Tag Archives: No Quarter

No Quarter by Led Zeppelin

When I listen to this amazing song from the 1970s, the clever-sounding guitar riff looks like a tribal style design with slightly chaotically interwoven lines, like the type of thing that you might see tattooed onto the shoulder-blade of the bogan in front of you in a queue in a Centrelink office. Other versions of this song by other bands do not create this visual woven effect synaesthesia; they are not special like this piece of music. Jimmy Page knew what he was doing!

After thinking about this a bit, the tricky, complex-sounding guitar riff of the original version of this song by Led Zeppelin, which evokes visual synaesthesia of the tortuous, twisted lines goes well with the theme in the lyrics of the song. The lyrics describe a difficult, dangerous journey that could well fail. In contrast the version of this song by Tool has this guitar riff played to sound powerful and with timing that sounds dramatic rather than fiddly and difficult. In my opinion the way this riff is played in the Tool version is a mindless default to the standard powerful and dramatic heavy metal sound. Unfortunately, this is at odds with the theme in the lyrics of this song, and overall, the Tool version tells an entirely different story, a story that has already been told countless times before. I wish Tool hadn’t bothered.

Original Led Zeppelin version


Tool version