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What Are You Listening To At This Moment?

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I'm not listening to them at the moment, but I'm going to use this thread to review albums that I've listened to recently. If there is a thread for rating and reviewing albums, just point it out to me.

I don't listen to things very consistently, but the lowdown is that I've been going through the Led Zeppelin studio albums systematically, and I've also listened to some metal. Like I said, I haven't been consistent about it: I listened to Houses of the Holy before July 4th and I plan to listen to Physical Graffiti today, but I listened to two metal albums in a day not to long ago. But here's my review of all the albums I've listened to in chronological order of listening (and coincidentally release).

1. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin. 1969. 4.5/5.

A very solid debut. Obviously it was a sign of even better things to come. Heavily blues-based, but not really psychedelic like many of the other English bands of the late '60s. Although more-or-less lacking the hard-rock riffs of II, the folksiness of III, or the epic mystique of IV, Led Zeppelin hints at all of them. Although my least favorite of the first four albums (the ones which established the band's reputation), I've actually listened to this album three or four times just to get the feel of it. "Dazed and Confused" is the album's jaw-dropper, any minor complaints I might have about the album are cast aside here in the its brilliance.

2. Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin. 1969. 5/5.

A heavier (in terms of sound) follow-up to Led Zeppelin. It shows hints at the folk-based sound that would be dominant on the next album, but the stand-outs here are "Whole Lotta Love" and "Heartbreaker". Overall a great, confident successor to a very good debut, and more indicative of the band's outstanding capabilities.

3. Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin. 1970. 5/5.

Often shunned as the odd man out of Led Zeppelin's first four albums, Led Zeppelin III is unique and eclectic. Opening with "Immigrant Song" which is really the only hard rock song on the album, the rest of it has roots in folk and blues. When you think about it, the albums aren't even all that different, Led Zeppelin just had a huge range. Initially I too was a bit disappointed by its seeming dissimilarity to Led Zeppelin II, but this one grows on you.

4. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin. 1971. 6/5.

Led Zeppelin's defining moment for me. Perhaps it is only regarded so highly because of the media surrounding its production, but it will always be my favorite album. No track here could be called filler, the album is that tight. "Black Dog" is the grooviest song on the album. "When the Levee Breaks" also has groove, but it's a different kind of groove. "Stairway to Heaven" is my favorite song, and I've written enough about it in the past. Those are the stand-outs for me, but the whole album is fantastic.

5. Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin. 1973. 4/5.

A solid follow-up to a career-defining album, but it doesn't have the tightness of any of its predecessors. It doesn't feel like it has a particular direction it wants to go into. The last three tracks ("D'yer Mak'er", "No Quarter", and "The Ocean") are all excellent, and the opener, "The Song Remains the Same" really works. Good, but doesn't grow on you like Led Zeppelin III.

6. Master of Puppets - Metallica. 1986. 5/5.

Maybe my favorite metal album. Standout track: "Master of Puppets".

7. Leviathan - Mastodon. 2004. 4/5.

I liked it, but I was using it as background music, so I should give it another listen. Standout track: "Blood and Thunder".

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