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Reviews Written by
"skazza" (Bath, England)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Harder rocking than Hysteria, Dec 30 2000
This review is from: Pyromania (Audio CD)
In some ways, Pyromania was Def Leppard's best balance of hard rock and accessibility. It's rougher, louder, and more immediate than anything the band has done subsequently, but it sees the band's first big move towards a more commercial sound. America really caught on... Nine million people can't be wrong, can they? Well, actually, yes, if you have a look at the charts, you will see that nine million people very frequently are wrong, but inthe case of Pyromania, they weren't. At least four songs from this album remainin the band's live set, seventeen years later, and the rest of the album isn't exactly poor either. This is essential Leppard; the album that broke them big, and a genuine rock classic.

Right Here, Right Now
Right Here, Right Now
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slick but not be ignored., Dec 20 2000
This review is from: Right Here, Right Now (Audio CD)
Aside from being suspiciously slick for any "live" album, this CD is a fantastic look at Van Halen's best bits, focusing mainly on the 5150, OU812, and For Unlawful... albums. I was hoping it might be an opportunity to hear a great singer (Sammy Hagar) power through some of the band's classic stuff, but only "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love", "You Really Got Me" and "Jump" grace us with their presence from those groundbreaking first albums (ground breaking, but impossible to listen to due to utterly dire production and not exactly sparkling vocal performances from Roth).
I love double live albums, because you get a combination of some of the raw energy of a live show with (in this case anyway) excellent sound quality of a studio release. Also, a single CD greatest htis never really covers all the good tracks, but with careful thought, a double album can give a good overview of all a band's best bits.
And they're all here. If you're a fan of Van Halen's stuff with Hagar, your ship has come in. All the best stuff is here, sounding, in many cases, better than the album versions. Great stuff.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood brilliance, Dec 13 2000
This review is from: Slang (Audio CD)
Fans have said that with this album Leppard betrayed their fans, sold out, and tried to be cool.
Yes, there are moments when the cynic in me comes out and I have to say, "Are they doing this ONLY because they like it?" and I wonder if there's a twinge of sell-out, but for the most part this is a band doing something fresh and bold.
For a start, this album is the darkest thing they've done. Coming off the bouncy happiness of the mega-million selling "Adrenalize" and "Hysteria", the band move the goalposts and openly admit that life is not a bed of roses -- so this album is altogether more real than their past efforts.
Soundwise, too, there is a conscious change. The production is rawer and the layers of overdubs axed. Instead, crunching guitars fit over real acoustic drums for the first time since Rick lost his arm. There are experiments here with sequencers and drum loops and real fans should appreciate that the band is doing something different. All the songs here have some Leppard trademarks, putting the band's stamp on new territory.
Truth is kind of industrial sounding, while Turn to Dust is more standard Lep stuff, but with eastern instrumentation. I feel that the ballads here, much more sparse and dark, aren't up to the usual standard, but the rockers make up for them.
The title track funks up the usual Lep sound and is one of the most concise and danceable things they've done. Deliver Me is blatant alt-rock/ grunge, but I like it. It's hypocritical, I know, because I wouldn't allow myself to like it if it wasn't by Leppard. I sometimes wonder if the whole album is that way, but anyone open-minded enough will discover a real gem here.
Other high points are Work It Out, and Gift of Flesh. I'm really glad Lep showed diversity and creativity by making this album, but I wouldn't want them to do Slang 2.

Bump Ahead
Bump Ahead
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Biggest?, Dec 8 2000
This review is from: Bump Ahead (Audio CD)
As I said in my review of Aerosmith's "Pump", I always try to be a bit different to everyone else. For this reason, I am trying to find a reason to prefer this to Mr. Big's probable number 1 album, "Lean Into It". You know, I might just be able to find more than one.
Where Lean Into It perfected the sound the band started on their first album, Bump Ahead shows more progression. The sounds are beefier and fatter, with Billy Sheehan's bass playing taking more of a dominant role -- no bad thing when we are talking about the greatest rock bassist on the scene. The whole thing's heavier than "Lean Into It", and where that album seemed dominated by commercial AOR numbers, this one has its fair share of rockers. The ballads, and I love ballads, are of the usual high standard, and this is everything we've come to expect of Mr. Big -- non-stop quality. What else do you expect from such a flawless collection of musicians? They don't come much better than the afore-mentioned Sheehan and Paul Gilbert.
It's nice when a band isn't afraid to move forward. It's nice, too, when that forward motion leaves the fans pleased. Success for Mr. Big! Standout tracks... well, Colorado Bulldog, Mr. Gone, The Whole Word's Gonna Know, and Nothing But Love spring to mind, but I have to recommend this whole CD to you unreservedly.
So... just one question remains: Is it better than "Lean Into It"? Hmmm... I don't know... probably on a par. Different, but the better for it.

40 Seasons: The Best of..
40 Seasons: The Best of..
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4.0 out of 5 stars Questionable song selection but great material, Dec 8 2000
I admit it; I listen to a lot of girly bands... Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and things of that sort of nature... Great stuff, but, some might say, hardly the music of men. So from time to time it is necessary to make purchases like this to affirm my masculinity...
This CD is much attacked because of poor song selection, and the critics have a point -- a number of the band's best tracks are conspicuous by their absence. Having said that, this CD does clock in at 66:23, not too far off a CD's capacity, and there aren't many songs here I would drop. Certainly for those who just want something "for the car", or those who have a passing interest in the band but not enough to by the band's three studio albums, this is a good overview, featuring such monster slabs of metal as "Monkey Business" and "The Threat." This album deserves a high score because of the unquestionable quality of so much of this band's output. Hardcore fans will also want to pick this up for the remixes (admittedly not great) and unreleased demos that grace this commercial offering, along with a live version of "Beat Yourself Blind". This again is none to great -- a OK performance sandwiches Bach's angry tirade at the crowd, laced with bad language, trying to get them to join in.
Still, Skid Row were heavier than their big-haired rivals, and had a load more rock & roll attitude, which lent them far more credibility. This, along with the contageous melodies the band definitely had a knack for writing, sent the band frighteningly close to world domination. Kudos, too, to the track selectors for including a lot of material from Subhuman Race, a Bob Rock-produced (read: serious quality) album ignored by many fans. Forever, a demo that didn't make it onto the band's debut, is here and it's a great track, more commercial than most of the band's output.
Unless you have all three of the band's existing albums but are not a diehard, you will want to get this album. The band are back together, minus the hugely powerful voice of the inimitable Sebastian Bach, so maybe we'll be hearing from them again soon. Pick up this CD and you'll be hoping that happens.

Mechanical Resonance
Mechanical Resonance
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4.0 out of 5 stars This just oozes quality, Dec 8 2000
This review is from: Mechanical Resonance (Audio CD)
Tesla are just one of those bands that just ARE real rock & roll. Something about them is just meaty, and the band just exudes quality. Much has been written about this universally-acclaimed debut, and you don't need me to tell you that this is up there with Van Halen's first one in terms of significance to the rock world.
But I'm going to anyway.
Jeff Keith is a gritty and impassioned vocalist, while guitarists Tommy and Frank and technically excellent and tasty musicians whose duelling lead lines never fail throughout this work. They are ably backed by the more than tight rhythm section, in all making one of the most exciting musical units of the '80s and early- to mid-nineties. Remember that "quiet first part of a verse that explodes in the second half of the verse sound" that was all over some of the louder hard rock bands in the '80s? Here it is, fully showcased for the first time ever on this album, fully showcased on tracks like "EZ Come EZ Go" and "Modern day Cowboy", which are, incidentally, two of the standout tracks on this album.
The sound will appeal to the more aggressive hair metal fans as well as hard rock and heavy metal fans. The riffs are simple chord progressions, delivered with firey power and serious attitude. The guitar solos are kickin', as you would expect, and in most cases the songs are good enough to showcase the band's potential, including "2 Late 4 Love", "Rock Me to the Top", and the anthemic "Love Me."
It's rare that a band sounds this good on their debut release, and listeners in 1986 must have been killing themselves with anticipation over what this band could develop into.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Sold out?, Dec 8 2000
This review is from: Crush (Audio CD)
The reviews here here don't reflect it, but there is a strong contingent of people -- Bon Jovi fans -- who hate this CD. They can't really be bothered to write reviews, so it's only the people that like the CDs that review them> therefore, the average review score is always high. Anyway, the people that hate this CD malign Jon and his crew in all sorts of ways, accusing them of selling out and going pop and all manner of things.
Well, no comment on the commercial motives behind this CD, but I like it. Lead off single "It's My Life" is doubtless a throwback to "Living on a Prayer", only more chart pop and not as good. It's still a great track, though. In fact, the only track I really don't like is the complete and utter droning crap that is "She's a Mystery". "Captain Crash" is a fun song with an obvious Beatles' influence -- an influence that is more notable on this CD than any previous Bon Jovi release.
Then there's the ballads. I'm sorry to sound so un-macho, but I;'m a sucker for girly ballads. The two main ones here are the single release "Thank You for Loving Me", which is good, but not, in my opinion, anywhere near "Save the World", which I like more than any other BJ ballad, ever. So sue me.
It's good, then. Very good.

To Hell With The Devil
To Hell With The Devil
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4.0 out of 5 stars An unbiased opinion, Dec 8 2000
This review is from: To Hell With The Devil (Audio CD)
OK, let me come out with it at the start: I am a Christian. BUT, I approach music with a totally unbiased attitude. I will listen to good secular music or Christian music. I will not listen to a Christian band if they suck, simply because they are Christians, while on the on the other hand ignoring some decent secular bands. A lot of Christians seem to do that. Either way, Stryper were a great band, on the merits of their music alone. So even if you're not sympathetic to their message, you should give their music a chance. THWTD was Stryper's bniggest and arguably best album. It probably deserves 5 stars, but I like to be tight with marks so when I give an album 5 stars, it deserves it. Still, the album has power-packed metal anthems with huge choruses and meaty riffs. It also has great, slightly lighter trakcs, like Calling on You, which has an awesome intro riff and is probably my favourite Stryper song; it was a huge MTV hit for the band, as was the other single from the album "Free." There's the Billboard top 20 ballad Honestly, too. The band delivers on all fronts and it must be said that there isn't a duff song here. Killer stuff.

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5.0 out of 5 stars No, I'm not lowering myself to some cheesy title, Dec 8 2000
This review is from: Euphoria (Audio CD)
I hate to give this album five stars. Seems like everyone who reviews an album on rates it four or five stars. But the truth is, this album is worth the big 5. And I mean that. Def Leppard have been around for a long time now and they have continued to sell blockbusters long after the press had lost all sympathy toward them. With this album, Leppard gives the fans what they want. And boy do they deliver.
This album, like every Def Leppard album, is doomed for comparison with Hysteria, the band's 16 million+ selling international hit. Here's the bombshell: I think Euphoria is better. It comes out with a fresh and youthful excitement which belies the band's advancing age. It sounds more exuberant than they have in a long time, and the atmosphere of the album is probably the lightest they've ever had, except for on the dark bits, of course.
The album kicks off with Demolition Man, which is an instant Leppard classic. The critics are saying that Leppard's sound has not changed, but it is has, subtly. Everyone who liked Hysteria should find this album enjoyable, but these songs do sound different than Hysteria. Demolition Man is a lot faster than they'd normally do, and it rocks... the best thing they've done. Promises, the radio single, owes a lot to their breakthrough single "photograph" from their other 10 million seller, Pyromania. Die hard Leppard fans will ynch me for this, but I always felt Photograph was great, but they could have made it stronger. Promises has a wicked riff and rocks all the way through... I'd say it is the perfected Photograph.
The band keeps it coming throughout the album, and while some are better then others, there isn't a bad song here, just diversity within the framework of "sounding Lep", something many felt they didn't do for 1996's brilliant, but universally ignored, "Slang". There's the glammy Back in Your Face, a statement of intent if ever there was one, the funky All Night which owes something to Slang. Paper Sun is intense, dark, and epic, something fans of the heavier stuff will enjoy. 21st Century Shalalala Girl again is one of the best things they've done.
Then there are the ballads, something Lep have always done well. The album has three, and I like them all, especially the stirring "To Be Alive."
In all, I'd say half of this album is right up there with the absolute best of Leppard. And the remaining half might not make it onto a greatest hits CD, but it's all excellent; very strong stuff.

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