Led Zeppelin
Physical Graffiti


5.0
classic

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (90 Reviews)
September 30th, 2012 | 532 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Led Zeppelin's magnum opus. A near perfect package which demonstrates a masterful blending of all the styles the band had thus far explored.

By the time Led Zeppelin released this masterwork they were already worldwide superstars and up there competing with The Rolling Stones and The Who for the ostensible title of 'The World's Best Rock Band', at least as far as the music press was concerned. This record was a massive commercial and critical success. John Paul Jones had seriously considered leaving the band during this time which interrupted the recording sessions but they were eventually re-united and went on to record eight songs, the combined length of which would not fit onto a single LP. Subsequently, the band decided to make Physical Graffiti a double album by including previously unreleased tracks from earlier recording sessions.

It is difficult to know where to start with this behemoth of an album. It contains some of Led Zeppelin's best known work in the form of 'Kashmir', 'Trampled Under Foot' and 'In My Time of Dying' but there is also much of merit to explore in the less well-tread ground. 'Kashmir' has of course become one of the trademark Led Zeppelin songs. Plant and co. had already proven that there was a lot more to their music than sledgehammer driven rock and roll and 'Kashmir' demonstrates a progressive rock influence with it's hemiola driven momentum. The inexorable groove of this masterpiece with Bonham's unyielding 4/4 backbeat anchoring the uneven guitar and mellotron time signatures pushes the song relentlessly forward with a rolling hypnotic grace. It is not only for the quality of the music that this album, and 'Kashmir' in particular, became a staple throughout the demo rooms of high-end hi-fi specialists; the production on here is warm, powerful and open. Of course there is a hell of a lot more to this magnum opus than 'Kashmir'. Even those not familiar with Led Zeppelin's work will probably have heard the deliciously funky riff on 'Trampled Under Foot', inspired by blues musician Robert Johnson's 1936 'Terraplane Blues' which ended up being a favourite of the subhuman scavengers of the sampling world. Other highlights include the John Paul Jones penned 'In The Light' with its haunting intro created by Jimmy Page using a violin bow on an acoustic guitar, the light and shade of the masterful 'Ten Years Gone' with its heavily overdubbed harmony section and 'In My Time of Dying', an arrangement of a traditional gospel music song which the band made their own.

The 'padding' for this double-album was provided by previously unreleased tracks from earlier recording sessions, off-cuts which were probably deemed unworthy to be included on a full release. However, the sheer quality of what is on offer in the form of these cast-offs makes one wonder what other treasures were once attempted and discarded in the studio during the band's career. The acoustic instrumental 'Bron-Yr-Aur', originally recorded in 1970 for Led Zeppelin III, is an appealing ode to rural life in an open tuning and 'Houses of the Holy', originally intended for inclusion on the album of the same name, is a standard Zep outing with a great hook. But the stand-out track from the previously recorded material has to be the bruising 'The Rover' with its bluesy phase shifted licks, memorable solo and a typical pile-driving performance from Bonham on the sticks.

Physical Graffiti is a glorious culmination of all the different musical styles Led Zeppelin had explored on their previous outings. Their bluesy hard rock infused debut, the riff loaded second , the folk rock leanings of their third album, the masterful blending of light and shade on their fourth and the multi-layered approach on 'Houses of the Holy' which included their first foray into funk rock; all of this is present on Physical Graffiti but it's mellower, funkier, more dynamic and more powerful than anything they had done before. But this album is not merely an amalgamation of previous endeavours. It has a character all of its own. It is bold and dynamic while still managing to remain warm and engaging and it is dense and complex while still retaining a sheen of accessibility.

Robert Plant has stated that he considers Physical Graffiti to be Led Zeppelin at its most innovative and Jimmy Page has referred to it as the high point in the band's career. And who could argue ? This is the creative zenith of arguably the greatest rock and roll band ever to grace the globe and an essential purchase for anyone remotely interested in Led Zeppelin and their legacy.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


dude i'm too tired to read but i'll pos

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol np man, wrote this ages ago been hanging around on my laptop

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2012


4424 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. Album does rule. "In My Time Of Dying" has some of Jimmy Page's sickest guitar work. Real great blues number. It's a good album overall and it's kind of tough to say which Zeppelin album is the best because they're all so different in mood and style. So innovative and exploratory that it really leaves the listener amazed because of how easily they adapt to new sounds.

Anyway, I'm 'rambling on', have a POS.

YoYoMancuso
September 29th 2012


11081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review, pos'd. No mention of Down By The Seaside though? That song is gorgeous

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thx guys, ye down by seaside is great and did mention it originally but review was too long had to cut some.

hitman
September 29th 2012


774 Comments


ill pos cause youre cool and it looks like a good review but this band is sooo overrated

hitman
September 29th 2012


774 Comments


i heard stairway to heaven

greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


hahahahahahahah

greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


dude i think hes just playin a stereotypical dumbass and trollin us all

greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


haha shit

hitman
September 29th 2012


774 Comments


just cause i do yard work for spare change doesnt make me a mexican dick!

YoYoMancuso
September 29th 2012


11081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ugh my little brother's friends are all obsessed with Periphery, they act like they're the saviors of music

greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


yea but they have an excuse, theyre young and dumb, insurrections 19!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YoYoMancuso
September 29th 2012


11081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my brother's 18, he just graduated high school

so no excuse they're just dipshits

hitman
September 29th 2012


774 Comments


well in that pic i had a tan and even i wouldnt call periphery the saviors of music lol

greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


oh well fair enough theyre just retards yea

YoYoMancuso
September 29th 2012


11081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

luckily my brother's not as stupid as them, i got him into AIC, Sabbath, Death, couple other bands. But he likes a lot of shit too

hitman
September 29th 2012


774 Comments


nothing can possibly go wrong going to the gym on shrooms agreed

YoYoMancuso
September 29th 2012


11081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i remember showing up at a family reunion wasted when i was 19. can't think of anything stupid at 18 though

greatlookingguy
September 29th 2012


594 Comments


dude we had fun fuck it, got our dicks sucked by don brewer



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