Presence [Remastered] [Deluxe Edition]

Presence [Remastered] [Deluxe Edition]

by Led Zeppelin
     
 

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Created at a time of intense turmoil for Led Zeppelin -- they scrapped a planned international tour in the wake of Robert Plant's car accident in Greece in August 1975 -- Presence is a strange, misshapen beast of a record that pulls upon its own tension. With Plant somewhat on the sidelines -- he recorded many of the vocals while in a wheelchair -- Jimmy Page

Overview

Created at a time of intense turmoil for Led Zeppelin -- they scrapped a planned international tour in the wake of Robert Plant's car accident in Greece in August 1975 -- Presence is a strange, misshapen beast of a record that pulls upon its own tension. With Plant somewhat on the sidelines -- he recorded many of the vocals while in a wheelchair -- Jimmy Page reasserted himself as the primary creative force in the band, helping steer Presence toward a guitar-heavy complexity, perched halfway between a return to roots and unfettered prog. This dichotomy means it feels like Presence sprawls as wildly as Physical Graffiti even though it's half its length: the four epics tend to overshadow the trio of lean rockers that really do hark back to the Chess boogie and rockabilly that informed Zeppelin's earliest work. Each of these three -- "Royal Orleans," "Candy Store Rock," "Hots on for Nowhere" -- plays as snappily as the throwaways on the second half of Physical Graffiti, containing a sexy insouciance; the band almost seems to shrug off how catchy Page's riffs and how thick the grooves of John Bonham and John Paul Jones actually are. No matter how much fun this triptych is, they're lost underneath the shadow of "Achilles Last Stand," a ten-minute exercise in self-styled moody majesty and the turgid blues crawl of closer "Tea for One." In between, there are two unalloyed masterpieces that channel all of the pain of the period into cinematic drama: a molten blues called "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and "For Your Life," as sharp, cinematic, and pained as Zeppelin ever were. Added together, Presence winds up as something less than the sum of its parts but its imbalance also means that it's a record worth revisiting; it seems different upon each revisit and is always compelling. [Led Zeppelin launched a massive, Jimmy Page-supervised reissue campaign in 2014, where each of their studio albums was remastered and then expanded with a bonus disc of alternate versions (in the case of the super deluxe editions, they were also supplemented by vinyl pressings, download codes for high-resolution digital audio files, and massive hardcover books). The deluxe editions of Presence arrived in the summer of 2015, accompanied by a five-track bonus disc, all but one a reference mix of a song from the album. The ringer is "10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)," a lengthy instrumental whose first section is dedicated to a nicely moody piano part and whose second sees the full band come in to flesh out a pretty piece that sees no real room for melody. It feels incomplete but the references mixes of "Two Ones Are Won" (an alternate title for "Achilles Last Stand"), "For Your Life," "Royal Orleans," and "Hots on for Nowhere" are essentially finished; some of the guitar feels drier, some of the vocals feel slightly different (or in the case of "Royal Orleans," where Plant adopts a cartoonish growl, quite different), but the songs are in place, so these aren't huge revelations.] [The 2015 remastered reissue of Presence contained a bonus disc with four alternate takes as well as the unreleased "10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)."]

Product Details

Release Date:
07/31/2015
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0081227955731
catalogNumber:
547434
Rank:
7244

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