Sound — 10
Being the fifth and last album realeased on Atlantic Records in 1973, Led Zeppelin's Houses Of The Holy is in my humble opinion an underrated work of art by the super group. While most all of their other albums can be categorized by a single dominant sound (Led Zeppelin I - blues, Led Zeppelin III - acoustic, etc), Houses Of The Holy reprsents the age of experimentation for Zeppelin. Your ear drums will be assaulted upon the first minute of listening with the hard rock opener The Song Remains the Same, followed by the soothing, "preety" Rain Song. Throughout the album you'll also encounter folk (Over The Hills And Far Away), a bit of funk (The Crunge), and a deeply meloncholy piece in the form of No Quarter, which also shines the spotlight on John Paul Jones' talent at keyboard. And then to wrap this nine song recording up is the extremely upbeat rocker, The Ocean, which if you listen closely begins with Bonzo counting out the pace. Implemnting Page's 12-string SG in TSRTS, utilizing Plant's peaceful but strong voice in Over the Hills, and handing it over to JPJ for his keyboard solo in No Quarter are just a small number of examples that prove House of the Holy's numerous strengths as not only a fantastic Zeppelin album, but a truly memorable record in rock history.
Lyrics — 9
Flowing through the album like Page flows through a live performance of Dazed and Confused, the lyrics completely match the tone and mood created in each and every song. As I stated earlier, this was the age of experimentation for Zeppelin, which meant that some alterations and tooling around with Plant's voice took place in several songs. But never fear! The distorted quality of the frontmans vocals actually enhance the experience for the fortunate listeners. And if it is truly captivating lyrics you desire, either No Quarter or The Rain Song are my personal favorites off the album.
Overall Impression — 10
If you are venturing off into the world of Zeppelin for the first time or you just need to get more of a Page fix, Houses would be an invaluable gem. The perfect mix of everything Zeppelin (heavy riffing, mysterious and goofy lyrics, soaring vocals), I cannot recommend this masterpiece enough! Just make sure to not be freaked out by the cover art.