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Monday, 10 December 2007

Reunion

This no country for old men. If rock music is demonic - in the best, Bloomian sense - and it seems it is at least Dionysian - then hard rock is more so; and the true fathers of heavy metal are Led Zeppelin, satyrs of swing, starting in '69. It is hard to think of a string of albums (I-IV) that are more intensely thrilling, varied, and yet of a piece - the core quality of these albums is a darker sublime: bluntly, music that mirrors youth's reckless exploration of sexuality, excess, and realms of the spirit angels sometimes fear to tread in. "The Battle of Evermore" still sends shivers down my spine (I first heard it in Berlin). They're a great band - easily better than The Stones or The Doors, The Who or you name it. Put on a Led Zeppelin album, and you are in a sensuous hell of your own making, one that tempts you with the idea that's the best place to be. This power, and this skill, in terms of vocal and performative ability - a striking, unsurpassed pop culture charisma - is nearly uncanny at moments. It led to bad - or at least debauched - things happening. It made people money. It somehow became a subject of humor (Spinal Tap is what happens next). Now they are playing, even as I write, in London. Roll over Bo Didley, and tell Crowley the news.
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