If you’re looking for slick production, ballads, and the other stuff that made Hysteria and Adrenalize “distinctive” and “groundbreaking”, you won’t find them here. Does it matter? No.
It won’t matter when you feel compelled to headbang to the opening riffs of “Rock Brigade” and “Wasted”. It won’t matter when the riffs on “It Could Be You” or “Answer to the Master” kick in. It don’t matter, it don’t matter, it don’t matter to me… sorry.
There might be one weak song on here (When The Walls Came Tumbling Down), but even that would have been “Hysteria”’s best song, had it been done on that album. Joe Elliot’s singing isn’t all that great, and his smooth voice doesn’t seem to match to the raw, un-produced band. This is a minor complaint, though. Pete Willis and Steve Clark definitely steal the show with all those notes (Rock Brigade’s riff is 21 notes, and all 21 stick in your head, proving that a riff doesn’t need to be simple to be catchy. But hey, try telling that to Gene Simmons).
Rock Brigade 10/10 This euphoric, fist-pumping riff kicks the album off in style, instantly making itself the best song. Def Leppard is in command, rocking harder than they ever would again… except for a little thing called High’N'Dry.
Hello America 8/10 Catchy at first, but it doesn’t have the substance of the other songs on the album. Heck, there’s even a synthesizer part on the chorus.
Sorrow is a Woman 8.5/10. The album’s only ballad. The acoustic verses suck, of course, but when the chorus hits, it hits hard. Not only does it hit hard, it also sounds very melancholy at the same time, fitting the song title.
It Could Be You 9/10 Awesome descending scale or whatever you call it. Who else but On Through the Night-era Def Leppard would have the gall to write such a simple riff – with so many notes? The echoing choruses aren’t all that great, but everything else makes up for it.
Satellite 8/10. I don’t really know what to make of or how to describe this song. It’s not really all that good, if you think about it, but the song is written so that you don’t think about it, you’re too busy listening.
When the Walls Came Tumbling Down 7.5/10 Sound effects, no riff, and a standard galloping drumbeat do not really make a song good. You can’t blame Def Leppard for trying, though. And yes, that chorus is good, why don’t they repeat it more?
Wasted 10/10 Not only is that riff downright awesome, this song is their version of Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy”, a song that their old fans still love and revere, even when the artist has moved on to worse albums and better media coverage.
Rocks Off 8.5/10 It’s a cool song (sounds like it was supposed to be the b-side to Wasted), but for some reason it doesn’t stick in my head like some of the other songs do.
It Don’t Matter 9.5/10 Reminds me a lot of AC/DC. I can definitely imagine Bon Scott singing the verse, but not the chorus. That and the opening riff (15 notes) separate it from that “other” band from Australia.
Answer to the Master 8.5/10 Hey! It’s “It Could Be You” played backwards! The verses are good, though, a little better than “It Could Be You”.
Overture 8/10. They set out to write an epic here. It might have worked, except there was no one to stop them from putting in generic guitar parts, making it 8 minutes of extremely high-quality filler.
High’N'Dry is better, one of the all-time best albums, but this is extremely good, too. It’s too bad that they had to move with the trends instead of staking out their own sound. Sure they did eventually do that, but in that case, “their own sound” turned out to be cheesy bubblegum rock. Highly recommended!