DEF LEPPARD — Hysteria (review)

DEF LEPPARD — Hysteria album cover Album · 1987 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
2.5/5 ·
To the pop music world in the 1980s, Def Leppard were darlings of MTV (when they still played music videos of course) and 'metal' radio. While their sex symbol status and popularity were nothing to scoff at, this doesn't entirely translate to music. For the average music fan, the singles like "Pour Some Sugar on Me", "Love Bites", and "Animal" are great for the random shuffled song on your iPod. For metalheads, though, anything past High n' Dry is not worth much time.

For one thing, this is one of those albums that are closer to a collection of songs rather than one cohesive work. The band was working to create something like Michael Jackson's Thriller where every song was a potential hit single. This is good for a singles band such as Def Leppard, but after a while listening to the album the songs tend to lose their luster.

That being said, there are some downright catchy riffs to be found. The singles previously mentioned are worth every minute on a classic rock radio station due to their ear-worm melodies. Also worth mentioning is "Rocket", with a bouncy little ditty firing off of pop culture references.

Metal? Not to be found here. There's little development, no heaviness, and while metal prides itself on basing its music on elements not found in pop music, Hysteria is one of those albums that sucks all those elements up and rolls around in them.

That being said, metalheads should enjoy the song "Gods of War", which starts off with an atmospheric aura and builds into a fantastic riff in a way that bands like Def Leppard don't really do. It's not a prog song in any respect of the word, but the intro develops in a way that prog and metal fans should appreciate it.

Overall, Hysteria is a (good) collection of pop/rock singles that was caught up in the 'hysteria' of glam metal in the 80s. It was everything a radio station wanted in the day: it was filled with tons of hooks and sugary melodies played by a band that they could call metal. Unfortunately, these elements translate poorly overall to the real metal community and it is hardly a recommended album in that respect.
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