Over the past year or so the Led Zeppelin catalogue has been slowly re-released, remastered and carefully added to for the listener’s pleasure. In most cases this means disc one is the original album all carefully tidied up, accompanied by a second disc of alternative masters, demos, and live recordings.
Now often one is a little cautious about such efforts from other artists. They can frequently be gimmicky and rather unnecessary. In the right hand however, reissues provide the perfect opportunity to enhance the listening experience whilst giving an intimate insight into the mind of the artist and creative process. As these Led Zeppelin reissues have been polished by Jimmy Page, it’s clear that we’re in good hands.
It’s always a little odd to review an album first released over 30 years ago, especially one which is a masterpiece of the era. Originally released in 1979, the final album recorded before the death of drummer John Bonham, In Through The Out Door is arguably one of the bands finest albums, nearly perfect in its execution. The remasters present the tracks in crisp, pristine new life. Naturally today some parts sound a little dated – the heavy keyboards or synthised strings, but this doesn’t stop it from being one of the bands best efforts of their career. Whether it’s the epic ‘Carouselambra’ or the staple groove of ‘Fool in the Rain’, it’s an album which has certainly stood the test of time.
When it comes to the ‘bonus’ material, this album falls perhaps a little short. Unless you are a diehard fan and musical production nerd, a lot of these mix are going to sound relatively similar. Though played back to back the differences are noticeable, but to the casual listener this is probably going to be less interesting than some of the live recordings included on other reissues. This being said there some beautiful gems to be uncovered in the rough mixes. Notably ‘All My Love’, which is far less sharp, a woozy affair, than the version you may have heard before, and ‘In The Evening’ is even more lucid and drifting than the final cut.
Reissues of classic albums are always bound to be received well by the public. Not only is there a ready audience willing to buy and listen to any new material, but with such massive rock bands there are many new listeners waiting in the wings to uncover these classics. Sadly, the new tracks found on this particular reissue are lacking, but it is still wonderful to hear the original in all its glory.