Upon the release of MOTHERSHIP in 2007, almost three decades after their demise, Led Zeppelin arguably stood as the only other band in rock history to merit space with the Beatles in the greatest-of-all-time debate. While the latter practically invented the how-to guide for composing and recording modern pop, Zeppelin taught the machinery how to rock with a seismic bravado that decades latter still rattles foundations. In the post-Zeppelin era, rock became a synonym for a heaviness intended to both inspire awe and knock you flat with its weight.
The first six Led Zeppelin records contain nary a less-than-stellar track and define perfection as a canon; yet adequately compiling bits and pieces of this remarkable run has always eluded the band. Though this collection is no substitute for the first six records, MOTHERSHIP succeeds as a greatest hits retrospective on two levels: one, as an introduction for neophytes who want all the band's signature songs, and two, as a sound upgrade for completists. (In fact, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones themselves are all given production credit on these blistering remasters.) While many extraordinary gems--"Going to California," "Battle Of Evermore," and "Your Time Is Gonna Come," among them--are left out, no reasonable Zep head can argue with the cuts that are included, from "Communication Breakdown" and "Black Dog" to "Dancing Days," "Kashmir," and "Achilles' Last Stand." In the end, MOTHERSHIP works as a stirring lecture in Zeppelin 101.
(Note: The deluxe edition includes a live DVD of collected performances that stands with HOW THE WEST WAS WON as proof that the quartet could destroy a stage just as handily as they could a reel of tape.)
Uncut (p.112) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[MOTHERSHIP] gives us an insight into how devastating this arcane, courageous, frontierless, much-loved, much-feared music from so many worlds ago can still sound."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.46) - "[T]his covers all the rock bases....It's a monument to their power and crunch, riff follows solo follows hammering drums with visceral motion."
Q (Magazine) (p.129) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[E]verything here does the job. For all the cold ambitions, brutal arrogance and sheer power on display, there's also an exuberance and malevolent charm."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.121) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]estament to the fact that Zep's music remains bold, majestic and utterly untouchable, regardless of format."