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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

by Led Zeppelin
Overall Rating =
14

Best Song: Anything off the first side

Before I get things started, I'd like to address the whole hard rock vs. heavy metal debate that plagues any album with a heavy guitar-bass-drums sound. Like many fans of rock from the '60s/'70s, I used to abide to the law that heavy music I do like is to be called hard rock, and heavy music I don't like to be called heavy metal, but as my music collection has grown (still mostly within that period, but a smattering of knowledge of the music on either chronological side has affected my opinions), the more I realized how false it is to assume this. Black Sabbath, for one, with their detuned guitars, spooky/gory lyrics, use of the Tritone, and slow tempos, are definitely heavy metal. Deep Purple might have steered clear of any occult influences, but when they shifted from psycho-pop band to heavy guitar-based band, they played in a heavy and fast way that could predict the thrash metal movement (which I've since grown to respect). But before these two, there was Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin were not the first band to play "heavy". Blue Cheer, the year before, released an album chock-full of distorted wailing guitars, pounding drums and a screaming vocalist in some sort of lumped sonic roar. Jimi Hendrix pioneered a new kind of guitar playing that would definitely be an influence on any future heavy acts. Heck, distortion itself wasn't entirely new, with Link Wray having introduced it well enough with just a two-chord riff in the late '50s. So then what the hell did Led Zeppelin do? Well, much as the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" and the Who's "I Can't Explain" were more like templates of future hard rock records, you could say that Led Zeppelin's debut is a template of future heavy metal records. You have to admit that some of these guitar tones are almost as frightful as Sabbath's, some of the drums pound and thrash louder and faster than Deep Purple's. The only major difference is that there's a bit more blues running through this heavy beast's veins, but for someone who likes the blues, like I do, or is smart enough to respect it for its influence on rock and subsequent genres, it only makes for a more tasteful display of heaviness.

[Read on...]

2 comments:

  1. "So than what the hell did Led Zeppelin do?"
    How about... "So THEN what the hell....."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fixed. Don't know how I missed that one...

      Delete