Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy



by DistantDylann USER (18 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2024 | 9 replies

Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A worthwhile experience that makes for a delightfully different follow-up!

I can imagine how difficult it would have been to follow up an album such as Led Zeppelin IV, and the pressure was certainly on. The band had an amazing run up to this point and critics were finally warming up to them a bit, it seemed they had everything in their grasp. So to follow up the success of their groundbreaking previous album, the band wanted to shift things around a bit, make something quite different in ways but similar in others to their last album.

Houses of the Holy is truly an astonishing collection of songs and is definitely among their best. Sure you've got an utterly terrible song in "Dancing Days" (which my friend and I joke about and call "Devil's Days"), but outside of that the whole album is terrific. "No Quarter" really allows John Paul Jones to shine on the keyboard and frankly, he's better at that than at bass playing, an absolute master of the instrument. He paints a whole landscape and atmosphere for the song with his soft strokes like that of a master painter, going along perfectly with Robert Plant's echoey, psychedelic vocals that tell of a tale with influence from Viking and Norse mythology. "The Rain Song" is simply one of the most beautiful songs of all time and is a ballad with creative mellotron use by Jones to create a simulated orchestra. Robert Plant's lyrics on this are some of his most heart-achingly sincere, and the dynamics in this song are enough to rival even Queen's theatrical dynamics. The fact this came out of George Harrison's complaints that the band never does ballads is hilarious to me, and I can safely say they showed him, plus the song even references "Something" with one part.

"The Ocean" is my personal favorite, being an all-out hard rocker with an unusual time signature, being partially in septuple meter, with a repeated two-measure phrase of one bar each of 4/4 and 7/8 and by the end shifts to a doo-wop song. It's an utter genius style exploration that gives it a lot of variety within one song. "Over The Hills and Far Away" is by far another one of my favorite Zeppelin songs and features six-string acoustic guitar in unison with a 12-string for the intro, with a beautiful melody that plays throughout, with one of the best jam sessions forwarded by Bonzo's symphonic drumming.

"The Song Remains The Same" is a great opener and song that sets the mood of the album perfectly but has a weird vocal pitch-up that sadly became more common with their albums after this point for some reason, the common idea being accepted that Robert's voice was suffering a bit after his overuse of during the 1969-1972 period, his throat surgery when he had nodules, and singing with laryngitis during some performances. "D'yer Mak'er" is a great reggae rock song that is carried heavily by Bonham's impressive technique, and the vocal play gives it even more charm. "The Crunge" is pretty fun with its concept being to parody dance songs that came out at the time by making a beat and melody impossible to dance to, and even having Robert poke fun at the fact a lot of those songs lacked bridges in the outro of the song ("Oh, will you excuse me/I'm just trying to find the bridge/Has anybody seen the bridge?").

This album holds a special place in the Led Zeppelin chronology and was their only record of 100% original material, featuring zero covers, and zero plagiarism. Easily one of the greatest of all time and a joyfully odd experience.

Track By Track:
The Song Remains the Same: ★★★★★
The Rain Song: ★★★★★
Over the Hills and Far Away: ★★★★★
The Crunge: ★★★
Dancing Days: ★★
D'yer Mak'er: ★★★★
No Quarter: ★★★★★
The Ocean: ★★★★★ 🎖️

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Comments:Add a Comment 
July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 3.5

D'yer Mak'er is my fav Zeppelin track.

July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 4.5

I always loved this album. This is my second favourite album of the band. It's almost as good as their fourth. If weren't because of “The Crunge” and “D’yer Mak’er”, which are in my opinion two weak tracks, I would have given a 5 to the album.

Meanwhile, good job with the review. So, have a pos.

July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 4.5

Dylan I am begging you please stop uploading reviews for albums that already have a dozen reviews and redirect that effort to reviewing some lesser known gems!

July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 5.0

No thank you at the moment anyways, I will review stuff by artists I listen to, and at some point do those.

Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 5.0

how is an album with a terrible song a 5/5

July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 5.0

hard 5

July 2nd 2024


Album Rating: 5.0

An album with a terrible song or two can still easily be a 5/5 if it has multiple songs that are of enough quality to make it worth listening to still.

July 3rd 2024


Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album. Arguably their best.

July 10th 2024


Album Rating: 4.0

A great album, but not my fave. No Quarter is a bit of a drag, and so is The Rain Song. Over the Hills is lessened by overplay over the years. The rest is great though! I especially love The Crunge. People crack on that song but I don't get why: the dorky lyrics are great fun, and the bridge ending, taken from James Brown's "Sex Machine," is hilarious. The GROOVE is absolutely UNSTOPPABLE.

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