The Led Zep legend returns to rock ’n’ roll, but infuses it with Afrobeat and trance to create a sound that is simultaneously rootsy and new.

Back in 2007, Robert Plant was quick to shut down any hope of a proper Led Zeppelin reunion when rumors ran rampant that he’d be joining Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Jason Bonham (son to the late, great drummer John Bonham) on the road. At the time, Plant was immersed in all things Raising Sand—his Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss and T Bone Burnett. Subsequently, everyone thought Plant was done with rock ’n’ roll. As he turned up in photographs wearing a Buffalo Springfield t-shirt, it seemed like Americana folk was his new chosen path.

Sometimes it feels incredibly good to be wrong. With his new project, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, the former Zep frontman has returned to rock. He’s gone on record to describe the 2014 album, lullaby and … the Ceaseless Roar, as “powerful, gritty, African, Trance meets Zep.”

While there are residual ashes of Physical Graffiti evident in the first leaked song, “Rainbow,” it’s immediately apparent that Plant has no interest in rehashing his bellbottomed past. In the seven-piece ensemble he’s accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Justin Adams, who takes on percussion, djembe, bendir, and guitar duties. Liam Tyson also contributes guitar—dig the saturated-tube drones that give this song a buzzing, human pulse. The quiet hammer-on leads here shadow Plant’s inimitable voice, never upstaging his soft, soulful inflections—even when the overdrive kicks in. robertplant.com

An accessibly priced gateway to a high-gain playground.

Killer sounds in a reasonably priced package. Huge gain range.

Begs for more footswitching options.

$899

EVH 5150 Iconic Series 40W 1x12 Combo
evhgear.com

5
4.5
4.5
5

The late Eddie Van Halen spent much of his early career in search of what’s now known as the “brown sound.” Years after cracking the code, he helped bottle various versions of the recipe into the 5150 line of amps. Various iterations of these amps are now studio and stage staples, and are often used in heavy genres that transcend Van Halen’s vision.

Read MoreShow less

See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

Fender expands the Acoustasonic series with the American Acoustasonic All-Mahogany models.

Read MoreShow less
x