is great) Dyer maker (bonzo can't play reggae but it adds to the fun), over the hills and far away (great folk/rock song one of my favourite Zeppelin songs), no quarter (Forget the immimgrant song this is zeppelin's finest viking rock moment) and The Huge Riff Workout That is THe Ocean (whoever said that there was no memorable riffs on this album must of closed there ears for this beast). I could happily recommend this to any fan hard rock and along with Black Sabbath's 'Sabbath Bloody Sabbath'
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 September 2011
This just happens to be my favourite Led Zeppelin album. I believe it is their most thoughtful, personal and in many respects most original release. Its still driven by the animal spirits of heavy rock but the band find the wherewithal to include new sounds and influences that add colour and drama to the listening experience. As a result they can move from the heartfelt beauty of 'The Rain Song' to the Do Wop rock n' roll of 'The Ocean' without missing a beat. And of course,'The Song Remains The Same' must be one of Jimmy Page's best guitar rave up tunes: touching on country, blues- rock and English pastoral- his soloing is not only supremely tasty but exhilarating into the bargain. There are a few misfires along the way- such as 'The Crunge' but surely the chaps can be forgiven for having a little fun and trying to escape the hard rock straight jacket that constrained them rather too effectively on albums like 'Presence'.

Plea to Jimmy Page- is there not another opportunity to re-re-master the back- catalogue? - Time has moved on and technology has given producers the tools to improve sound quality. There is so much good music on this album that a sonic wash and brush up would be definitely merited and well received by the fans.

Even so: Highly recommended.
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on 10 May 2016
This album contains my favourite Led Zep song (The Rain Song) so what's not to like about it? It's fair to say though I prefer the live version on 'The Song Remains the Same' album. Other great tracks include The Song Remains the Same and No Quarter to name but a couple. A great album of Led Zep classics.
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on 19 November 2014
Houses of the Holy starts off brilliantly - The Song Remains The Same / Rain Song/ 1st part of Over the Hills and Far Away flow together in what I would argue is the best bit of sequencing on any of their albums.

Then it goes horribly wrong. The second half of Over The Hills is Led Zep by numbers and The Crunge is - however affectionately intended - a terrible pastiche of James Brown.

Side 2 (on the vinyl) begins with Dancing Days - further formulaic Led Zep - followed by the execrable reggae pastiche D'yer Mak'er - and ends with the (great riff aside) 'We've run out of ideas - I know, let's tag some rock 'n' roll on to a riff because we can' The Ocean.

There is one highly redeeming song on Side 2 - No Quarter. A dark, brooding, menacing song where the band really plays the song to perfection and all are equally brilliant.

Led Zeppelin preceded this album with their brilliant fourth album and would follow it with the awesome (in the true sense of the word) Physical Graffiti but this - for me anyway - is a bit of a blip in their first six albums. You get a sense that the band was experimenting and hadn't quite got it together again (which they would do for the new songs on Physical Graffiti).
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on 29 October 2001
This album is sorely underrated. It demonstrates Zeppelin's lyrical brilliance with the Rain Song, and their humour and innovation with the catchy D'yer M'ker. I like to think it is the last album of the old zeppelin style before they undergo the change with Physical Graffiti, which is a much rockier album. Houses of the Holy is more acoustic, more dreamy and sometimes better for it. A definite must have for zeppelin fans, if purely for Rain song buy it anyway. Maybe it wont soothe the appetite of new fans who crave more Black Dog etc but the brilliance is that zeppelin didn't care so why should you. just go for it. buy one and see what you think.
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