Pyromania (Deluxe Edition) Deluxe Edition, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
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Audio CD, Deluxe Edition, Original recording remastered, 8 Jun 2009
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Def Leppard, Britain’s greatest arena rock band, release a deluxe editions of the classic album Pyromania. Having sold over 65 million albums worldwide since their debut release in 1980 and proved themselves one of rock music’s hardest working and consistently powerful live bands (playing to over 50 million fans in the last 15 years alone), this timely deluxe expanded edition is a must for any discerning music fan. Def Leppard remain one of only five rock groups who can claim two separate original 10 million plus selling albums in the US (Pyromania being one of them). The others are The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Van Halen. The "deluxe edition" will feature deluxe digi--pack gatefold packaging with expanded booklets containing rare and previously unseen photographs, comprehensive sleeve-notes telling the story behind the album and includes images of rare single covers and memorabilia from the period. Liner notes come from Rolling Stone’s David Fricke. Pyromania, Def Leppard’s third album originally released in 1983, was the album that took the band to the global stage. Produced by Robert "Mutt" Lang, the album sold over 10 million copies in the USA alone and spawned the huge singles "Photograph", "Rock Of Ages" and "Foolin'". The deluxe edition features a re-mastered version of the original album and a bonus disc of a previously unreleased 15 track show from the LA Forum in 1983.
Top customer reviews
The songs on Pyromania were written to within an inch of their life. There was no room for filler and with producer Mutt Lange back on board, they made a decision to appease the AC/DC crowd but infringe upon the hooks and production tricks utilised on Thriller. And they nailed it.
Not without a few niggles along the way. Guitarist and strong riff writer Pete Willis was shown the door; both band and producer fed up with carrying the weight of an antagonistic personality made worse by alcohol issues. They knew they were about to hit the big time and didn’t want anyone scuppering their plans. Whilst Willis can be heard throughout the album and is credited on four of the ten tracks, the band hired Phil Collen, an exceptional guitarist with a keen ear for melody and pop hooks to replace him. Whilst Def Leppard had always had a twin guitar line-up with no clear lead player, they now had two lead guitarists with very different styles which complimented each other wonderfully. Phil’s first job was to solo on Stagefright and it’s his first take that’s on the album.
Every track is good enough to be a single. Too Late For Love, Die Hard The Hunter and Foolin’ go for the epic, Rock Of Ages, Billy’s Got A Gun and Rock Rock (Till You Drop) go for the melodic edge aimed at the MTV generation. However it was Photograph which was head and shoulders above anything else on this record and practically everything else on the radio in 1983. A track that at once became the highpoint of their live show and has hardly been absent since. Coupled with a great video (for the time), Photograph and a remixed Bringin’ On The Heartbreak ensured Def Leppard remained in rock fans minds, sights and ears over the four years it took to come up with a follow up.
For many, Pyromania remains the high point of a career with many high points but for the band a big low point was just around the corner.
The Deluxe Edition has a crisper sound and launches itself from your speakers. The main reason for getting this though is the second disc containing an LA gig from 1983. Whilst Viva Hysteria and Mirrorball have shown DL as still great musicians producing well polished shows, this is them raw, hungry and loud. This live CD deserves it's own release as it's nothing short of proof that even before Hysteria and Rick Allens tragic accident, Def Leppard were the best band on the planet. Truth!
What I do have an issue with is - Where is the picture of Pete Willis? It was featured in the insert on both the vinyl and CD albums, he performed backing tracks on all songs and co-wrote 4 of the tracks, Too Late for Love,Photograph - 2 of the 3 best songs on the album and also Coming Under Fire and Billy's Got A Gun. Steve Clark (my favourite musician of all time) did all the other guitars apart from 3 solos performed by Phil Collen - Photograph, Foolin' and Rock of Ages. As great as Phil Collen is and he is a very talented musician, Steve Clark should have at least been first on the insert (as Phil did not write any of the music or lyrics for the album) and it should have featured Pete's photograph like on the other formats.
Like most Leppard fans, especially ones from their pre-Hysteria days, I was looking forward to the remastered version of this album. But for some reason, this just doesn't sound as good as it should do. Although it is an improvement on the previous CD release, they still haven't captured the epic feel that it had on vinyl. One review I read said that the sound had been 'compressed' and I've got to agree with that.
However, there isn't a bad track on here, this is classic Leppard, made all the better by the loose and often raw guitar playing from the late Steve Clark. This release is complimented by the live disc from the LA Forum in 1983, which has Clark in majestic and aggressive form. The song Wasted is the type of thing that the band haven't written for years.
I can well remember the Forum gig because it was a the ultimate climax for the band who had climbed the rock ladder in the US with overwhelming success. This show earned them the cover on Kerrang! magazine, including pics from the gig, which was quite an achievement at the time because Def Leppard were accussed of selling-out to the American market by British rock fans.
Nicely packaged that's pleasing on the eye, and some interesting and informative liner notes from David Fricke, Pyromania Remastered Deluxe Edition is a must for all Def Leppard fans. As an album it was ahead of its time, and even though the sound is still somewhat woolly, it stands the test of time and remains, in my opinion, superior to its successor, Hysteria.
The remastering of the original album isn't impressive but it's not awful either. It is louder than the original if that works for you.
5 stars for the original music and the excellent live cd.
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