Def Leppard is a name that many know for one or multiple different specific reasons. Possibly their excess, of alchohol, women, partying, women, women... Possibly because they made rock history with one-armed drummer Rick Allen, A.K.A. the "Thunder God". Unfortunately for us rockers/fans of Lepp, Def Leppard tends to take credit for making one great album, Hysteria, which is only half true. Almost anything pre-Slang has proven itself worthy as a great record, and Hysteria sometimes gets too much credit among those in the metal community who aren't familliar with other Lepp albums.
The lineup for the successful Pyromania tour was:
Steve Clark/Phil Collen-guitars.
The studio progress made by Def Leppard post-Pyromania was anything but successful. Disaster struck all over during the recording of their most commercially successful record, Hysteria. Drummer Rick Allen, due to drunk driving, lost his arm, temporarily crippling the band and threatening to end their career althogether, and guitarist Steve Clark's drinking problems began to really surface as a major problem. But overcoming all of the obstacles thrown at them, they managed to release a classic record, after quite a few years in the studio.
On Hysteria, you'll find some great, genuine, and original riffs and some outstanding solos. You'll also find a different sound to the drums, which had adapted with Allen's handicap. The vocals on this are some of Elliot's all time best, and nothing short of what should be expected. The overall creativity on this album is also a very high point, with such ideas as featuring drums exclusively on one of the tracks, "Rocket", featuring keyboards instead of a bassline for one of the first times in Lepp's history, as on "Women". Hysteria was a rock spectacle not seen in a very long time.
Women- This track sets the defining mood for the album. What is the "mood" of this album? Something different from any other pre-Hysteria Def Leppard. This song starts off with a heavy, yet slower riff, and all around gets you ready for a different, heavier, darker kind of Def Leppard sound. The bass line is more prominent and exclusive than in most other songs, due to the experimentation done on this track, using keyboards instead of bass. The pre-chorus and chorus pick up tempo a little and take up the mood a little, featuring some great vocal performances. In the verses, guitars aren't present for a lot of the time, and are more just kind of there, doing some simple fill in riffs. The lyrics are very well written, Phil Collen obviously having a positive impact on the band's writing. The solo is very well fitting to the song and nicely played. The song also features a little bridge-type thing at the end, and adds to the progression nicely.
Rocket- This song is, although it is a well done track and overall good song, very drawn out in more parts than one. It starts out with, for no particular reason, with "We're fighting with the Gods of War", said backwards, and has some kind of random air traffic controller like effects. It leads into the ever famous and inventive drum beat, featured prominently throughout the whole track, as it is obviously meant to feature drums, according to Elliott. The guitars are pretty simple in this song all around, but they are overall very good. The vocals are actually some of my favorite on the album, because we kind of get a sample of a different Joe Elliot. This song also features some cool background vocals and some ooh ooh oohs. The lyrics are really well written, but after a few times too many in a sort period of time, the bridge, which is that one drum beat over and over again with just some random assortments of different things. Although it is some spectacle to watch live, because of all of the different things they do to it, it's, on the album, too drawn out, making the ending a bit of a burden to listen to, even though the end is probably the high point.
Animal- This is really the first track on the album where we get a glimpse of some more of the classic Def Leppard sound. I wouldn't exactly call this either a ballad or a headbanger, it's kind of in between. The guitars are very nicely arranged, with the acoustic-electric fusion going on throughout most of the song, making it flow really nicely. The drum line to this song is quality, and the overall sound of it is arguably some of the most defining Def Leppard sounds of anything pre-Slang. The vocals are well performed, which is pretty typical for this album, and the lyrics are at their best. Just as the song seems to get a bit repetitive and slightly boring, it (kind of randomly) goes into a very short, very heavy bridge, and into the solo, which kind of grabs your attention. A great track overall.
Love Bites- This song is really the first ballad on this album, and it kind of has a deeper more emotional and kind of dark mood to it. The beginning opens up with a weird little keyboard diddy and some weird voice quoting the main point of the song. The verse kicks into a really slow and acoustic sound, with some nice drum fills, and some slight electric fillers. The pre-chorus really doesn't kick up tempo a whole lot, but it really brings the mood up a lot, and sets the tone for a heavier but still ballad-like chorus. This song really features keyboards and slightly strange sound-effects, although it adds to the song nicely. The songwriting really isn't anything special, as it is a typical Def Lepp love song/heartbreak song, although it isn't exactly poorly written. The song changes off a lot, and is worth listening to all the way through if you like it enough.
Pour Some Sugar On Me- This is one of the most famous Lepp songs of all time. Period. It is also one of the most abstract pre-Slang tracks recorded by Leppard as well. This song also really features drums a lot, as the guitar in the verses are few and far between. This is definitely one of the more pop-ish tracks on the album, as it is upbeat, and the guitars kind of set that mood. However, it always tends to get you pumping up the stereo and moving to it. The guitars in this song are always changing, adding lot's of life to this song. The vocals are actually pretty cool, however the songwriting is, again, not unwell written, just a little strange and random. The drum's beat changes in the bridge which features some cool guitars, and a really nice "solo". The song pretty much repeats itself after that, but it is a high point in the album. Joe Elliot's vocals toward the end are superb, and are really well sung. This song is the single most commercially successful Def Leppard song written, no doubt about it.
Armageddon It- This song is kind of mellow, but rockin' at the same time. This song kind of gets old after awhile but it has a unique bluesy rock sound to it. The guitar is pretty simple in the verses, which lead up to a surprise clean riff throughout the chorus. The lyrics and the whole sound is actually bits and pieces of one or two other songs written prior plus newer experimentation, which is why the lyrics don't always make sense, as Armageddon It was a joke of sorts among the band. The whole song is pretty simple and is in a nice spot on the record.
Gods Of War- This is one of the best tracks on the album, and by all means very underrated, as it is my one of my favorite Leppard songs. After the slightly weird beginning noises, it opens with a pretty cool bass line and goes into a little instrumental deal, before going into the first verse. It is a great song to any fan of Def Leppard's more serious side. To a die-hard Hysteria fan, not so much maybe. The last chorus leads into a really cool sounding and powerful ending, featuring some cool guitars and sound effects, furthuring the point of the lyrics.
Don't Shoot Shotgun- This song is the exact opposite of the predecessor. If you are a die-hard Lepp fan, you might not enjoy it as much as a die-hard Hysteria fan. The lyrics are a bit too random for their own good, and the vocals aren't exactly my favorite of the record. The drum line is pretty cool, and the change offs with guitar sounds is kind of cool, but it's a bit too pop-ish for it's own good, and after the first chorus, it kind of gets old. After hearing it so much, I just am really sick of it, although it's a fair song.
Run Riot- "Run Riot" is pretty much the better version of "Shotgun". The beginning riff opens up with kind of a fast paced sound, to get you ready for the rest of the song, which is pretty fast paced. The lyrics are really written, and really define Def Leppard's attitude for the time. The verse features some simple guitar riffs, but really mainly features the vocals and the drums. The chorus is nicely arranged, and overall, this song is an instant party song, one of those songs you just want to roll down your windows with and pump your radio with. Another classic kind of Def Leppard sound in this track.
Hysteria- The self-titled track, admittedly, is not exactly what I would have expected at first. I kind of expected "Hysteria" to be more like "Run Riot", but moving past that, "Hysteria" proves to be a really good ballad. Much like Animal, the fusion of acoustic with electric really heightens the songs mood and overall sound. The vocal work is up to par, almost flawless, as well as the songwriting, as it is original and not what you would expect from a sappy Lepp song (as most of the ballads are very similar). The chorus is really cool, and the progression is a little slow, but I have really never had a problem listening all the way through this song. A pretty simple song but it is nicely written. The solo is, just like everything else, simple but fitting.
Excitable- Hysteria kind of marked the end of the really good songs of the record. This song really is kind of annoying. The beginning is a bit strange, and is followed with some strange guitars, vocals, and lyrics. Overall this song is ONLY for those in the mood for it, and don't mind some really annoying songs. It's not that it's a bad track, it's just really annoying after once or twice, and for that, it get's probably the lowest or second lowest rating on the record.
Love And Affection- This is the absolute WORST way to end an album that is jam-packed with good songs. The song itself is basically a faster version of "Hysteria", fused with "Animal". It is really nothing special, everything is pretty simple, although the lyrics are poorly written, the vocals, lead and backing, are pretty nice. There is everything average about this song and it really screams out "BELONGS ON EUPHORIA" to me, and that's not really a good thing in my opinion. Closing with an unneccessary song on an album filled with hits is not the best path to walk on, and Def Lepp really screwed up with ending a good album this way.
Def Leppard's album Hysteria also went Platinum multiple times, and proved to be a defining album in hard rock for the time. After the long awaited Hysteria, Def Leppard toured with such bands as Queensryche and Tesla, which would have obviously pleased fans like myself, had I been there :). Although they had completed a successful tour, Def Leppard lost guitarist Steve Clark to an alchohol level higher than John Bonham's had been, who was later replaced with Vivian Campbell, marking what some consider their downfall. Although Def Leppard may not ever have another Hysteria in the works, we can still witness one of the greatest live shows ever, and be hopeful for some new and inventive Def Leppard sounds.
Gods Of War
Pour Some Sugar On Me