Led Zeppelin: Ranking Their Studio Albums From Worst To Best

8. Presence (1976)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSlpeifq9bA Presence is an album that divides Led Zeppelin fans in that it is a direct retreat from the epic, experimental nature of albums such as Led Zeppelin IV, Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti. Instead of souring soundscapes and a multitude of instruments, Presence gets back to the vocals/guitar/bass/drums combo that Zeppelin began with. Whether you like this or not will depend on if you found the last couple of Zeppelin albums self-indulgent and full of moments that were ripe for Spinal Tap parody, or whether you thought of them as four great musicians spreading their wings. As you can see by where I ranked this album, I tend towards the latter category.
Having said all that, this is not to say Presence is a bad album. There is a real defiance to most of the music, possibly due to a lot of the difficult circumstances it was recorded under - with Robert Plant in a wheelchair and Jimmy Page having to produce the whole thing in about 18 days - an amazing turnaround. 'Achilles Last Stand' is a real gem and nothing of the album really reeks. It's just that it could be said to lack some of the ambition of the other albums.
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