Zep II – With Trees This Ugly, What Grade Should You Give the Forest?


[This commentary was written in around 2014 when this pressing came out.]

We herein offer some rather interesting observations by a well known writer about the new Heavy Vinyl Led Zeppelin II that’s just come out. They are in no particular order and clearly taken out of context — we’re not even providing the reference to the specific song under discussion. Some you can guess; as for the rest, what difference, at this point, does it make?

Allow us to present: The Trees

the spatial presentation seemed meek

individual cymbal hits in that psychedelic break lacked sparkle

instead of an interruption eruption the changeover was anything but abrupt

overall musical intent wasn’t being fully communicated

spatially mashed together and lacking in detail delineation

You can barely make out the flanging effects on Plant’s voice

should send shivers but just doesn’t

The bass line was homogenized and the attack softened

Textures sounded bland

Microdynamic gestures—very familiar ones—seemed to have been lost

The album’s grit and edge seemed worn down

Page’s guitars… are homogenized

small dynamic differences that communicate intent blend into one level, quelling musical excitement


These are not my words, but I certainly recognize the feeling that must have prompted their writing. It’s the same feeling I have after playing most of the Heavy Vinyl records I’ve auditioned over the past few years, regardless of make or model.

We expressed it this way, in words that have appeared on the site a number of times:

As is the case with practically every record pressed on Heavy Vinyl over the last twenty years, there is a suffocating loss of ambience throughout, a glaring, unpleasant sterility to the sound. Modern remastered records just do not BREATHE like the real thing. Good EQ or Bad EQ, they all suffer to one degree or another from a bad case of audio enervation. Where is the life of the music? You can turn up the volume on these remastered LPs all you want, they simply refuse to come to life. They’re missing too much of the space, the dynamic and rhythmic energy, the immediacy and the transparency that we’ve discovered on the best vintage pressings.

It seems the writer of the phrases we quoted above feels the same way, or at least he seems to in this case.

Were I to describe the pressing in the sort of terms our writer has, surely I would have to evaluate the overall quality of the sound by giving the record a failing grade of F.  The pressing would then be placed in our Hall of Shame, joining the other 100+ bad Heavy Vinyl LPs we’ve taken the time to review for the purposes of warning our readers (and irritating those who defend them).

Surprisingly — to us anyway — this well-known writer gave the pressing in question a grade of approximately seven point two on a scale of one to ten.

Two I could see. I could go for two. Three if you consider just how bad most copies of Zep II are (including the execrable Classic Records version). But more than Seven?  Hard to make much sense of that number.

Well, it’s neither here nor there to us, we don’t sell that crap, or endorse it, or have anything nice to say concerning those who do sell and endorse it.

To us it’s a scam and a ridiculous ripoff. But then again people say that about our records, don’t they?

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