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Seriously what's going on here...
on 25 July 2014
Seriously what's going on here with these 'remasters'. Its obviously 5 stars for the phenomenal music on show here, as is the case with most Zeppelin albums, except 'In Through The Outdoor' and 'Coda' (4 and 3 stars respectively), but I am still not sure why these albums had to be remastered again and that too with some questionable retuning on some songs.
I bought the II and III remasters after reading rave reviews on here about the improved sonic quality over the previous remasters and the 'exciting' companion discs. More on that later, but I think its time someone called on the Emperor's New Clothes or rather the lack of it.
Whereas the remastering on II is good, I don't think it adds anything substantial or exciting to the previous remaster to justify buying the album all over again, but its the remastering of this album (III) that has left me a lot more disappointed to say the least.
Looks like Bonham's drums and Plant's vocals are the worst to suffer, especially up to and including Gallows Pole, after which things pick up a little sound qualitywise with Thats The Way sounding absolutely gorgeous.
I have listened to the whole remastered album back to back quite a few times now and compared the songs head to head with previous remasters and while these 'retunes' sound clean and polished, the oomph factor is definitely lacking.
If with the previous versions I felt that I had a front row seat in the house, with this remaster its like sitting at the farthest end of a really big stadium concert with the wind blowing in the opposite direction, taking the sound even farther away. Trying to increase the volume does not help either. Bonham's excellent drumming on Gallows Pole now sounds as if he is playing in the next room with the door closed and Plant's vocals sound as if he is with Bonham in that room.
As with the companion discs, I don't get the point of putting them out especially if you don't have any new material or B side or radically different version of a song to make it worthwhile. It almost feels like an excuse to re-release these albums for the nth time and provide a reason for people who already have 3 versions of this album, to buy it for a 4th time.
Except for Jennings Farm Blues and Key To The Highway on III and La La on II (which are all gorgeous by the way), there's nothing truly 'new' on the companion discs. If I had to listen to the backing track of a song, I could run it through any number of countless softwares available to make a karaoke track.
I almost feel that Jimmy Page in his egotistical enthusiasm to coax out every version possible from the original recordings, will end up tarnishing the Led Zep legacy for their new fans.
While these new versions (so far) offer interesting alternate takes on the mighty Zeppelin back catalogue, they cannot in my opinion, replace the original remasters or the analogue recordings and should be bought just as a curiosity, rather than an essential upgrade.
I for one, will only be investing in the re-remasters of the remaining albums, if there is any real or substantial bonus material released with those reissues.