Sound — 10
The sound of Houses of the Holy is, musically, totally complete. Although Led Zeppelin IV is the greatest album ever recorded, Houses of the Holy picked up on the one thing Zeppelin IV didn't have; keyboards. One of the finest characteristics of the band was John Paul Jones' magnificent keyboard work, and it is showcased particularly well in Dancing Days and No Quarter, the latter featuring an almost underwater sounding theme throughout, executed to perfection by Jones. He also contributes a wonderful harpsichord outro to Over the Hills and Far Away. Throughout the album there is no song that excessively accentuates one band member more than any other. Page, Bonham, Jones and Plant are all highlighted equally.
Lyrics — 10
As expected, Robert Plant did not disappoint at any moment throughout the album. He almost invented himself a new voice in The Crunge, which also includes a funny little conversation with himself looking for the bridge. He had not lost any of his lustre from Zeppelin IV, because he still has the knack for brilliant lyrics.
Overall Impression — 10
Houses of the Holy has everything that had been heard from the first 4 albums, and it portrays each genre the band covered quite well. There are the hard rockers (The Ocean, The Song Remains the Same), the bluesy ballads (D'Yer Mak'er, The Rain Song), and, of course, the resident epic expected from a Zeppelin album (No Quarter). The overall quality of the album is great; there is no song you want to skip past, just let it play through. D'Yer Mak'er is one of my favourite songs of all time; it is one of the catchiest tunes by any band. You can't help but sing Oh, oh oh oh oh oh, you don't have to go, oh oh oh oh all day long, whatever you may be doing. Houses of the Holy is comparable to Led Zeppelin IV in it's near perfection, but the difference is the more relaxed approach to Houses of the Holy.