There have been several Led Zeppelin tribute albums, most notably the alternative rock-oriented Encomium, but until the Dwell label's Dead Zeppelin: A Metal Tribute to Led Zeppelin, there had never been one devoted exclusively to heavy metal bands. The idea makes sense, since Zep had such a huge influence on heavy metal. The artist roster, unfortunately, is typical Dwell: obscure groups who have never recorded a full-length album (rare is the Dwell tribute-album artist who does go on to do so). But the real problem is predictability. Where the interpretations on Encomium often serve to highlight the strength and versatility of Led Zep's songwriting, placing the songs in unexpected yet effective new settings, the versions on Dead Zeppelin all too often obscure the strength of the material, turning it into competent but generic thrash or death metal. Many of the bands also lack the understanding of subtlety and dynamics that made Zeppelin records so sophisticated -- and while they certainly aren't obligated to re-create the original arrangements, they don't really substitute anything all that memorable. If you simply want to hear ultra-heavy takes on Led Zeppelin tunes, you'll probably enjoy Dead Zeppelin, but if you're looking for something more revelatory, you'll have to wait a little longer.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey