Sound — 9
Led Zeppelin's most diverse album, Houses Of The Holy, was released in 1973. As with most of their albums, it was attacked by critics but still managed to sell extremely well. The sound is awesome, but at times seems a bit tinny. Examples are Robert Plant's voice in The Song Remains The Same and The Ocean. But this won't affect the enjoyment of the songs, which are completely different from the last. The aforementioned The Song Remains The Same features some incredible guitar work by Jimmy Page (and was even better live), The Rain Song is one of their most beautiful tracks ever, complete with strings, acoustic guitars, and a carefree, "we live in a perfect world" atmosphere (except for the winter section). Over The Hills And Far Away is a perfect mix of folk and hard rock, The Crunge is pure funk, Dancing Days is an Eastern-influenced rocker, D'yer Mak'er is almost a mock-reggae, No Quarter (the best song on the album) is a prog-influenced epic with lyrics similar to Immigrant Song and some of John Paul Jones' best keyboard work, and while The Ocean may sound like your standard Zeppelin rocker at first, it includes a 50's-style doo-wop section at the end. This shows that Zeppelin could succeed at almost any style they wanted, not just hard rock and folk.
Lyrics — 10
The best lyrics on Houses Of The Holy are easily found on The Rain Song and No Quarter. The former has some of the most beautiful and creative lyrics I've ever heard. Look them up, it works just as well as a poem. No Quarter has a darker feel to it, with lyrics about hope even through dark times. The Song Remains The Same is also a highlight, with lyrics telling about the experiences (and different styles of music) Zeppelin encountered while visiting different parts of the world. The only weak lyrics are found on D'yer Mak'er, and even those are entertaining.
Overall Impression — 9
This is one of my favorite Zeppelin albums. Every song is amazing in its own right. I wouldn't recommend it as the first Zeppelin album to buy; the fourth album is a better choice. However, it's a must-have for any Zeppelin fan. It showed that Zeppelin was more than just your average band, they were rock gods.