Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
Atlantic
Classic Rock
9 songs (41:29)
Release year: 1969
Atlantic Records
Reviewed by Goat

Building on the already marvellous formula shown on their debut and released a mere ten months after, Led Zeppelin II is another stone-cold classic from the rock legends that deserves more praise than I could give in a lifetime. Piling on the complexity and heaviness, II is hailed as one of the greatest and most influential rock albums ever, and your ears are definitely poorer if they haven’t heard it. Written and recorded here and there whilst on tour, it sounds remarkably together and unified in style, a tribute to the band. Opener Whole Lotta Love alone is tight and powerful, an insistent riff underpinning Plant’s rock god vocals and tying the track together despite the mid-track meander which is more psychedelic than prog, broken by Plant’s shrieks of ‘love!’ and a drum roll, before we’re back in rock heaven with Page’s guitar. Really, there’s not a dull track or weak moment on the entire album, each and every second pure vintage Zeppelin, and I say that even with Moby Dick in mind!

Yes, whatever you think of that track and its enjoyably ridiculous drum solo, you have to admit that there’s a whole lotta brilliance everywhere else. The soft/loud formula of What Is And What Should Never Be has been copied a thousand times yet never improved upon, the sheer contrast between gentleness and strident heaviness as perfect over forty years later as it was then. Sheer sexual charisma simply erupts out of The Lemon Song, that solo as orgasmically enjoyable as Plant’s erotic wailing and that funky porn-soundtrack bass. That this is followed by the rather lovely ballad Thank You is eminently suitable, beautiful melodies sounding just as at home in Led Zeppelin’s capable hands as hip-thrusting riffs. And we get more of them immediately on the following Heartbreaker, although it’s the stupendously catchy Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman) that I prefer, one of the Led Zeppelin songs I can remember hearing as a child and one that helped introduce me to this wonderful thing called the riff...

Ramble On features the band’s first foray into the world of Tolkien, and whilst it does give the impression of half-remembered plot points as Gollum steals the protagonist’s girl in the ‘darkest depths of Mordor’ it’s still a kickass song. The aforementioned Moby Dick is a stunningly good instrumental workout, and all is brought home with the closing Bring It All Home, starting with harmonica and rather creepy moaning from Plant before yet another lovely catchy riff kicks in. As an album II may lack the variety of I, experimentalism of III or the superstar rock power of IV, but it’s still Led Zeppelin at their best, rock legends playing their hearts out with rampant imagery and instrumental power in partnership with Plant’s unrivalled voice. Your favourite band would not exist without Led Zeppelin’s influence, it’s that simple, and even if this wasn’t full of brilliant songs, Led Zeppelin II would still be a classic despite that. Mandatory.

Killing Songs :
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Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Led Zeppelin that we have reviewed:
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
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