Album Title: Pyromania
Artist: Def Leppard
Running Time: 45m 11s
Track listing: 1 Rock Rock (Till You Drop); 2 Photograph; 3 Stagefright; 4 Too Late For Love; 5 Die Hard the Hunter; 6 Foolin’; 7 Rock of Ages; 8 Comin’ Under Fire; 9 Action! Not Words; 10 Billy’s Got a Gun
Ludicrous song titles ahoy! Def Leppard’s third album is regarded as their most accomplished to date. And yes, aside from song titles like ‘Die Hard the Hunter’ and ‘Rock Rock (Till You Drop)’, the songwriting and overall performance eclipses “On Through the Night” and “High ‘n’ Dry”. Another notable improvement is in Mutt Lange’s production with more futuristic and powerful atmospheric twists and tweaks.
‘Rock Rock (Till You Drop)’ opens us up in fine form with bombastic drums and a catchy sing-a-long chorus and ‘Too Late For Love’ is a brilliantly crafted mid-tempo rocker. ‘Die Hard the Hunter’, weighing in at six minutes, jams impressively after a long introduction and ‘Foolin’ is no ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak’ but it works pretty well and doesn’t really sound like anything the band had done before.
Despite the awful lyrics (slow and steady never lost the race/don’t stop runnin’, i’m a fool for the chase/play the game, surrender to me/baby i don’t wanna fake it), ‘Comin Under Fire’ is a strong number with a terrific chorus that shows the band have an ear for a catchy melody. ‘Billy’s Got a Gun’ with its Led Zeppelin-style rhythm, is also damn good.
But lets not beat around the bush any longer. The standout track for many is the rock-groove of “Photograph”, which in itself became the hard-rock template that helped build their success over the next decade or so. Even though the lyrics are not outstanding, they just fit the tune so well (I’m outta luck, outta love/gotta photograph, picture of/passion killer, you’re too much/you’re the only one i wanna touch). Ok so it’s rock cliché in many ways but I dare you not to like it.
What’s left? Well, you’ll need to clench your fist for ‘Action! Not Words’. It’s a bit “bleh” to be honest, and somewhat dated now, but the guitar work is strong. ‘Stagefright’ is a live recording of a fairly average tune and the enjoyable ‘Rock of Ages’ is reminiscent, somewhat unsurprisingly, of an arena-sound that had been perfected over the previous decade by a certain Australian rock band.
This was the last album to feature Pete Willis on guitars. Although he was involved in much of the writing and played on all the album, he was sacked prior to the album’s release. Phil Collen replaced him.
“Pyromania” is rightly regarded as a classic metal album but it was the last metal album from Def Leppard as their sound was to morph into something far lighter in the years following.