DEF LEPPARD – Pyromania [Japan SHM-CD new remaster / Limited Release] (2023) HQ *Exclusive*
A few days ago Universal Music Japan started a new reissue campaign of DEF LEPPARD albums pressed on SHM-CD, a Limited Edition release on miniLP faithfully replicating the album first edition LP in miniature and the original Japanese OBI. This reissue differs from the previous (now sold out) SHM-CD reissues, as features a new remastering.
“Pyromania” is the first Def Lepp album to feature guitarist Phil Collen who replaced founding member Pete Willis, and a shift away from the band’s hard rock / metal roots towards more radio-friendly melodic rock, finding massive mainstream success.
“Pyromania” sold over ten million copies only in the US, thus being certified diamond by the RIAA.
When the recording of “Pyromania” began with talented Robert John “Mutt” Lange producing, original guitarist Pete Willis was still on board and his rhythm guitar tracks appear on all songs. Willis was fired midway through the recording sessions for excessive alcohol abuse and replaced by Phil Collen, who immediately contributed the lead guitar for the song “Stagefright” on his second day on the job.
Together with Lange, on “Pyromania”, Def Leppard perfected the ’80s sound of accessible metal, melodic hard rock. Label it whatever you want to; stadium rock, hair metal, hard rock or anything else you can come up with, this Sheffield quintet (and their pioneering producer) have basically taken heavy metal not too dissimilar to the likes of Iron Maiden & Judas Priest, and shined it up so successfully that the mainstream populous just could not resist it.
Yet, they have been able to do so in a manner which still remains rather heavy and therefore continued to please the loyal fanbase they had previously built up.
Opener ‘Rock Rock (Till You Drop)’ contains that simple but effective vibe which Lange has obviously brought over from his work with AC/DC. Joe Elliott raspily yells while the backing vocals during the chorus are an interesting mix of menacing and melodic.
Later, the same treatment is just as superbly given to the old-fashioned metal cut that is ‘Stagefright’. Written by bassist Rick Savage, this is a complete, upbeat composition which works perfectly with the established “Pyromania sound”. With that live crowd effects, the overall vibe of hyper sugar-fueled rock is reached eloquently.
Then you have the timeless classics ‘Photograph’ and ‘Rock Of Ages’. Acting as the LPs lead single, ‘Photograph’ is actually a little difficult to pin down, but its brilliantly involving build-up includes a super effective pre-chorus and especially immediate chorus. The lyrics (written about Marilyn Monroe) are also relatable in covering the idolizing of a star of the screen. A Classic.
Conversely, second single ‘Rock Of Ages’ includes what may just be one of the most memorable and anthemic opening verses of all time! Also containing a terrific solo, the tremendous stomp of this cut was a forerunner to the band’s other trademark song; ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’.
And highlights continue with the incredible ’Too Late For Love’ and its amazing atmosphere & layered chorus, then the awesome ‘Foolin’ which has you humming its chorus all day.
Even the inside tracks on “Pyromania” great, with ‘Comin Under Fire’ with its infectious chorus, and the killer ‘Action! Not Words’ harshly dealt with due to it’s positioning as the penultimate track of the LP.
But wait, there’s the superb and ambitious ‘Die Hard The Hunter’ which arguably contains the album’s best lyrics as the problems facing returning soldiers re-acclimatizing into society is dealt with.
And of course, ‘Billys Got A Gun’ is a winner in my book adding synths in order to add extra atmosphere to proceedings. The slick production even allows this cut to include an entire verse led by the backing vocals of the band credited to The Leppardettes, but in fact the musicians themselves – and an advance to come with the next album.
Yeah, as you see, no fillers but all killers in “Pyromania”, one of the greatest Rock albums of all time. Period.
This new remaster sound fabulous on SHM-CD.
ＵＮＩＶＥＲＳＡＬ ＭＵＳＩＣ ＪＡＰＡＮ / ＵＩＣＹ～80345
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Ｄ Ｅ Ｆ Ｌ Ｅ Ｐ Ｐ Ａ Ｒ Ｄ 炎のターゲット
01 – Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)
02 – Photograph
03 – Stagefright
04 – Too Late For Love
05 – Die Hard The Hunter
06 – Foolin’
07 – Rock Of Ages
08 – Comin’ Under Fire
09 – Action! Not Words
10 – Billy’s Got A Gun
Joe Elliott – lead vocals
Steve Clark – lead & rhythm guitars
Rick Savage – bass guitar
Rick Allen – drums
Pete Willis – rhythm guitars
Phil Collen – lead & rhythm guitars
John Kongos – Fairlight CMI programming
Thomas Dolby – keyboards (credited as Booker T. Boffin)
The Leppardettes (Phil Collen, Joe Elliott, Mutt Lange & Rick Savage) – backing vocals