What was that thing in the center of the dining room table? It's still a mystery, but this 1976 album fits comfortably into the canon, with Achilles' Last Stand; Nobody's Fault but Mine; For Your Life; Hots On for Nowhere , and more.
is one of Led Zeppelin's more overlooked albums, languishing in the monstrous shadow of its predecessor, Physical Graffiti
. It's more noted in Zeppelin mythology for the circumstances in which it was recorded, in double-quick time with vocalist Robert Plant's leg in plaster after a car accident. The lack of time does show--much of the album feels like generic heavy rock, bigger on volume than variety. It's worth the price of the album, however, for the ten and a half minute long "Achilles Last Stand", a crashing, galloping epic with John Bonham sounding like he's eschewed drumsticks in favour of tree trunks--and "Nobody's Fault But Mine", a Blind Willie Johnson blues standard regenerated with a 3000-watt boost by Jimmy Page. Led Zeppelin's contribution to rock was primarily physical--raising its heat and density levels, heightening its sensual force. --David Stubbs