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Led Zeppelin - 1979 In Through The Out Door



ARTIST: Led Zeppelin
ALBUM: In Through The Outdoor
LABEL: Swansong
SERIAL: SS 16002
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1986, Atlantic, 16002-2, plus many other reissues since.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Robert Plant - vocals * Jimmy Page - guitars * John Paul Jones - bass * John Bonham - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 In The Evening * 02 South Bound Suarez * 03 Fool In The Rain * 04 Hot Dog * 05 Carouselambra * 06 All My Love * 07 I'm Gonna Crawl

WEBLINKS: www.ledzeppelin.com


Background
As undoubtedly the biggest hard rock act of the 70's, it cannot be denied that 'In Through The Out Door' was the worst album of Zeppelin's career and showed the general disarray the band was in during the period. Three years since the average 'Presence' album the band had dissolved into a mountain of personal woe, Plant still reeling from the death of his son, Page a pencil thin junkie and Bonham an alcoholic mess, looking ten years older than he really was. This paved the way for Jones to assume control of the band, which led to a very weak record which displayed none of the heaviness of old. The duo of Page and Plant combined for only one track, the shambolic 'Hot Dog' and the use of keyboards was rampant, dulling the sound of one of the heaviest rock acts of all time.


The Songs
At only seven tracks this is sparse on quality, despite some lengthy compositions. 'In The Evening' is a positive start, a dark piece of rock with Page's guitar tuned way down. It's not overwhelmingly heavy, but very atmospheric and one of only two key tracks on the album. The other is the ten minute epic 'Carouselambra', one of the most experimental tracks the band ever attempted, with the use of synthesizers taken to every degree possible. Tempo's shift constantly, Bonham displaying some thunderous drumming along with Page's riffs demonstrating what Zep were all about. Some may disagree but this is a classic composition and is let down by the weakness of the rest of the material. 'All My Love' was a hit, but is a lukewarm AOR ballad with no power and Page might as well not be there due to the heavy keyboard use again, which culminates in a fairly crude synth solo. Immediately following is the drawn out blues of 'I'm Gonna Crawl', another slow and laboured song which surely left many shaking their heads, with Page again barely noticable. The rest of the material is as poor, the samba like pop of 'South Bound Saurez' with it's heavy piano use and jangly rhythms a real letdown. 'Fool In The Rain' toys with the same style, with Page's solo strangely distorted, another forgettable cut. The less said about 'Hot Dog' the better. A country hoe down clearly supposed to be tongue in cheek, this is pure filler and hardly indicative of the previous strength of the Page-Plant writing duo. Yes, Zeppelin had a knack for experimenting with various styles on previous albums, but because this album lacked any heaviness, this is easily dismissed.


In Summary
The one issue that continues to perplex me about this album are the songs left off it that appeared on 1982's 'Coda' collection of unused outtakes. The tracks from the sessions for this album, 'Wearing and Tearing,' 'Ozone Baby' and 'Darlene' exceed almost everything here and represent Zeppelin at their hard rock best. Why they felt the need to leave them off in favor of the lighter pop tracks is beyond me. Naturally the album was a huge seller and a number one despite it being poor. The album was noted for the elaborate album cover more than the music and its a shame the band went out like this. After Bonham died, it was over and who knows if they could have reclaimed their form had he survived. Based on some of Page's work on the 'Death Wish 2' soundtrack and Plant's early solo work they might have. Otherwise, this one is for completists only.


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Led Zeppelin 
 
Comments
#1 | gdazegod on April 17 2009 10:43:35
Can't believe we only have one Zep album reviewed here! Shock
Seems the band were more interesting in putting out (at least) six variations of the album cover sleeve (inside the jacket). 'All Of My Love' was a huge song for them in NZ during 1979, but really, I agree with Alun, the majority of this album ain't that flash!
#2 | Eric on April 17 2009 12:24:57
No kidding, shame on us! This album was originally wrapped in a paper bag sleeve. Novel idea, but it didn't help hide the poor material. 'In The Evening' is the best thing here and like 'All Of My Love' is still way over played on classic rock radio. Good review Alun.
 
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