Def Leppard's Pyromania
Review by Steve Huey
While Def Leppard had obviously wanted to write big-sounding anthems on their previous records, Pyromania was where the band's vision coalesced and gelled into something more. More than ever before, the band's songs on Pyromania are driven by catchy, shiny melodic hooks instead of heavy guitar riffs, although the latter do pop up once in a while. But it wasn't just this newly intensified focus on melody and consistent songwriting (and heavy MTV exposure) that made Pyromania a massive success -- and the catalyst for the '80s pop-metal movement. Robert John "Mutt" Lange's buffed-to-a-sheen production -- polished drum and guitar sounds, multi-tracked layers of vocal harmonies, a general sanding of any and all musical rough edges, and a perfectionistic attention to detail -- set the style for much of the melodic hard rock that followed. It wasn't a raw or spontaneous sound, but the performances were still energetic and committed. Leppard's quest for huge, transcendent hard rock perfection on Pyromania was surprisingly successful; their reach never exceeded their grasp, which makes the album an enduring (and massively influential) classic.
Buckcherry's self titled album
Review by James Chrispell
From the get-go of "Lit Up" right on through to "Drink the Water," Buckcherry doesn't let up on their self-titled disc -- it's like a blast of fresh air clearing out a stale room. Buckcherry returns to the raucous edge of rock while avoiding the pitfalls of veering headlong into metal land. Melodic and concise, these guys keep your attention much like Guns N' Roses did on their first disc. Helped out by Terry Date and ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones in the production department, Buckcherry is quite a stunning debut. (And say, could Buckcherry be an anagram for that pioneer of rock & roll Chuck Berry?)