Led Zeppelin – In Through the Out Door (remastered) (Atlantic) review
Their last studio album is a transitional one, yet still full of greatness
The polar opposite of Presence, In Through the Out Door is dominated by John Paul Jones’ exploration into synthesizers, and contains several of Zeppelin’s catchiest songs. It has just been reissued as part of the band’s remaster series, including an entire disc of unreleased bonus tracks.
Even though it’s became a staple at rock radio, ”Fool in the Rain” is still an incredible track – featuring one of the greatest, most unique rhythm patterns ever put down on a rock record. “All My Love” is the band at its most vulnerable; never had they recorded such an unpretentious ballad.
“In the Evening” opens the record in snarling form, yet the presence of the keyboards here takes away from some of the song’s potency. Several tracks conjure up the past – “Southbound Saurez” is a pounding, blues rocker, while on “Hot Dog” the band spoofs classic country, complete with honky tonk piano. “Carouselambra” is the album’s only misstep – they come off sounding more like Emerson, Lake & Palmer here, with too much cheesy synths. Things get redeemed with the moody closer, “I’m Gonna Crawl,” featuring some very tasty Page licks.
Of the bonus material, nothing really shines – “In the Evening” features an alternate vocal, and is lacking the effects of the final mix, while both “Fool in the Rain” and “All My Love” are mixed in mono (?). The real bonus cuts from this record appear on Coda (see separate review).
In Through the Out Door found the band grappling with the onset of both Punk and New Wave – yet they handled things pretty well. John Bonham’s death would signal the band’s demise. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to see where they would have gone from here. —Tony Peters