Zum Hauptinhalt springen

Underrated Albums: Led Zeppelin – Presence

Man, I've finally come around to this album. I never really gave any post-Physical Graffiti material by Led Zeppelin a fair chance. The times I tried listening to Presence, I stopped at Achilles Last Stand because for some reason, that song didn't grab me. Well, turns out, it's one of the best and most epic Led Zeppelin songs with John Paul Jones rocking an 8-string bass and Robert Plant processing a car accident that temporarily (and for parts of the sessions of the album) put him into a wheelchair. While there is a lot of great material after this piece, Achilles Last Stand stands as the band's last truly perfect and masterful piece. This is not to diminish the rest of Presence though. The album is at least as well engineered and recorded as Physical Graffiti. Once again, Bonham's drums sound massive and he himself fires on all cylinders when it comes to the playing. He also gets a little more playful, especially on the song Nobody's Fault But Mine where he adds a four-bar beat to a simple snare fill that works polyrhythmically with the guitar riff. The chemistry in the rhythm section is astounding in general as said song especially proves with its stop-and-start structure. While we're on it: Jimmy Page is on another level as well and delivers some of his most original and creative work. All of this makes for a fantastic hard rock record and as long as Zeppelin stay in that pocket – and maybe throw some blues in – they seemingly can't fail. This is where the less beloved songs from the album come into play. Candy Store Rock is the prime example as it is one of the most criticised Led Zeppelin tracks. Honestly, I think it is just a sweet and fun song as are the underrated Royal Orleans about a hotel the band used to chill in and the severely underappreciated Hots on for Nowhere where Plant talks about the pressure Jimmy Page put on him after the car accident to finish writing and recording the album. The closer Tea for One thereafter is a bluesy slow-burn with not a lot of big pay-off moments, but I think the song works anyways because of its epic atmosphere. Tea for One is not Zeppelin's best blues number, but not the worst either – and this is Led Zeppelin we're talking about. So, if you are familiar with the essential albums by the band (Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti), I'd suggest you give this one (another) try as I think, it is my fifth favourite Zeppelin album after the named ones.

8 / 10

  1. Achilles Last Stand | 95
  2. For Your Life | 85
  3. Royal Orleans | 80
  4. Nobody's Fault But Mine | 90
  5. Candy Store Rock | 70
  6. Hots on for Nowhere | 75
  7. Tea for One | 85