Def Leppard’s Hysteria was their first album after the tragic car accident which left their drummer Rick Allen with one arm. Before this unfortunate incident, the band was riding high on the success of their first #1 album Pyromania which vaulted them to superstar status and made them the unquestioned kings of hard rock. But Def Leppard would not be denied. Using a custom made electronic kit, Rick Allen would continue to not only drum for the band but also become their inspiration. With producer Mutt Lange manning the boards, the band would alter their sound more towards a pop direction while still maintaining their metallic crunch. Lead singer Joe Elliott also toned down his vocals and began singing in a more intelligible and softer tone than his previous raspy voice ala Brian Johnson from AC/DC. As a result, the band did the near impossible. They released an album that would be even more successful than Pyromania spawning 6 huge hit singles. Also, worth noting is that this album helped revolutionize the music industry with both its glossy production and its album length at 63 minutes at a time when most albums were still around 45 minutes long. These aspects would lead to longer and more polished albums in general for most popular music.
The songs presented here are nearly all top notch and featured catchy hooks that were instantly recognizable and stayed in your head for years upon hearing them. The tracks “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and the ballads “Love Bites” and “Hysteria” are as good as it gets in pop-metal and still sound fresh. These tracks along with “Armageddon It”, “Animal”, and “Rockit” were all top 20 hits and all feature memorable riffs and catchy choruses. What really makes the album work though is that the remaining tracks are just as strong as the hit singles. Songs like “Don’t Shoot Shotgun”, the heavy rock of “Run Riot”, and the catchy “Excitable” are all very strong tracks. In fact, the mid-tempo rock ballad “Love And Affection” could have given them yet another huge single if they chose to release it. “Gods Of War” is also a great track featuring several memorable riffs and never gets repetitive or boring despite its 6 1/2 minute length. The opening track “Women” is also very good although it’s carried more by its stellar production than its content. All told, this is one of the best pop-metal albums ever released and along with Pyromania is their best work. Highly recommended.