Rating:
6.4
Led Zeppelin - Presence
31 March 1976


01. Achilles Last Stand
02. For Your Life
03. Royal Orleans
04. Nobody's Fault But Mine
05. Candy Store Rock
06. Hots On For Nowhere
07. Tea For One


"Hots On for Nowhere" indeed. It seems the legendary Zeppelin burnt out the better part of their creative fuel for the successful double-album Physical Graffiti, and took quite a fall with 1976's Presence.

The band's seventh album kicks off with a dark ten-minute stomper that doesn't develop a whole lot but is still pretty good. It could very nearly be called heavy metal - something here instantly reminds me of the galloping style of Steve Harris but I'm not quite sure if it's JPJ's bass or something else. Robert Plant does a fine job similar to the previous few albums, while Jimmy Page delivers some truly great guitaring and Bonham gives a blistering performance on the drums. After this opener though, most of the songs could be considered filler. Tracks 2-6 are laidback rockers around the style of earlier hits "The Ocean" and "Custard Pie" but here are overlong and less successful. The riffs just don't stick like they used to, the structures are poor with un-rhythmic pauses and loads of unnecessary repetition, there's no lyrical spark like what appears in "No Quarter" and "Stairway", and - perhaps most disappointing of all - there are no shattering solos to be found. Closing track "Tea for One" sounds like a watered-down "Since I've Been Loving You" mixed with a hint of "No Quarter", inexplicably leaving out the explosions of brilliance from these earlier masterpieces. Its darkness and heaviness would normally have placed it among my favourite tracks but ultimately it's just too boring.

Production (on my remastered version, as always) is handled nicely by Page and thankfully the dodgy effects from prior works have been taken off Plant's vocals. Part of "Candy Store Rock" though has Plant singing a bit like Elvis Presley, which could be unsettling to a few of you.

Basically Presence is average and obsolete with two huge, intertwining flaws: All the songs are far longer than is ideal - even the 3 minute "Royal Orleans" feels like it drags - and we've heard it all before - much, much better.

Favourite tracks: "Achilles' Last Stand", "For Your Life", "Nobody's Fault but Mine"

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Band profile: Led Zeppelin
Album: Presence


 


written by Syk | 05.09.2007


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Ozman - 05.09.2007 at 21:26  
At first I thought you must have been crazy when you wrote this review, but then I realised that the ONLY songs I actually play of this album are the three you mentioned as your favourite tracks.
IronBlackZepp - 05.04.2008 at 08:13  
In my opinion this is the most underated zeppelin album. I do not agree with this review for the most part because this is one of my favorite albums of all time. I actually love all of the songs off of it.
Shadowcross - 30.07.2008 at 16:54  
interesting interview... i know where you're coming from, but i also find it pretty hard to find any Zeppelin that i don't thoroughly enjoy!
Achilles Last Stand and Nobody's Fault But Mine are the only tracks that really stand out tho
JohnDoe - 16.02.2009 at 18:43  
I love this album, maybe it does not shine like the first four LZ albums, but still I find it really good. I dunno, maybe I am a less demanding listener, but LZ has never disppointed me.

I see the resemblance between Since I've Been loving You and Tea for one, but I love the song (TFO that is), it's so expressive.

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