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It is all there. The power, the glory, the hammer of the gods, the energy, sledghammering away, moaning, groaning, screaming, over the topness, shreds of the beginning of heavy metal that would later become Metallica and the like, where Barracuda came from, staggering, skittering, flamboyant, the YEAH!! of it, bashing, cymbal crashing epic masterpiece that noone has come close to approaching. Whew, 9 minutes plus of unadultered pure in your face rock and fucking roll, quietly slipping to the end.

Heavy metal was already established as a force in rock by the time this was released in 1976.

But you've answered my question better than anyone else so far. Not that it's changed my way of thinking mind you, but by saying that magical five letter word, I now understand what the buzz is about this song (and yes, it is a song). I'm not a big fan of metal and have never, for one second, considered LZ a metal band. Influences on future metal bands, indeed, but they are much too multi faceted to be pigeonholed in one category. So, I guess if metal is your music, this is your song. Personally, I consider The Immigrant Song heavy metal, and I love it. Maybe because it's only three minutes long.

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John Bonham. His finest moment. Possibly the single greatest rock & roll drum track ever recorded. Maybe you didn't notice

I noticed.

And since i've been listening to Bonham since LZ I came out, i've noticed a few other things as well. Like the foot pedal in Good Times, Bad Times, and then finding out he was doing it with a single. Maybe The Immigrant Song, which is similar to ALS. Wait there's more. Let's see. How about When the Levee Breaks or Black Dog? No, I think In My Time of Dying says it all for me. That, imo, is the best rock drumming ever, and blows away Achilles, plus the drum sound is better.

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Before I start, let me slip into my Nomex undies because i'm sure to get flamed.

Most of the polls i've seen around here about LZ's greatest songs usually include ALS and I have a tough time with it. I just don't think it's one of their better songs. Sorry, but to me it's gets boring and I wouldn't even list it in my Top 20 of their library. Even on Presence, which I think is one of their better albums, i would listen to Hots On, NFBM or Royal Orleans long before Achilles. In fact, i can remember skipping over the song to get to FYL and RO back when it was a new record.

Geez, I know i'm committing a felony here, but I got to get it out.

I'm not a huge fan of the song either to be honest. It's a decent song but I don't think it's one of their best, and I don't understand why it's often voted as one of their best. It's the one 'epic' song of theirs that I find goes on for too long and outstays its welcome. It's a tad overblown I suppose. I much prefer the straight blues rock of NFBM.

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but by saying that magical five letter word, I now understand what the buzz is about this song (and yes, it is a song). I'm not a big fan of metal and have never, for one second, considered LZ a metal band.

No, "metal" is not it. :rolleyes:

We all recognize that many other LZ songs do things well that are also done well in ALS. That's a copout on your part.

The important point (some of which are recaps) is that it has one of the most memorable, gripping intro/outro riffs of all time (the way the intro riffs start out out of time and then come together), a main riff that in the words of one of my past roomates (who wasn't even a LZ fan) is "not a riff you forget" (I was surprised he recognized it after I lazily played a few bars of it on my guitar one day...prompting his resonse that I still remember to this day), the best solo in the LZ catalog, the gripping military drum rythym in unison with the bassline (that changes slightly when repeated during the solo...to chilling effect), the non-standard song structure that doesn't just work but works magnificently, the only 10+ minute song I've ever heard that has never gotten tiresome even one time that I've ever listened to it, the cool uniqueness of the galloping bassline, the guitar/vocal in unison section (especially the syncopated rythmic playing Jimmy does in between the repeating unison lines), one of Bono's greatest drum showcases not just for technical difficulty but for how perfectly it lifts the song, the way it's seemingly overproduced but yet everything works perfectly to create its epic feel (don't slight its production merits; I've heard many well-written songs get held back by poor decisions made in the mixing and instrumentation...to get it perfect is always an accomplishment), the magnificent lyrics, and then ending the way it begins ...leaving you still holding that breath half-in while you let your adrenaline wear off. There's much more if I was to take the time/effort. I even like how in the last military rythym section Jonesey unexpectedly drops out for just a couple of beats.

It seems your error is in thinking it has to all be summed up by one thing. Its all of those things. There are not plenty of songs in Zep's catalog that do so many things as well as ALS does. There must be a dozen moments in that song capable of inducing goosebumps. That doesn't impress you? If you read those things I listed off and think "I'm not sure what he's talking about", then you need to listen again, because it's what the rest of us are hearing. I normally am quick to write off differences in opinion as legitimate differences in taste, but since you're obviously a fan of Zep's music, I can't write if off as "well, you just don't like that type of music. Don't cop out.

Edited by selection7
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Achilles is fast, epic, and includes Jimmy's best solo. No, I didn't say "one of the best." The best.

It also has an awesome galloping bassline from Jones, something you don't hear often.

Well I lean more towards on one of the best solos. I think the SIBLY solo is better.

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No, "metal" is not it. :rolleyes:

We all recognize that many other LZ songs do things well that are also done well in ALS. That's a copout on your part.

The important point (some of which are recaps) is that it has one of the most memorable, gripping intro/outro riffs of all time (the way the intro riffs start out out of time and then come together), a main riff that in the words of one of my past roomates (who wasn't even a LZ fan) is "not a riff you forget" (I was surprised he recognized it after I lazily played a few bars of it on my guitar one day...prompting his resonse that I still remember to this day), the best solo in the LZ catalog, the gripping military drum rythym in unison with the bassline (that changes slightly when repeated during the solo...to chilling effect), the non-standard song structure that doesn't just work but works magnificently, the only 10+ minute song I've ever heard that has never gotten tiresome even one time that I've ever listened to it, the cool uniqueness of the galloping bassline, the guitar/vocal in unison section (especially the syncopated rythmic playing Jimmy does in between the repeating unison lines), one of Bono's greatest drum showcases not just for technical difficulty but for how perfectly it lifts the song, the way it's seemingly overproduced but yet everything works perfectly to create its epic feel (don't slight its production merits; I've heard many well-written songs get held back by poor decisions made in the mixing and instrumentation...to get it perfect is always an accomplishment), the magnificent lyrics, and then ending the way it begins ...leaving you still holding that breath half-in while you let your adrenaline wear off. There's much more if I was to take the time/effort. I even like how in the last military rythym section Jonesey unexpectedly drops out for just a couple of beats.

It seems your error is in thinking it has to all be summed up by one thing. Its all of those things. There are not plenty of songs in Zep's catalog that do so many things as well as ALS does. There must be a dozen moments in that song capable of inducing goosebumps. That doesn't impress you? If you read those things I listed off and think "I'm not sure what he's talking about", then you need to listen again, because it's what the rest of us are hearing. I normally am quick to write off differences in opinion as legitimate differences in taste, but since you're obviously a fan of Zep's music, I can't write if off as "well, you just don't like that type of music. Don't cop out.

Thank you.

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It's not my favorite because I don't have one, but I love it.

It's just so epic you can feel it, like it's telling a story without any words. It's heavy, deep, complicated, beautiful and for me their most epic song. B)

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This is just a repost of something I wrote on ALS a good while ago on the old forums. I didn't say anything about Jonesy's great bass playing, or on the lyrics, both of which certainly merit discussion, but anyway, here goes.

That whole album, Presence was done very quickly, in three weeks, that is - the whole thing - and, under quite unusual circumstances. Robert Plant was in a wheelchair, injured as he was after a bad car accident (with his family). It was still not entirely clear how he would heal. At one point, Robert was really into it - and he fell off that chair. He later said that he’d never seen Jimmy move so quickly. That incident to me really captures an important aspect of the album as a whole, and of Achilles Last Stand in particular. The words that come to my mind when describing the music on that album are anxiety or unease; it’s extremely frantic, and sounds a bit raw. And yet, in fact, it’s very accomplished.

ALS is the first track on Presence, of course, and it starts out with two big, mysteriously sounding chords on electric guitar, picked note for note, in an ascending - descending, ascending - descending pattern, and gradually building in volume; once it’s become loud, Jimmy changes the later notes on the ascending part, and then partially strums that chord at the higher end; the chord fades shortly, and then all the instruments suddenly come in, with the rhythm section building a furious tempo, and Jimmy playing in a melancholic E minor. Robert then comes on, in a pattern of almost talking, then singing out some five higher notes...

The mood is set, mysterious, tense, frantic; and it builds from there, with several sections, yet strongly cohesive. Bonzo’s drums are very instrumental in creating that atmosphere, the fills on the drums are absolutely amazing, indeed, one of them (early in the song) truly does sound “almost humanly impossible”, as Dave Grohl put it recently.

But the song is not simply played live. There are like a dozen dubbed guitar parts, forming an orchestrated, layered, moving sculpture of sound - if you’ll pardon my using such a metaphor: but Jimmy really is something of a musical painter. His solo is on the song is bluesy, melancholical, with short silences separating flurries of notes building strange patterns - some of them almost like a man stuttering. It’s one of his absolute best (and he thinks so himself).

Robert’s vocal performance is absolutely fantastic. In one of the sections of the song, the guitar almost disappears behind the rhythm section and he starts to sing a repeated pattern of ascending notes, and then a repeated pattern of descending ones; the ascending part maybe slightly reminiscent of the wail of Immigrant Song, but this whole idea mirrors or suggests the opening guitar chords - which do get repeated at the end, and bring the track full circle, closing it off. This time of course the volume fades out.

It’s an extraordinary creation. It’s Rock & Roll at it’s most fierce, but has the quality of musical composition, of fine art, of a self-contained universe; sad, but you wish it’d never stop.

ALS is in my top 5 best. Its my #1 for shear brilliance factor in layering the "guitar army". And Bonzo is insane yet controlled - in typical fashion.

What I've always liked is listening to the sections in Dazed And Confused live (the San Francisco bit) that formed the basis of ALS, and then listening to how the song finally sounded. That really highlights how far Page went with just a basic idea. There was one version of DC (maybe Naussau 1975) where he plays through the ALS opening chord sequence just before starting the San Francisco/Woodstock bit. Has anyone else noticed this?

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One of my absolute favorite Zeppelin songs, hey, make that songs of all time! I also love their performance at Knebworth 1979. I think it is just brilliant. It is time for me to crank up "Presence" again since I haven't listened to the CD in a while.

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I saw them on this tour but at a different date and venue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9K-Zv_pTfk. I went to this one.

Does anyone know why ALS was dropped from the setlist after the Atlanta show in 95 ?? It was a good version , Robert & Jimmy looked into it, and crowd reaction was outstanding ! Did it hit too close to home or stir up emotions too much ?? I've been curious for a while about this.

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Okay, i've gotten some real good input from many people. Very imformative in fact.

But, and there's always a but , :D i'm still resolute in my original statement. The song is, imo, not their best nor is it epic. If it's so much so, why do you never hear it played on the radio, or see it mentioned much in articles about the group? I live in the midwest US, pretty much the gut of LZ country and don't think i've heard ALS played on any station for as long as I can remember. And they play a big variety of songs from their catalog. To compare, I think Echoes by Pink Floyd is their finest work, but you rarely hear it played or mentioned. The people who program this stuff must know something about what they're doing, right? Maybe not and who cares anyway. Thanks for all the replies.

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Okay, i've gotten some real good input from many people. Very imformative in fact.

But, and there's always a but , :D i'm still resolute in my original statement. The song is, imo, not their best nor is it epic. If it's so much so, why do you never hear it played on the radio, or see it mentioned much in articles about the group? I live in the midwest US, pretty much the gut of LZ country and don't think i've heard ALS played on any station for as long as I can remember. And they play a big variety of songs from their catalog. To compare, I think Echoes by Pink Floyd is their finest work, but you rarely hear it played or mentioned. The people who program this stuff must know something about what they're doing, right? Maybe not and who cares anyway. Thanks for all the replies.

Because Presence (the album Achilles is on) is the most overshadowed album in the history of music. When Zeppelin released it, interest in older rock bands was at an all-time low. Punk was hot, Zeppelin were not. And Presence still doesn't get the praise it deserves. It is their most consistent and progressive album.

And, they only released one single from the album. Achilles wasn't on it, probably to preserve the awesome experience of listening to the whole album.

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I said it before but it is my opinion Page's best guitar solo onthis track ( I know alot of people feel SIBLY is his best, but thats in a blues format which has been done a million times, although not as good as Page on it), its so musical, full of feel, a little different and oozes Page's class when constructing a solo where every note means something . It blows me apart everytime, the same as EVH Beat it solo (for different reasons) but they make me stop and listen in awe at them.

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When Zeppelin released it.. Punk was hot, Zeppelin were not.

From what I remember, Frampton Comes Alive was hot..

From Wikipedia:

"The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 the week ending April 10, 1976 and was in the top spot for a total of 10 weeks. It was the best-selling album of 1976, selling over 6 million copies in the U.S. and became the best-selling live album of all time. Frampton Comes Alive! was voted "Album of the year" in the 1976 Rolling Stone readers poll."

Just the other day, for the first time in years, I heard "Do You Feel Like We Do" in the car. Got home and listened to it in the driveway to hear the whole thing. Certainly not Zeppelin, but what a fun song. :D

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From what I remember, Frampton Comes Alive was hot..

Right. Punk was still underground for the most part in 76. Would be another year before it started reaching mainstream rock fans.

Frampton is a great guitarist. People forget that and that he was in Humble Pie as well. The guy can shred. It was his manager, Dee Anthony, that turned him into a pop idol.

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