Led Zeppelin clones have emerged throughout the decades. Great White, Whitesnake, Kingdom Come are just a few of the many.
However, none of them appear on this album. Well, when you look at the music these days, maybe that's good. At any rate, the artists appearing here are the big draws. (If the album was released in the mid-'80s, you can bet the aforementioned bands would be on it.)"Encomium" opens with the now defunct 4 Non Blondes faithful version of "Misty Mountain Hop" and ends with a ethereal version of "Down By the Seaside" performed by Tori Amos and Robert Plant himself.
In between, you will find the Stone Temple Pilots' "Dancing Days," Blind Melon's "Out On the Tiles" and Cracker's "Good Time Bad Times." All these bands try too hard to sound like Led Zep and don't keep enough of their own identity. In fact, the music is almost an exact replica of the originals without the heavy trademark back beat of John "Bonzo" Bonham's drumming. You could say the bands sound more interested in trying to become Led Zeppelin than paying tribute to it.
Some of the better classics include Sheryl Crow's spunky take on "D'yer Mak'er," Hootie and the Blowfish's "Hey Hey What Can I Do" and Duran Duran's mystical "Thank You." Even hardcore master Henry Rollins and the Rollins Band gets into the act with a primal thrash of "Four Sticks."
Still, Led Zeppelin's music is one that only members of Led Zep themselves can really remake. For those who wish to hear revamped versions of "No Quarter," "Since I've Been Loving You," "The Battle of Evermore" and "Gallows Pole," please go to the source and hear the Jimmy Page and Robert Plant collaboration album "No Quarter." Only they can do their songs the justice they deserve.
RATINGS: four stars (* * * * ), excellent; three stars (* * * ), good; two stars (* * ), fair; one star (* ), poor, with 1/2 representing a higher, intermediate grade.