While cover albums can often be a chance to offer a unique spin on an existing song and breathe some new life into it, Train have taken a different approach. Does Led Zeppelin II was taken as an opportunity to redo an album completely—as the title implies, they chose Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II—with Train tackling each track in order and in the exact same fashion for almost no reason at all; while it was performed live and the money made from the CD go towards charity, it still came from out of nowhere. In the long run, it stands out as rather unnecessary to boot.
There’s no messing around or experimenting to be seen here; Does Led Zeppelin II is as faithful as cover albums come. Each instrument is performed in exactly the same way, and the vocals are done in a manner that mimics Robert Plant as close as Train’s Pat Monahan can manage. From the trippy instrumental bridge in the intro track Whole Lotta Love to the classic rock and roll of Bring It On Home and everything in between, the entire album can be experienced through a different set of pipes, despite its overt familiarity.
But overall, this mostly reinforces how unnecessary the album feels. With the biggest advantage it has being that it has more of a modern polish to it compared to the 1969 original—which may not even be an advantage in the eyes of Led Zeppelin purists—the album just feels forced and awkward. The vocals never suit the songs quite as much as they should, especially in the case of the backing vocals, and the instrumentals feature no merit that makes them more interesting or fresh in comparison.
As an homage to one of their inspirations and a charity piece in general, Does Led Zeppelin II begins to make a small amount of sense. Overall, though, it’s an unnecessary release that screams of being a missed opportunity to do your own thing with some rock classics and make something fresh and interesting. If there are any mega fans of both Train and Led Zeppelin, it may be interesting to hear how the album turns out for then; the familiarity in style will irk these listeners less and the performance might make sense. For everyone else, however, Does Led Zeppelin II is an overall waste of time.