Presence Review

artist: Led Zeppelin date: 07/11/2006 category: compact discs
Led Zeppelin: Presence
Released: 1976
Genre: Rock
Styles: British Blues, Blues-Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, British Metal, Arena Rock, Album Rock
Number Of Tracks: 7
Presence scales back the size of Physical Graffiti to a single album, but it retains the grandiose scope of that double record.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 8.3
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reviews (3) 21 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
Presence Reviewed by: unregistered, on april 27, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of Led Zeppelin is continually high quality, and their music is timeless. Although, I must say, Presence is on the lower end of the dial as far as Led Zeppelin is concerned. Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham still produce amazing sound, but the overall album is considerably less than stellar. Along a different line, though, are the songs "Achilles Last Stand," "Hots On for Nowhere" and "Tea For One." These songs definitely continue the high stantard Zep set for itself. Other than these three songs, the album is really not very impressive. Still, not very impressive in terms of Led Zeppelin is still better than many other bands' best. // 10

Lyrics: Robert Plant is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. But he isn't on this album. Other than the three above mentioned songs, Plant's lyrics are not excellent. However, even if Plant's lyrics are not top notch, he has an amazing ability to write songs that go extremely well with the music that accompanies it. I would give the lyrics a 3, but the sheer skill of Robert Plant as a singer gets it a 4. // 8

Overall Impression: This album ranks about in the middle of all the albums that I've ever heard. "Achilles Last Stand" is one of the greatest songs that I've ever heard. The only slight negative about the song is its length, which is 10:22. If it were stolen, I would buy it again because Led Zeppelin is still immortal. Presence is a solid album, but below average as far as the Zep is concerned. // 8

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overall: 8
Presence Reviewed by: Da Jerk, on december 19, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Recorded during a troubled time Led Zeppelin, Presence has some of the band's rawest sound. Unlike Houses of the Holy, where each song had a squeaky clean sound to it, the songs here are dirty and reflect what the band has gone through since then. Robert Plant's voice isn't as strong as it was 5 years earlier, and it shows on tracks such as For Your Life. However, he still puts out great performances on the record. Also, Jimmy Page was starting to battle a heroin addiction, but still managed to record inspiring solos on tracks like Tea For One, a slow, moody blues number. Achilles Last Stand is the only exception to the raw sound on the record, with a sound like that of The Song Remains the Same and a beat similar to Immigrant Song. This is considered by many fans to be one of Zeppelin's best songs, displaying drummer John Bonham at his absolute best in the studio, Robert Plant singing with a voice like that of the old days, and Jimmy's army of guitars. Nobody's Fault But Mine is also a highlight, with Jimmy's piercing guitar tone and a reunion with Plant's harmonica. Unfortunately, some songs on the album are much less inspired. Royal Orleans fails to grab your attention in any way, as well as Candy Store Rock and the funky Hots On For Nowhere, though these songs have impressive drum and bass tracks (respectively). // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics on Presence are rather impressive, though not quite as good as those on previous Zeppelin albums. Many songs here have more "realistic" lyrics, instead of some of the more "mystical" lyrics Robert Plant is known to write. For Your Life has a direct message about drug use (don't you want cocai-cocai-cocaine) and Tea For One shows his depression after being separated from his wife following a near-fatal car accident. Achilles Last Stand is the exception to this, however, containing lyrics similar to The Song Remains The Same. These are some of my favorite Zeppelin lyrics, along with songs like Kashmir. // 8

Overall Impression: While this is an impressive album, it showed that Led Zeppelin was getting tired and that they weren't immortal. While some of their greatest efforts can be found here (Achilles Last Stand, Nobody's Fault But Mine), as a whole the album drags a bit compared to the band's other releases. Still, it's a must have for any fan of Led Zeppelin. // 8

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overall: 9
Presence Reviewed by: SethMegadefan, on july 11, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: In the whole scheme of vastly underrated albums, 1976's Presence remains to be, in my book, one of the best ones. As far as underrated albums go, anyways. Written mostly by Page (in much the same way that most of In Through the Out Door was written by Jones), the album takes a bit more of a guitar-focused turn, yet every member still makes it clear that they're there and, in fact, rocking almost as hard as ever. I think one of the main reasons this album gets so shadowed is because it was the follow-up to the massively successful (and, I'll admit it, much better) "Physical Graffiti", but the fact is, Presence is an entirely different and unique record. I may even go so far as to put it in my top 5 favorite Zep albums. And why? Well, simply put, every Led Zeppelin album is a different and new experience. And Presence continues with that tradition. The album's production gives it a much, much rawer sound than the refined predecessors (Physical Graffiti and Houses of the Holy). In fact, it may be the rawest Zep album since Zep II. Although, in this case, it works. Kicking off the album is the 10 and a half minute epic masterpiece "Achilles Last Stand", which is often regarded as the best song on the album. Its blistering guitar riffs & harmonies, Plant's mesmerizing and monumental vocals, Jones' captivating gallop bass line, and Bonham's fantastic beats and fills all make it definitely a standout track, and one of the best on the album; the most notable, at least. The rest of the album follows a less epic but equally as raw suit. Songs like "Candy Store Rock" and "Royal Orleans" show a funkier, groovier side of Zeppelin that rarely gets heard, save for maybe HotH's "The Crunge" or ITTOD's "Hot Dog". "For Your Life" and "Nobody's Fault but Mine" end up being two of the album's catchiest tunes, albeit both are perhaps dragged on past their dying points (it's interesting that Achilles, the longest song on the album, is also one of the least repetitious). "Hots on for Nowhere" is perhaps the oddest song on the album, if not for its quirky start-stop pause-filled verses, then perhaps for Plant's jazz-esque note holds and "la la la" interludes that almost act as choruses. It's actually one of the better songs on the album, despite its departure from any previously existing Zep style. The album closes with the 9 and a half minute "Tea for One", which sounds suspiciously similar to Zep III's "Since I've Been Loving You". The song focuses mainly on Page's improv solos, and despite its length manages to provide somewhat of a closure to the album. // 9

Lyrics: Lyrically, you can tell that Plant is trying to broaden himself as he did with Physical Graffiti. "Achilles Last Stand" contains monumental lyrical passages that seem to fit the mood of the song. "Candy Store Rock" takes on a very similar mood to "Hot Dog", in both the lyrics and the way that Plant sings them. Though nothing other than Achilles really stands out that terribly much, there's nothing to complain about in the lyrics department, and as usual, many of the lyrics fit in very well with the moods of the songs. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, Presence isn't the album that someone who's new to Zeppelin should go out and get. It's one of those that you may dislike at first but learn to appreciate later after knowing more of the Zeppelin spectrum. Being only 7 tracks long, nothing really stands out over the others; it's just one great album, and incredibly underlooked. No, it can't measure up to its predecessing masterpiece Physical Graffiti, but in my eyes, I can't really see Presence being done any better. // 9

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