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My first contact with Def Leppard was at the beginning of the 90’s with the Adrenalize album. It was a nice one but it was pure hard rock and had nothing to do with metal. So it was kind of difficult to believe that they once had a more metal style. When I bought Pyromania I didn’t know what I should expect to hear.
What we have to admit is that Def Leppard is a band that managed to get heavy rock into the music business and at the top of the charts. This is where they divided metal society. Many people think of them as posers, unworthy of attention. But there are those who believe that they contributed in the promotion of hard music and the welcome of new fans.
Now, about Pyromania itself. By no means can you place it among heavy metal albums. To me, it is pure American hard rock that follows the American preferences and stereotypes. But it is not, I repeat, it is not a bad album. It has a full sound, a good production, nice vocals, heavy guitars and catchy songs. All this without losing its aggressive profile and this is what makes it very interesting. The rhythm section is very steady and I think that their new guitarist, at the time, Phil Collen, has brought along his own style of playing. Joe Elliot is a fantastic singer with a melodic and harsh voice and he knows how to use it.
The songs in Pyromania are basically of the same quality. If I had to choose the best ones, they would be Stagefright, Die Hard the Hunter and the all-time classic Too Late for Love, one of the best ballads I have heard. Stagefright is the fastest track, with heavy riffs that really excited me. Too Late… is emotional all the way and I think that its melodic lines have been sung by many listeners, many times. The rest of the songs are pretty much the same, hard rock catchy compositions. As for the supposed hit, Photograph, I think it is too overestimated. It’s not that bad but it doesn’t justify its title as top hit.
That’s more or less what I can say about Pyromania. It is a nice, solid album and it has nothing to do with the crappy shit they did in Slang. It is definitely worth checking out.