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  • Pyromania(1983). Def Leppard’s third studio album, and the first one with Phil Collen on guitar. DL has always been one of my favorite pop/metal bands to arrive on the 80’s music scene. They started out in 1980’s On Through The Night as a purely metal NWOBHM act (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal to the uneducated) and as they gained fame and fortune, DL gradually grew into more of a pop rock act. Pyromania sees DL at the height of their pop/metal powers just before the pop sound would take over on the albums that followed. To give this album more of an “edge” over the current rock competition, DL brings back producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange (that’s right, High And Dry was his first time producing for DL, NOT PYROMANIA), and sends the band into the studio working hard for about a year. Pyromania was the direct result and in more ways than none, IT PAID OFF BIG TIME. Let’s take a look: 1) Rock Rock- DL kicks off the album with this amazing head banger. As another reviewer put it, it draws great similarities to High And Dry’s “Let It Rock”. The intro always sends chills down my spine, and that’s a good thing. 9/10 2) Photograph- One of the four big singles off here. This song became famous for a reason, and that reason is because IT ROCKS! Great guitar work and vocals. One of the songs that got me to be a huge DL fan. 10/10 3) Stagefright- A very catchy, fun, and ambient fast rocker. It’s truly an underrated track, as I believe it would have made for a great single. Sadly, this is the last time drummer Rick Allen would play this fast before losing his arm a couple of years down the road. 9/10 4) Too Late For Love- A GREAT GLOOMY BALLAD, unlike many of the sappy ballads DL would be writing from Hysteria(1987) on. Joe Elliot’s vocals really stand out here. With as much radio play as this song has seen, WHY DIDN’T THIS TRACK FIND ITS PLACE ON VAULT(1995)? 10/10 5) Die Hard The Hunter- BY FAR MY FAVORITE TRACK OFF OF PYROMANIA, and one of my four all time favorite DL songs (“Gods Of War”, “White Lightning”, and “Ring Of Fire” being the other 3). It starts out with synthesized war sounds and changes into a steady head banger with a killer chorus and guitar solo. VASTLY UNDERRATED AND EXCELLENT. 10/10 6) Foolin’- Another famous gloomy ballad like track 4. Once again, Joe’s vocals really soar on this one, making it a winner. 9/10 7) Rock Of Ages- Ahh the classic rock ‘n roll anthem, and one of the catchiest songs DL has ever made, pop years included. It hints at the next few albums down the road. Some people may hate ROA, but it still stands strong alone, even on the poorly-put-together greatest hits cd Vault. 9/10 8) Comin’ Under Fire- I didn’t pay much attention to this gloomy ballad at first, but it certainly grew better with each listen, and now I consider it to be a DL DEFINING MASTERPIECE. Very melodic and probably the best of the gloomy ballads. TRULY UNDERRATED FOR WHAT IT IS. 10/10 9) Action! Not Words- A mid-paced rocker with a cool guitar solo. Most likely, this is Pyromania’s weakest song because it does nothing to stand up to the rest of the tracks. 8/1010) Billy’s Got A Gun- A great melodic slow-paced rocker, with excellent vocals and synths strewn about throughout the track. For some strange reason, as soon as the song ends an odd synthesizer drum beat pattern emerges and plays for about two minutes. Not sure why this was left on. 9/10 If I haven’t stated it enough throughout this review, let me say it again: PYROMANIA IS A POP/METAL MASTERPIECE! Five stars for excellent songwriting and musicianship. If you see it in the stores, don’t hesitate to pick it up. Some people may decide that they aren’t huge DL fans, so they may settle for Vault. BIG MISTAKE. Like I stated above, Vault is a very poorly put together greatest hits cd. AVOID VAULT AT ALL COSTS! Instead, just buy Pyromania and Hysteria and then decide if you like DL or not. PYROMANIA IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO ANYONE WHO LIKES POP/METAL.

    Posted on January 3, 2010