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High 'N' Dry

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(128 Reviews)

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  • I actually ‘rediscovered’ this album; Def Leppard’s Pyromania was the first cassette I ever bought, shortly after its release (and shortly after my 13th birthday), and while I loved it, my tastes soon turned to things heavier. Years later, a friend was playing his beat-up cassette copy of High’n'Dry and I was absolutely floored. This is, from start to finish, a brilliant album, and like their debut On Through the Night, shows a very young and unpretentious band wanting to do nothing more than emulate and build on what bands like UFO, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC had done before them. That said, I think the AC/DC comparisons are a bit overblown; obviously, they were an influence and they did share a producer, but AC/DC, as much as I love them, could never match Def Leppard’s subtlety or sense of melody. Anyway, the production on this album is very full and clean, yet manages to retain the young band’s rawness and energy – note the guitar feedback during the intro to ‘Let It Go’, and the shouted 3-count between the bridge and last chorus of ‘Another Hit and Run’. High’n'Dry is unique in that it was written and recorded before the 80’s hard rock/pop-metal formula had been firmly established, and in fact helped define it. As such, while this album contains all the recognizable elements that came to define the genre, it also covers a lot more ground musically than what was to follow in its footsteps. Not being a fan of Def Leppard’s post-Pyromania releases, I don’t know that I can really recommend it to fans of their later work, but to any fans of late-70’s/early-80’s hard rock who somehow have managed to not yet hear this in the 26 years since its release, do yourself a favor and get this now!

    Posted on January 16, 2010