20 July 2013
Robert Plant - Fate of Nations
Picture it - North East England, 1993. A young boy is starting to discover music in his own clumsy way, he has found the Pixies a bit meh (an opinion which would change), Nirvana has just rocked his world and he still has a soft spot for Elton John songs. However, out from the proverbial left field comes the album Fate of Nations by Mr Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame. Yep, I am talking about myself - this album was my first introduction to Robert Plant, I can hand on heart confirm that apart from "Whole Lotta Love", I cannot remember listening/hearing any Led Zeppelin or Robert Plant solo work growing up. Seems unlikely, but it is true. This album is Robert Plant's sixth solo outing which he did not follow up till 2002 with Dreamland.
For those of your familiar with his previous work, this album is not going to hold many surprises. His voice was on fine form on this album (as it always seems to be), especially on the wonderful singles "I Believe" and "29 Palms". There are also a few nice touches with the other tracks - an almost gospel/blues feel on "Promised Land" also has a fantastic rock rhythm running through it as well. "The Greatest Gift" whilst not being the most original of song is still a lovely moment, and "Calling To You" has a certain Kashmir return on it with the Arabic overtones. The thing I have with this album is it is a little safe in some ways. When this was released, Robert Plant was 45, so this is hardly a mid-life crisis release. If anything, it is almost going back to what he knew, but with players who were in no way shape or form up to the job of being the next Jimmy Page.
The thing is though; Robert Plant through quite a lot of his solo career has made a point of trying to avoid being Led Zeppelin. He can never get away from it in some ways, what with being the voice of Led Zeppelin, but this album is so in debited to his previous group that it sort of takes part of the shine away from it. Apart from maybe "I Believe" and "Calling To You", the rest of the album is a little throw away. But that is also not painting the whole picture. If this was released by some other artist, it would be held in high regard, because it is Robert Plant it is looked at in another light due to his form works with said named band. This is unfair, but part of the course. I still enjoy this record, but I would find it hard to recommend it to people. There is better works by Mr Plant out there, but as a starting place you could do a lot worse.
6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit Mr Plant's website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
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