The term “emo” was loosely thrown around in the early 2000s to describe any pop punk band with angsty lyrics. With such a mainstream semantic shift, the idea of emo can be off-putting for some. Those who are over the age of 25 or consider themselves connoisseurs of punk, however, know that emo and popular forms of punk really originates from the 1980s hardcore punk scene in Washington D.C. and is more than simple angsty pop punk.
Recording a tribute album is a tricky proposition. Taking on an iconic band like Led Zeppelin increases the risk significantly. And trying it with 39 tracks (51 if you include the digital bonus tracks)? That’s a lot of freakin’ songs. Some of Led Zeppelin’s songs are even covered more than once in this collection. This project is the brainchild of Rob Jones, who runs the Jealous Butcher record label (home of The Decemberists and M Ward among others), and has been over five years in the making.
I, like so many others, love Led Zeppelin. I have all of their albums, box sets, and various paraphernalia. Led Zeppelin soundtracked my teenage years, helped me realize how bad most ’80s hair bands were (thanks guys) and led me to discover other great musicians Led Zeppelin cited as influences. Because their musicianship and writing is so strong, any cover will instantly be compared to the iconic original. Therein lies the rub for an artist attempting a Led Zeppelin cover. Completely re-imagine a song and risk being torn apart by the purists; stay too faithful and be told that your cover pales in comparison to the original. Some artists on The Land of Ice & Snow are faithful to the original, others…not so much. One of the few times being unfaithful is a good thing.