Jack Russell’s Great White – Great Zeppelin II: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin (Album Review)

Jack Russell’s Great White Gets the LED OUT once again with their latest studio album Great Zeppelin II: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. Released by Deadline Music on August 12, 2021, it is the much-awaited sequel to 1998 live album Great Zeppelin: A tribute to Led Zeppelin.

You certainly won’t find the Great White lurking around any reclusive coastal waters because Jack Russell (lead vocals) takes on Led Zeppelin with the vengeance of a shark’s feeding frenzy. Together, Jack and his nautical ensemble, Robby Lochner (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Michael Olivieri (guitar), Dan McNay (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Dicki Fliszar (drums, backing vocals) don the star studded dorsal fin of a Led Zeppelin tribute band and does not disappoint.

It’s no wonder that the band has withstood the frigid gusty gales of controversy that has pummeled it from all sides and yet at the end of the day comes through it none the worse for wear. Maneuvering its torpedo shaped form, Jack Russell’s Great White bursts through the water’s surface with powerful tail strokes and performs an aerial twirl with an explosive 14 cover tracks. 

The entire album resonates with the vibes of classic Led Zeppelin. Russell slid his feet into some mighty big shoes with ease as he channeled his inner Robert Plant. He mirrored the passion and intensity of the lead singer of Led Zeppelin and did him justice. Russell belts out beloved Zeppelin tunes with the Great White difference.

It all starts with “Good Times, Bad Times” featuring a signature kick ass bass drum solo and guitar wail that any Led Zeppelin fan can identify by the third note. It is a feisty piece where one would find it difficult to curb the desire to headbang while listening to this song. Moving on, it most certainly is a tall order to take on the iconic “Stairway to Heaven” but Russel and company grab it by the horns and nail it as he sings with a reverential tone. There is an underlying slow and soft drumbeat with stellar guitar riffs that encompasses the melancholy mood of the piece. The sadness creeps up and engulfs you as you contemplate the meaning of the song and shed tears at the inanity of her action. 

Moving forward, “In the Light” begins with its aural ‘light show’ of instrumentals. Russell drawls his words out in a solo that is slow paced and more subdued than the original. Yet the essence remains the same and one can clearly make out those strong Russell pipes amid the euphony of sound. The signature wail is quite impressive and then there is that split second change in tempo paired with the melody that is remarkably similar to an anthem. ‘Everybody needs the light’ is belted out with such pathos that it makes one’s heart melt and drop to the floor in a puddle. The ending guitar jam just about reverberates inside from head to toe. The message conveyed in lyrical form is as relevant today as it was back then despite the passage of time. 

Then there is their take on “Kashmir” which comes alive and pulsates with a myriad of colors causing the mind to expand with an inexplicable urgency. One senses that something big is about to happen and the beat reminds one of an approaching shark mouth wide open and ready to feed. The interplay of vocals and instruments create a psychedelic trance. This enchanting tune leaves many ensnared in a mesmerized state after a feeding frenzy.

With so much chaos in the world today listening to Jack Russell’s Great White takes the form of a therapeutic intervention for the mind. A breath of fresh air and a trip back to a time when things made sense and life was simpler. One can clearly see that this album is a work of passion. Fans of Jack Russell’s Great White and Led Zeppelin fans will enjoy it all the same and that is why Cryptic rock gives Great Zeppelin II: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin 4 out of 5 stars.

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