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Presence
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Product Description

Japanese-only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD) paper sleeve pressing of this absolute classic album from the Rock legends, originally released in 1976. SHM-CDs can be played on any audio player and delivers unbelievably high-quality sound. You won't believe it's the same CD! Universal. 2008.

Presence is one of Led Zeppelin's more overlooked albums, languishing in the monstrous shadow of its predecessor, Physical Graffiti. It's more noted in Zeppelin mythology for the circumstances in which it was recorded, in double-quick time with vocalist Robert Plant's leg in plaster after a car accident. The lack of time does show--much of the album feels like generic heavy rock, bigger on volume than variety. It's worth the price of the album, however, for the 10-minute-plus "Achilles Last Stand" (a crashing, galloping epic with John Bonham sounding like he's replaced his drumsticks with tree trunks) and "Nobody's Fault but Mine," a Blind Willie Johnson blues regenerated with a 3,000-watt boost by Jimmy Page. --David Stubbs

Customer Reviews:

  • No Presence
    This album has to be one of the worst from Led Zeppelin. Only Achilles Last Stand, Nobody's Fault but Mine, Tea For One are good, but the rest is major filler. Simply put, this sounds like a band trying, to "sound" like Zeppelin, but falling way short. The writing is very uninspired and since an injured Robert Plant was basically phoning in his performance from bed, the results were less than satisfactory. Music fans seeking the same dynamic Zeppelin experience as the 1969-1973 period, should really look elsewhere.
    If you thought Physical Graffiti was shabby, well, stay away from Presence! ...more info
  • Raw Power
    Zeppelin's obvious heavy hitters: Achilles Last Stand, Tea for One, and Nobody's Fault. However, the real gems are the "tight but loose" rockers: Hots on for Nowhere, Royal Orleans, and For Your Life. Candy Store Rock is the artful one-off. The instrumentation is a revelation of heavy, hard, but fun and purposeful. Every song is stark, greasy, lean, and raw. My favorite LZ album. ...more info
  • A zeppelin masterpiece
    Presence is way underrated in my opinion.It amongst their very best due to songs like ACHILLES LAST STAND,CANDY STORE ROCK and NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MINE.Highly recommended.Get it today....more info
  • HOLY CRAP, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!?!
    Presence is Zeppelins last "real" album, and it rocks just as hard as any of the others. Addmittedly, some of the songs aren't as good as the others. For Example, Tea For One isn't all that great compared to lets say Nobody's Fault But Mine. THIS DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE ALBUM IS BAD!! All of the songs are great and are Zeppelin, and even Zeppelin 4 has Four Sticks. ...more info
  • Zeppelin's Last Stand
    ( Written by Ted Buchanan-rabid Zep fan)

    1976 was the beginning of the end of Led Zeppelin. In the wake of terrible reviews of their concert film,'The Song Remains the Same', Page, Plant, Bonzo, and Jones had to deal with the sudden rise of Punk Rock and New Wave which was oozing out of the cracks in the U.K. These young rebels resented Zeppelin calling them 'Bloated old farts.' Ironically, a very young Billy Idol had a verbal row with the band at that time at a local studio. Zeppelin ignored these fools and released another landmark album: Presence. This was to be an epic, powerhouse recording that is somewhat misunderstood by fans and critics alike today. The freaky album art, complete with 'The Object' tripped out most people. The 10 min. plus "Achilles Last Stand' and the blistering 'Nobody's Fault but Mine' catipulted album sales and got America ready for Zeppelin's return after a 2 year absence. In 1977, the US Tour was zooming into middle-America and the fans went nuts, resulting in many skirmishes with police at some venues. The tour started with a 'heavy' vibe and unfortunately got alot worse from there. Peter Grant was having personal issues, Plant had recorded the album with his leg in a cast and was very nervous about returning to the states to perform. Bonzo and an assistant got involved in a brawl that involved a rival music industry security management employee which led to arrests. Page had to deal with a negative press and 'Satanic' rumours about 'bad karma' within the band. A close member of Zep's management declared later,"That tour never should have happened. It was just wrong." Persistent rumors spread regarding Jimmy's heroin addiction, underage girls,and even a 'curse' placed on the band. Toward the end of a successful US Tour, a bombshell: Robert Plant got a call that his young son had died from a freak virus. All remaning US dates were cancelled and the band un-officially broke up. Zeppelin would never play in America again....more info
  • Presence- 2.5 stars
    When reading the other reviews of this album, I was quite surprised at how many people gave it a high rating- especially the amount that gave it 5 stars. Even though I am a big fan of Led Zeppelin's music and like practically every song on all of their previous albums, I have to say that Presence approaches being awful. Even the reviews that have rated this album poorly have cited Achilles Last Stand and Nobody's Fault But Mine as standouts. Neither Achilles nor Nobody's Fault But Mine even nearly approaches the incredible heights LZ reached with their earlier songs. Achilles is a fairly decent song, but it is just way too long. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the impatient type who's not willing to listen to a long epic song. For example, I love the 11-minute song In My Time of Dying on the album Physical Graffiti. However, I can't stand it when songs are artificially made long for the sole purpose of trying to pass something off as an epic song. I agree with one reviewer who said that this song should be 4 or 5 minutes shorter because of its repetitive nature. But, again, Achilles has its moments and some PARTS of it are genuinely good, but all in all it is too long and repetitive. On the other hand, I completely disagree with those who say that Nobody's Fault But Mine is a standout. While it is kind of cool the way Robert Plant says "nobody's fault but mine," the rest of the song is subpar. When he vocalizes with the guitar over and over and over, it annoys me to no end. I think its awesome when he vocalizes with Page's guitar-playing on other LZ songs, but here it just sounds tacky and is, again, repetitive. However, as bad as Nobody's Fault But Mine is, the rest of the songs on the album are even worse. In fact, theyre so bad that theyre not worth reviewing. Just suffice it to say that they suck. A friend of mine once said that Tea for One was ok, though I'll have to somewhat disagree with him on that, too. Again, its just too damn long. Also, I have to admit that I'm a sucker for the blues epic, but even to me its apparent that this song is rather formulaic. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned that this song sounds uncannily similar to Since I've Been Loving You on Led Zeppelin 3.

    In conclusion, NONE of the songs on this album are great. The only reason why I do not regret buying it is that I wanted to have all of their studio albums. I thought about just giving this album 2 stars, but I felt kind of guilty and decided on the moderate merits of Achilles Last Stand that it deserved a 2.5. This is one of the two albums I would buy last in the LZ collection- Coda is the other one. ...more info
  • Another great rock album from Lez Zep !
    Another very good cd from Led Zeppelin. Not easy for them to make a good follower to House of the Holy and Physical Graffiti, but they almost make it. Still a very good one. Achilles Last Stand is very good. A good starter I can tell. Nobody's fault but mine is a classic.
    The hidden jewel goes to the last one, a beautiful song from Led Zep, Tea for One is an excellent song, well worth the discovery, in my mind, almost as good as "The Rain song"...more info
  • i bought it when it came out
    in 1976 and it sounded like crap! i bought it on vinyl at tower records in fresno, california without first hearing it (i love zep's 1st four albums without reservation!). i took it home and listened, hoping to find womething like the 1st 4 albums, but there was nothing! i took it back to tower the next day and exchanged it for frampton comes alive!

    however, as i've grown older and wiser, repeated listenings stand the test of time (i since bought a used version on vinyl). this is a true classic zep album that stands up well today. tea for one is a true classic behemoth; a blues tune that stands out with their best blues tunes;
    achilles last stand is a tune that no other band of its time could have evened conceived; nobody's fault but mine is true genius guitar work from page, and with a beat so funky and slick you can lick honey off it; for your life, which i so recklessly panned over 30 years ago is a real gem-nice guitar work prom page and great backbeat from bonham; royal orleans has that same funky feel, but the problem is it goes nowhere--it's still a nice tune; hots on for nowhere and candy store rock can't be saved at all. they both sound aimless, without purpose. jones, bonham and page seem to be playing half heartedly, or perhaps their hearts weren't in it at all. robert plant certainly wasn't.

    all in all, i give it 4 stars because it has some truly great moments and since they are led zeppelin. i still think their best is the first album: they could have made a whole career doing willie dixon songs and stealing stuff from robert johnson...more info
  • not zepplin's greatest moment, but a fine hard rock album all the same.
    the two bookends to this album, "achilles last stand" and "tea for one," are outstanding, and could fit in somewhere on physical graffiti without diminishing that great albums worth. also, smack dab in the middle here, there's "nobody's fault but mine:" another fine song with a killer hook that could go on the graffiti album nicely. those three tracks alone clock in at something just over 26 minutes. so there's lots of good music on this thing. lots of tension in the sound, a powerful rhythmic drive throughout, and slightly quirky melodies wound-up tight. nice inventive guitar work from jimmy page, and john bonham's drumming is often as gonzo as that of keith moon's fiercest frenzied attacks on the skins. the other four tracks sandwiched in here (for your life/royal orleans/candy store rock/hots on for nowhere) are good enough, all zepplin fans should have 'em, but they are simply not quite up to par with the bands classic work. if you are a young thing and looking to get into zepplin, i would say start with their first album and just keep going. work your way up to this album. eventually you will want it, but their first 6 albums are better overall. if you are already familiar with zepplin's classic albums, and somehow missed this lesser known one, don't shy away from it. plenty of good stuff here....more info
  • The album that i turn to more than any other...
    Well, what can you say about this monster that already hasn't been said? Tour de force, mind blowing, jaw dropping, those are some thoughts that come instantly to mind. This is truly a piece of art that in my opinion is as good as it gets for this band, or for any band, period.

    I have read that Jimmy says that this is his favorite album and that to him, "Achilles Last Stand" is his favorite Zeppelin track. I love "Achilles", but to me this stand out of this album is "Nobody's Fault But Mine". Man is that one powerful piece of music, that sucker has been getting me out of my head and into a better place for close to twenty years! Unbelievable, can't say enough about that track.

    When I'm asked what my favorite album of all time is, it is an easy decision, and I don't simply say "Presence", but say side two of "Presence". Every track on side two I absolutely love. I just saw that amazon is offering this as an LP version. Do yourselves a favor if you're reading this, buy it on vinyl. Get yourself a decent system with a record player (they aren't expensive, garage sales, estate sales, they are all over) and play side two of this album. It really doesn't get any better than that. I've got a couple thousand titles now, from all eras and a host of different genres, but I can truly say that this is the one album that I listen to the most on a consistent basis.

    Take care all and happy holidays, let's hope that boys reunite and Bonzo, wherever you are you are missed, loved, and thought of often!!!...more info
  • Led Zeppelin's most underrated and unfairly criticised album
    Presence (1976.), Led Zeppelin's seventh studio album

    When people consider Led Zeppelin's great albums, the list more than often contains Led Zeppelin I, II and IV or Physical Graffiti. Presence, the 1976 offering from the band rarely gets a mention alongside these classics. Hastily recorded in the aftermath of the huge success of the double album, Physical Graffiti, Presence has become one of the band's more criticised and sometimes forgotten works. However, is this a fairly passed judgment on Led Zeppelin's Presence?

    In my opinion, this is easily Led Zeppelin's most unfairly attacked album and it deserves far more praise than it has been given. It never ceases to amaze me why this album is given such a bad press by most people; they describe 'Presence' as the album were Led Zeppelin lost their touch or they just brandish it as incoherant rubbish. All I can gather from this is that these people haven't listened to the work enough or are just one of the old 'so called' Led Zeppelin fans. 'Presence' is a great hard rock record, displaying some of the band's best jams. It is unique in the respect that it features no keyboard or effects; all the sound you hear is vocal, bass, guitar and drums. However, I think this is no bad thing at all. The fact that the band took a calculated step back after Physical Graffiti and tried something not too overambitous is where Presence really succeeds. The song styles are simpler in many respects but at the same time they are driven by very powerful performances from the band members. Afterall, this is Jimmy Page's favourite Led Zeppelin record and you can clearly see why he enjoys this one; his guitar playing is dynamic and inspired throughout. Furthermore, this album features some killer tracks. 'Achilles Last Stand', perhaps the band's greatest epic, features on this album, as does the fan favourite 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. The album may have been rushed together, recorded in limited time in Germany but to be honest, the music is first rate and deserves five stars all the way. Even more remarkable is Plant's vocal performance on the album; at the time of recording, he was recovering from a car accident and had to actually sing some parts laid down. His vocals are as compelling as ever though.

    Led Zeppelin kick off their hard-rocking seventh album with one of their finest tracks. 'Achilles Last Stand' stands as one of the bands most powerful epics. In fact, this 10 minute track alone is worth the price of admission, led by its unwavering groove, a particularly haunting Plant vocal, and several show stopping give and take segments between Page and Bonham. During these thrilling exchanges, Bonham's volcanic drum fills interlock with Page's wailing guitar parts, seizing several moments of tension that build to the bursting point. This awesome opening track is followed by 'For Your Life'. This is classic Zeppelin, and for me another one of their best songs. I can never tire of this song; the strutting riffs from Page's guitar make this song memorable. Plant gives a vintage performance on the vocals, sounding out lyrics about drug taking. Next up though is perhaps the weakest song on the album; still 'Royal Orleans' ain't that bad a song. Plant gives a lyrical take on one night stands, a classic rock n' roll song theme however the melodic backing of the track and the riffs are a bit repetitive. However, at 3 minutes, this weaker track hardly detracts from the albums overall rating.

    Then we come to the second half of the album. Robert Plant, whose voice has grown rougher over the years, gives a compelling, stuttered vocal performance on 'Nobody's Fault But Mine', an excellent, hard rocking song. This one is a fan favourite. The song also makes a welcome return of the harmonica to Led Zeppelin's music. 'Candy Store Rock' follows, with some catchy guitar play from Page that has a very 1950's rock n' roll sound to it. 'Hots On For Nowhere' follows and keeps the blood pumping on the album. Many have passed this song off as filler however, I think it's a great song. It's upbeat, has masterful stop-start riffs and some great harmonisation sections, with a 'la, la, la' chorus with funky backbeats. To finish the album is a welcome return to the blues by Led Zeppelin. 'Tea For One' is in a similar vein to 'Since I've Bin Loving You' from LZ III. A little long and drawn out, nevertheless, Plant gives a resounding vocal performance and Page's guitar virtuousity shines through.

    All in all, 'Presence' measures up to be a damned good album. True, this album isn't revolutionary, it isn't experimental but the sheer quality of the hard rock songs on the album makes the work a winner. As a seasoned Led Zeppelin fan, 'Presence' has over time become one of the band's works that I listen to more; I would even on some days, place this album in the league of some of the band's earlier work. 'Presence' is a sadly underrated classic album from the great band and many seem to ignore it. My advice is to not start a Led Zeppelin collection with this album, but certainly to obtain it once you really start getting into the band's music. This is Led Zeppelin's last classic album and it deserves some RESPECT!

    MY RATING: 9/10...more info
  • Presence by Led Zeppelin
    Replacing my vhs tape library dating back to the early 1970s with CDs. Had forgot just how good this album is!...more info
  • 1,2,3,4 and maybe Physical Graffiti but the rest is better not heard
    I think by the time this album was released Led Zeppelin were past their peak (ZOSO). There is nothing here that makes you stand up and take notice.

    Mediocre, unexcitable....more info
  • Led Zeppelin - 'Presence' (Atlantic)
    Review no. 193. Originally released in 1976, this was their follow-up to their double-album landmark 'Physical Graffiti' (see my review). I've always liked this album. Just always thought the cover was pretty lame. Immaterial,no? Zeppelin's seventh 'proper' lp. Tracks that make this CD reissue a should-have are the ten-minute opening masterpiece (as far as I'm concerned) "Achilles Last Stand", the total blues rocking "Nobody's Fault But Mine", the rockabilly-like "Candy Store Rock" and the somewhat funky "Hots On To Nowhere". Long live ZEPPELIN!...more info
  • The true Zeppelin swan song
    In Through The Out Door and Coda were abberations. ITTOD was JPJ's album and I guess that under the circumstances he did the best he could. Coda was an outtakes album which is not bad but not a legacy type of album. Presence on the other hand is Zeppelin at their hardest and tightest, an awesome album bracketed by two of the greatest tracks they ever laid down - Achilles Last Stand and Tea For One. I first heard ALS when Presence was first released and thought it was the greatest thing Zeppelin had ever produced. I still think it's one of their top 5 tracks but on a par with it, for me, is Tea For One. I bracket it with In My Time Of Dying as two of the greatest blues tracks ever made. JP's playing on this track is blistering. God knows how many guitar tracks he laid down but it sounds like 3 or 4 separate guitar tracks and each compliments all the others wonderfully. Having listened to the remastered CD I can finally appreciate just what a phenomenal job Bonzo does on this album in fact, for me, Bonzo's drumming is what really makes this album special. Listening to it on a dodgy cassette player all those years ago I couldn't appreciate what a job he did but if ITTOD and Coda showed didn't really give Bonzo a chance to shine, Presence does in spades. Percy might have recorded all his vocals in a wheelchair but you could swear he was wearing and tearing his stuff when he recorded this, Plant had his voice back and this album is a testament to that. JPJ does a great job of supporting JP and Bonzo without ever dominating and James Patrick Page just peels the paint off the wall with a masterclass in rock and blues guitar. It's a shame that many can't hear beyond Achilles Last Stand on this album but I really think that years ahead, this album will be regarded as the classic it truly is. If JP, JPJ, J(Jason)B and Percy ever do create new music, I hope to hell it sounds like this - tight but loose....more info
  • The most underrated Zeppelin album, and their last great one
    Released in 1976, Led Zeppelin's 7th album has always been unfairly overlooked by fans and critics who'd expected another epic along the lines of their previous album "Physical Graffiti". And were seemingly disappointed by the even stranger than normal artwork (what was that black thing anyway?) and just seven songs. It was if the band had taken a "ho-hum" approach to their albums. They knew ANYTHING they released was guaranteed to sell a million copies in its first week. Seven songs? Who did they think they were, Steely Dan? Add to this the rise of punk rockers in England who regarded Zeppelin as boring old farts whose demise couldn't come fast enough. Relations within the band were tense as well. Robert Plant had been in a near fatal car wreck in Greece and practically recorded the entire album in a wheelchair. Jimmy Page and John Bonham's dalliances with heroin had turned into full-fledged addictions. And John Paul Jones felt his role in the band was merely taken for granted. So the band was in an unfamiliar position; backs to the wall and needing a strong album to prove they still had "it" in them. To do this, the band decamped to Munich's Musicland Studios and pushed themselves to deliver a new album in (for them) a record time of 2 weeks, as the Rolling Stones were due to arrive and start their next album. Legend has it that Page completed all the guitar overdubs in one night; then asked Mick Jagger for one extra day of studio time. Jagger agreed, and when he arrived Page proudly told him the album was finished;
    Jagger: "Oh, you got the basic tracks done?"
    Page: "No, the ENTIRE album is done."
    This was at a time when the Stones needed two weeks to record ONE song.
    "Presence" is a different album because of this. The proto-hippie acoustic tunes of the past are nowhere to be found here. This is a much tougher sounding and uncompromising album as a result starting with the opener. "Achilles Last Stand" is probably the longest song they've ever recorded at nearly 11 minutes of soaring vocals, galloping guitars, rock bottom bass and machine gun drums. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" is without a doubt one of the best songs they ever recorded with it's heavily phased guitar intro and Plant's wail of a deal he wants out of (Drugs or the Devil?) before it slams into a thunderous groove that only stops for a second as Plant quietly laments; "nobody's fault but mine". Though they were never a singles band, "Candy Store Rock" really could've been a hit single as the band do their best impression of a Sun Records rockabilly act. "Hots on for Nowhere" is Robert Plant strutting his stuff vocally while John Bonham lays down a shuffle straight out of the James Brown school of drumming. I have to say that the sound quality of "Tea for One" is remarkable and harkens back to the smooth drum sound the band had on its early albums before it drops into a slow melancholy blues that seems to say that the band was tired and that bad times were coming soon. Those bad times were the '77 tour that saw fan riots, hard drugs everywhere, and the death of Plant's son. Jimmy Page seems to have pulled out all the stops here and used every guitar trick he could think of. IMO, If Zeppelin had stopped here, their place in rock history would've been solid. If any album in the Zeppelin catalog could be called a letdown, it was "In Through the Out Door".
    ...more info
  • LED ZEP GO FROM LEGENDS TO GODS!
    Presence is Jimmy Page's favorite Led Zeppelin album and it "ain't so hard to recognize" why. Each song is a pure rocker, whether it is happy, sad, or epic. Just like the albums before it Presence shows a picture of the band in the time in which it was written and recorded. One of the unique abilities of Led Zeppelin was there ability to show what kind of mindset there are in. Houses of the Holy was very happy yet at times dark. Led Zeppelin I and II both show a change not only in the band, but in the music scene. Physical Graffiti shows a plethera of ideas from everybody while Led Zeppelin III shows a softer gentler side. And of course UNTITLED shows you a little bit of everything. Presence is one the more intersting sides of Led Zeppelin, their lonely side, especially on Tea For One and For Your Life. A must have album, no fillers here....more info
  • 2 1/2 stars-- shedding the excess.
    Judging by its followup, I'm not the only one who felt that "Physical Graffiti" was a bit overblown and self-indulgent, apparently Led Zeppelin did too. It's next album was as close as the band would ever come to a stripped down approach, eschewing the keyboards and grand arrangements for electric guitar driven, riff-based rock. In principle, I'm a fan-- nothing like shedding all that extra weight, but in practice, "Presence" works out to be surprisingly pedestrian and likely the weakest album in the band's catalog.

    It's not that anything on here is particularly bad-- it's just that the songs lack anything exciting or distinguishing about them-- they've all got that "album track" feel. The lack of texture generates a sameness to the album, further accentuated by vocalist Robert Plant sitting in a more comfortable middle register for the entire record. It drifts from one unmemorable riff-based slice ("For Your Life") to another (the sluggish blues "Tea For One"), with the occasional interlude provided by embracing '50s style rock 'n' roll ("Candy Store Rock", and to a lesser extent "Hots on For Nowhere"). Again, none of it is bad, it's just not terribly exciting. The exception is opener "Achilles Last Stand"-- a startlingly concise slice of riff-based rock for a 10 minute performance and the staggering Blind Willie Johnson remake, "Nobody's Fault But Mine", with its fierce energy and a fine honking harmonica solo.

    Apparently, I'm not the only one who felt this way about the record-- Zeppelin only performed "Achilles Last Stand" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine" live. There's enough good material on here to make it worth having, but this is not among the band's finer moments....more info
  • led zeppelin / presence
    awesome zeppelin ! achille's last stand, nobody's fault, tea for one
    all favorites! 'tea for one' is awesome jimmy page! I bought the original album in 1976. when cd's came out, I put the cd on my christmas list for years but no one ever got it for me! It wasn't until 31 years later (I'm 47) that I purchased the Presence cd from you amazon.com, to complete my led zeppelin cd collection. Thank You, It's A Pleasure Doing Business With You! fscurec@hotmail.com...more info
  • The Object
    Why this cd gets four star rating is beyond me. The cd rocks from top to bottom. The first full-blown electric Led Zeppelin recording just chills me to the bones. I cranked up Hots On For Nowhere one time so loud I could not hear right for a week afterwards. This cd is way under-rated in my opinion and I bought it the first day it hit the shelves and has been my second favorit LZ album since followed by Physical Graffiti....more info
  • HOLY PRESENCE!!!
    This is a truly amazing album! Passionately played, Presence rocks from start to finish and it means it. From the opening guitar that fades in into the beast that is Achilles Last Stand to the marvellous melancholy of Tea For One, this is a complete winner. Actually those two songs plus For Your Life and Nobody's Fault But Mine are just fantastic pieces of music. The album manages to capture a rawness that was absent on their previous albums save say for the very first one when they just went for it and had the whole thing done in two weeks. It also does carry a hard funky feel that only those four mighty musicians could throw - the perfect follow-up to Physical Graffiti. I regard Led Zeppelin's music as a sort of holy presence and it was very much alive when they went to Munich's Musicland Studios in Nov/Dec 1975 to record the album that came to be known as PRESENCE. ...more info
  • Led Zeppelin's most underrated and unfairly criticised album
    Presence (1976.), Led Zeppelin's seventh studio album

    When people consider Led Zeppelin's great albums, the list more than often contains Led Zeppelin I, II and IV or Physical Graffiti. Presence, the 1976 offering from the band rarely gets a mention alongside these classics. Hastily recorded in the aftermath of the huge success of the double album, Physical Graffiti, Presence has become one of the band's more criticised and sometimes forgotten works. However, is this a fairly passed judgment on Led Zeppelin's Presence?

    In my opinion, this is easily Led Zeppelin's most unfairly attacked album and it deserves far more praise than it has been given. It never ceases to amaze me why this album is given such a bad press by most people; they describe 'Presence' as the album were Led Zeppelin lost their touch or they just brandish it as incoherant rubbish. All I can gather from this is that these people haven't listened to the work enough or are just one of the old 'so called' Led Zeppelin fans. 'Presence' is a great hard rock record, displaying some of the band's best jams. It is unique in the respect that it features no keyboard or effects; all the sound you hear is vocal, bass, guitar and drums. However, I think this is no bad thing at all. The fact that the band took a calculated step back after Physical Graffiti and tried something not too overambitous is where Presence really succeeds. The song styles are simpler in many respects but at the same time they are driven by very powerful performances from the band members. Afterall, this is Jimmy Page's favourite Led Zeppelin record and you can clearly see why he enjoys this one; his guitar playing is dynamic and inspired throughout. Furthermore, this album features some killer tracks. 'Achilles Last Stand', perhaps the band's greatest epic, features on this album, as does the fan favourite 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. The album may have been rushed together, recorded in limited time in Germany but to be honest, the music is first rate and deserves five stars all the way. Even more remarkable is Plant's vocal performance on the album; at the time of recording, he was recovering from a car accident and had to actually sing some parts laid down. His vocals are as compelling as ever though.

    Led Zeppelin kick off their hard-rocking seventh album with one of their finest tracks. 'Achilles Last Stand' stands as one of the bands most powerful epics. In fact, this 10 minute track alone is worth the price of admission, led by its unwavering groove, a particularly haunting Plant vocal, and several show stopping give and take segments between Page and Bonham. During these thrilling exchanges, Bonham's volcanic drum fills interlock with Page's wailing guitar parts, seizing several moments of tension that build to the bursting point. This awesome opening track is followed by 'For Your Life'. This is classic Zeppelin, and for me another one of their best songs. I can never tire of this song; the strutting riffs from Page's guitar make this song memorable. Plant gives a vintage performance on the vocals, sounding out lyrics about drug taking. Next up though is perhaps the weakest song on the album; still 'Royal Orleans' ain't that bad a song. Plant gives a lyrical take on one night stands, a classic rock n' roll song theme however the melodic backing of the track and the riffs are a bit repetitive. However, at 3 minutes, this weaker track hardly detracts from the albums overall rating.

    Then we come to the second half of the album. Robert Plant, whose voice has grown rougher over the years, gives a compelling, stuttered vocal performance on 'Nobody's Fault But Mine', an excellent, hard rocking song. This one is a fan favourite. The song also makes a welcome return of the harmonica to Led Zeppelin's music. 'Candy Store Rock' follows, with some catchy guitar play from Page that has a very 1950's rock n' roll sound to it. 'Hots On For Nowhere' follows and keeps the blood pumping on the album. Many have passed this song off as filler however, I think it's a great song. It's upbeat, has masterful stop-start riffs and some great harmonisation sections, with a 'la, la, la' chorus with funky backbeats. To finish the album is a welcome return to the blues by Led Zeppelin. 'Tea For One' is in a similar vein to 'Since I've Bin Loving You' from LZ III. A little long and drawn out, nevertheless, Plant gives a resounding vocal performance and Page's guitar virtuousity shines through.

    All in all, 'Presence' measures up to be a damned good album. True, this album isn't revolutionary, it isn't experimental but the sheer quality of the hard rock songs on the album makes the work a winner. As a seasoned Led Zeppelin fan, 'Presence' has over time become one of the band's works that I listen to more; I would even on some days, place this album in the league of some of the band's earlier work. 'Presence' is a sadly underrated classic album from the great band and many seem to ignore it. My advice is to not start a Led Zeppelin collection with this album, but certainly to obtain it once you really start getting into the band's music. This is Led Zeppelin's last classic album and it deserves some RESPECT!

    MY RATING: 9/10...more info