Review Summary: Led Zeppelin IV is an excellent record, which holds a reputation a bit exaggerated
Led Zeppelin's untitled album (commonly referred to as Led Zeppelin IV) is one of the most praised albums ever. Zeppelin's works are always worth a listen to say the least. It's one of the best bands ever seen on a stage. Many people claim that no band has surpassed Led Zeppelin as the greatest Rock or Metal act ever. And that's not without a reason, seeing that it's clearly influential on future music, and also seeing that every work they release has a special thing on it, which differentiates it from the others.
Led Zeppelin IV is by far their most critically acclaimed album. Here you will find their trademark sound, with flashes of genius here and there, from every member of the group. The album is honestly excellent and it's a nice taste of Zeppelin's sound. However, it doesn't stand up to its immaculate reputation. Surely, it carries the monumental "Stairway to Heaven", the hard-rocking anthem "Black Dog", and some others cool moments like the bluesy ending song "When The Levee Breaks", but at some points the album turns a bit boring, taking down the moments of pure brilliance (which are many). The main flaw on this album is "Four Sticks", Zeppelin's worst song ever. It's a really annoying track which you should skip instantly.
As always, Led Zeppelin's sound is musically almost flawless. I mean, the four guys are genius. Jimmy Page is arguably the best guitarist ever. He can do whatever he wants with his instrument, and he also is a great songwriter. His performance in this album is what you'd expect from him. He can do charming solos, as well as nice acoustics and great riffs. Take the famous "Stairway To Heaven" and you will instantly understand why rules so much. Robert Plant might just be the definite Hard Rock singer. His wide range, his improvisation and his style makes him stand out always. He can sing beautifully and harmoniously, as well as powerfully. His voice is instantly recognizable, and his has a well-earned reputation. John Bonham is the perfect drummer for this band. He provides the backbone to every song, but he also carries them with so much power and energy. His improvisation and occasional short solos are just amazing. He could play fast or slow, but he would never be out of place. He stands out on "When the Levee Breaks", for instance. And Jon Paul Jones, whilst being a low profile musician, does an excellent job with his bass, an he is also a good keyboard player.
Opener "Black Dog" is one of Zeppelin's famous songs, and one of their very best also. The main riff is so powerful, it really rocks, and Robert Plant voice fits perfectly here. The solo of this track is one of the highlights of the album, definitely. "Rock and Roll" is actually what you would expect from a song titled that way. Nice drum intro and guitar work throughout. Then we have "The Battle of Evermore", a very particular song. This one shows mainly Robert Plant's ability, it's a slow a harmonious song. Whilst it's a nice to hear, it seems to drag on after the third minute. It would contribute much more to the album if it was a bit shorter, in my opinion. Iconic "Stairway to Heaven" follows. Maybe it's the most famous Rock song ever, nothing I say will add much to its reputation. By far the best of this album and one of Zeppelin's best (which means a lot). It summarizes all the skills of this talented band, from it's fascinating acoustic first half, to the amazing solo in the end. Hard to find someone who dislikes this song. "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Going To California" are both nice songs, but not quite as good as the first half of the record. The former one is cool poppy tune, nice to listen to once in a while, but nothing out from this world. And the later one is also cool, a slow kind of ballad, where Plant shines with his range of awesome vocals. As I said before, "Four Sticks" could just be Led Zeppelin's worst song, and it's a shame it was included on such a good album. I find it really disturbing, and it gets down the status of Led Zeppelin IV. It basically consists of a basic and boring riff repeated a hundred times, with Plant singing along. There's also a not so much better bridge which is as forgettable as the riff. The final song "When the Levee Breaks" is clearly the best of the second half, an excellent bluesy song leaded by Bonham's awesome drums. The perfect way to finish an excellent album.
Overall, Led Zeppelin IV is an excellent record, which holds a reputation a bit exaggerated. It contains some songs which deserve the status of such an incredible Classic, but some other songs don't. Musicianship is amazing, it's Led Zeppelin, but if you want to find the creative peak of such an incredible band, you'd better take a look at Led Zeppelin II or Physical Graffiti. Nevertheless, Led Zeppelin IV is a nice taste of Zeppelin's skills, and a must have to any fan of the genre.
- Black Dog
- Stairway to Heaven
- When the Levee Breaks