Released: 2002, Locomotive
Normally, I might not write about Led Zeppelin on this site but a couple of factors inspired me to write a book review and CD review based on the venerable Hard Rock institution. So this month, you will get a little double shot of Led Zeppelin stuff. In April 2012, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) awarded a Juno Award to a band (Ken Mode) for best Heavy Metal/Heavy Music album of the year. It was a controversial decision (as these things tends to be) and the choice generated some debate on-line and elsewhere about the nature of Heavy Metal. To very briefly summarize, some people thought the band is not Metal and others think they are Metal. I started to examine what constitutes Metal. By coincidence, I had just started reading a book about Led Zeppelin which talked to this very question, namely the history and lineage of the Heavy Metal genre dating back to the early 60’s. I also pulled about a Led Zeppelin tribute album to enjoy while I read the book. Please feel free to enjoy these two reviews.
THE MUSIC REMAINS THE SAME came out on Locomotive records 10 years ago and is one of the few ‘Metal’ Led Zeppelin tribute albums. It’s a nice digi-pack with a cool, metal airship of some sort on the cover. The booklet is nicely done, each of the dozen bands getting a full-color write-up and quote why they these bands were happy to be on a Zep Tribute. The twelve songs will entertain you for about an hour.
The song choices are pretty predictable, the biggest songs from one of the world’s biggest bands, sticking to the first six albums. The bands represent a truly global spectrum with bands from Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Brazil. Highlights would be Doro doing ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’ and Blaze does a decent take on ‘Dazed and Confused’. His voice is perfect for that song. Chris Bolthendal of Grave Digger on the other hand does not have the perfect voice for ‘No Quarter’. His doesn’t really have the voice for doing Plant and his guttural rasp, while perfect for anthemic, Germanic, teutonic Power Metal, doesn’t fit the song. Axxis runs through a fun, quick version of ‘Good Times, Bad Times’. The album ends of with an ambitious attempt at ‘Stairway To Heaven’ by White Skull. It’s takes courage to tackle that behemoth of a song.
For those who suggest that Led Zeppelin was not influential on contemporary Metal artists I would suggest that this compilation would prove otherwise as all of these Metal bands are still active. This is a nice little collection with a bit of something for everyone. I truly believe that the value in these tributes resides in the individuals’ own familiarity with the original compositions being covered. For someone who doesn’t know Led Zeppelin at all this comp will have little to no value other than a being a batch of songs. For a die-hard Zep fan that has everything it could be enormously entertaining analyzing the differences between the original songs and these interpretations. I personally fall between those two extremes but I am glad the bands stuck to a predictable song list of the well-known classics because if they had covered deep tracks from PRESENCE or CODA for example I would not have enjoyed this as much as I did.
1. Kashmir – Angra
2. Dazed and Confused – Blaze
3. The Rover – Primal Fear
4. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You – Doro
5. Rock and Roll – Elegy
6. Communication Breakdown – Tierra Santa
7. No Quarter – Grave Digger
8. Black Dog – Masterplan
9. Immigrant Song – Consortium Project
10. Whole Lotta Love – Mägo De Oz
11. Good Times Bad Times – Axxis
12. Stairway to Heaven – White Skull