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3.9 out of 5 stars
On Through The Night
Format: Audio CDChange
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2009
People always associate Def Leppard with the kind of sugar coated, big haired, commercial rock they dealt out in the late 80s and early 90s. However, that was not always the case.
'On Through The Night' was Leppard's debut album and came out at a time when heavy metal was enjoying a resurgence in the UK in 1980. This album sees the band taking their place besides bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon, who spearheaded the rebirth of metal at the time, and it's a quite remarkable debut, when you consider how young the band members were back then.
The first three tracks, 'Rock Brigade', 'Hello America, and 'Sorrow Is a Woman' get the album off to a storming start. The first two being good balls out rockers with good riffs and lots of energy. The latter being a haunting, dark, brooding ballad.
'Wasted' and 'Rocks Off' are a good pair of galloping metallers and both 'Overture' and 'The Walls Come Tumbling Down' show an epic side to the band.
The whole album has echoes of Thin Lizzy, UFO and even Judas Priest at times, and the enthusiasm and energy with which the band rattle through these tracks make 'On Through The Night' a really entertaining album to listen to. It's a shame that the band have tried to distance themselves from it.
Anyone who has any doubts about Leppard's hard rock credibility, based on the music they have made post 1984 needs to unearth this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2011
This is Def Leppard's debut album from 1980 and by far their heaviest hard rock offering.
Unfortunately, they found their fame and fortune, by playing Stateside radio friendly rock on their following albums.
I suppose, you can't blame them for that.
This album is hard rock through and through, no weak tracks or fillers.
I remember the first time I heard the raw energy of "Rocks Off" so many years ago, and that track still sounds great today.
British heavy rock pounds out with "Wasted", "Satellite", and what an awesome guitar riff on "Answer To The Master".
They show their song writing talents on "When The Walls ... and the finale "Overture".
The dual guitar attack of Steve Clarke and Pete Willis is captivating throughout, their riffs and solos are memorable and original.
It's a pity (well for me anyway), that songs like Photograph from 1983's Pyromania, catapulted them into stardom and then into the world of American pop rock.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2011
This is good ole fashioned rock and roll - 80s style. It's a shame that their sound changed to the over-gleaned transatlantic shine that they peddle now, as their debut, despite not being a classic by any means, at least sounds far more honest and lots more fun. Today when Leppard do fun party tracks they are usually wince-inducingly apalling or the album, 'Yeah' (shudder). But back in 1980 there was a new sound. A rumbling, galloping, riffy, solo -ey heavy rock sound. It was the sound of early Iron Maiden and the NWOBHM upstarts. And, briefly, it was the sound of Def Leppard. For about 2 or so albums.

'Rock Brigade' is a great little song without ever being a great little song - if you get me?(?). It's got a nice catchy chorus but it's no masterpiece. However it opens proceedings well and it's not a bad introduction to the band. 'Hello America' is much the same. These are 2 absolutely fine, rocking, cheesy tracks that will not change your life in any way. Which is kind of nice. 'Sorrow is a Woman' is the first attempt at the power ballads they became so adept at later on in their career. It's ok but no barn-stormer. 'It Could Be You' is where it all starts to get interesting. It's a great, catchy tune that is easily re-hummable. Excellent chorus. 'Satellite' is another good but no cigar track, although it is rather more sombre than the opening 2. 'When the Walls Came Tumbling Down' is another excellent track. It's almost a prog song. It starts with wind and an english plummy narration and turns into a serious tune with an even more serious chorus. My favourite.

'Wasted' is a good, mid-tempo rocker. 'Rocks Off' shouldn't be good but some heroic widdly bits and and almost-Maidenesque gallop saves it. 'It Don't Matter' is another pretty fair number along the same lines as 'Wasted' only with a better chorus. 'Answer to the Master' sounds like a less heavy early Metallica track. It's groovy and fun and actually quite metal for Leppard. Who'd o' thought? 'Overture' however lets it all down. A 7 minute epic is usually a chance to have a bit of fun. It's starts well enough with ominous acoustic picking but even after many listens it all sounds a bit boring.

Still, it's not at all a disaster. In fact it's on par with High and Dry, even slightly better.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 November 2002
As a debut album it’s good whilst not outstanding. However, this was Def Leppard before “Mutt” Lange, before Phil Collen - and these guys had just about left school!!
The stand-out tracks are “Hello America” or “Sorrow is a Woman”. There’s no doubting the raw energy and enthusiasm on the album but it hasn’t aged very well alongside the later back catalogue.
If you’re looking for an introduction to Def Leppard then go for one of the later albums (Hysteria or Adrenalize) then come back to this.
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on 25 March 2013
Been looking for this for a while as I first remember hearing it as a teenager in the early 80's and 'rocks off' stood out as a memorable track for me. Bit of a mixed bag, but still better than the Def Leppard they became when they were at their height of popularity - bit too commercial for my liking!
For me, it was their best album but that's because nostalgia takes over and they were closer to the 'NWOBHM' sound that I like to find - a bit less polished but with energy.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I remember seeing NME's review of this debut album alongside pieces on new/debut albums by Samson, Iron Maiden and Saxon. At the time, it seemed like the launch of a fledgling generation of hard rock bands. Now, of course, it has the label 'NWOBHM,' one I'm reluctant to use. The NME, by the way, were reluctant to hand out any praise, being more interested in joke outfits like Joy Division and The Swell Maps.
I suspected, even then, that Def Leppard were the ones who had their eyes on the US. The truck on the cover, the title of the second track, and the Styx-like harmonies on the rousing 'Rock Brigade' were all indicators. The quality of the material wobbles here and there; 'Sorrow Is A Woman' is shaky in places. The band are at their best keeping the pace brisk. 'It Could Be You' is particularly strong in this respect, as is 'Rocks Off.' The quiet opening to 'When The Walls Came Down' works well, despite the slightly corny 'War Of The Worlds'-like monologue that cues Joe Elliott in. Both this and the other ambitious epic, 'Overture' are winners. The aggressive 'Wasted' and 'Answer To The Master' are also highlights.
'On Through The Night' shows touches of naivete, not surprising, considering their age, but it's a very good album. The material may not have the commercial appeal of later work, but it's more vibrant.
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on 26 October 2012
This is a cracking album and echoes the glories of the NWOBHM (even tho the Lepps tried to steer clear of the genre). Some great melodies with riffs galore. What is amazing is the youth of the band when they made this. I saw them in 1980 with Wytchfynde as support great days. There is no doubt that the band changed so much during the 80's to become the darlings of the US markets. Such a shame.
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on 23 February 2013
Overall I'd say there isn't a duff track on this album, some are better than others, but none are awful, and in my humble opinion Wasted and Rocks Off are still perhaps the best two tracks they have ever laid down, I never tire of hearing them! Trust me!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2003
This is probably the band's best album, as it is more in the heavy metal mould than its successors. Not surprisingly, Def Leppard were part of the NWOBHM, and it shows on this debut album. If you are looking for catchy hard rock, you've got Rock Brigade, Hello America, Satellite and Wasted. Rocks Off and It Could Be You have cool riffs, whereas When The Walls Come Tumbling Down is maybe the heaviest song Leppard have ever cut. This is vintage late 70s metal and far more rewarding than the overtly commercial 80s stuff Leppard would go on to record.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2007
The first album from Britains finest rock band. Although this album doesn't have the same slick production of 'Hysteria' and 'Adrenalize' it more than makes up for it in pure energy and adrenaline.
A good first album with some strong catchy tracks on it. If you are one of the gazillion people who bought 'Pyromania' 'Hysteria' and 'Adrenalize' and wonder how Def Leppard started out, this is a fantastic insight into a bunch of teenage rockers making the music they so clearly love!
RECOMMENDED!
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