When HotH was released in 1973, us Led Zeppelin fans had been waiting well over a WHOLE YEAR for this record. Which seems hilarious now but back then nobody went 16 months between albums. Needless to say, the anticipation was huge, as Zeppelin's previous release was an absolute blockbusting classic that is one of the best albums in rock history. However 'Houses of the Holy' falls short of that. The opening bars of 'Song Remains the Same' are high energy and very promising, then they suddenly and inexplicably slow the pace. Weird. Also what is noticeable is Jimmy Page's very thin sounding guitar tone. Quite different than the solid power tone from the first four albums. Looking at it in hindsight, I wonder if Page was using drugs at this time. To me, the songs are uneven and don't have the same continuous dynamic quality of Zeppelin I, II, and IV (III is a bit weird). Led Zeppelin started getting into reggae and funk with on this album which to me is a real turn-off, and shows they were running out of blues-based inspiration. 'No Quarter' was probably meant to be heard while stoned. Despite being disappointed in HotH I did attend a Zeppelin concert on their tour of '73 and they put on an amazing show. Oh man, that is 40 years ago!