High And DryLABEL:
1984, Mercury, 818 836-2 Y-1 * 1992, Mercury, 314 512 356-2 * 2008, Universal (Japan), UICY-93451COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LINEUP:
Joe Elliot - vocals * Steve Clark - guitars * Pete Willis - guitars * Rick Savage - bass * Rick Allen - drumsTRACK LISTING:
01 Let It Go * 02 Another Hit And Run * 03 High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night) * 04 Bringin' On The Heartbreak * 05 Switch 625 * 06 You Got Me Runnin' * 07 Lady Strange * 08 On Through The Night * 09 Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes) * 10 No No No * 11 Bringin' On The Heartbreak (remix) * 12 Me And My Wine (remix)WEBLINKS: www.defleppard.com
At the time of writing this review (2002), we have the imminent arrival of their latest studio album 'X' (actually their 8th album proper), amidst reports of a 'Slang' and 'Hysteria' mix, it's amazing what a hard rock beast Leppard once were at the onset of their career. With zero chance of a return to this gritty sound, Leppard could have been successors to AC/DC
if they had carried on this way. Produced by 'Mutt' Lange, 'High 'n' Dry' was a fairly successful follow up to the heavy but crude NWOBHM inspired debut. Lange brought a polished studio sound, but toughened up the guitars. Typically it was the ballad 'Bringin On The Heartbreak' that fuelled sales, rather than the staunch attitude and heavy delivery of 'Let It Go' etc
On close inspection many of the riffs have an AC/DC
'Highway To Hell' and 'Back In Black' feel, something Lange bought with him having produced that colossal pairing. Lange also helped lose the homegrown English aspect, achieving a substantial American arena rock atmosphere. 'Let It Go' and 'High 'N' Dry (Saturday Night)' rely on big, bold riffs to maximum effect. Elliot's vocals were far more assured, giving it some of the old Bon Scott
shouting among the drinking and hard living lyrics. Smooth AOR choruses are added to the heavy rhythms, noticeably on 'Another Hit And Run', 'You Got Me Runnin', 'Lady Strange' and 'Mirror, Mirror', forerunners of things to come. Leppard's metal roots are hardly betrayed- the galloping riff in the mid-section of 'Lady Strange' has more in common with Iron Maiden
than anything. 'No, No, No' is the albums closer and still Leppard's fastest and heaviest moment to date. Elliot screams his balls off among a flurry of spitfire riffs and drumming. Quite devastating and almost deceptive in lieu of what followed.
Quite how Leppard turned into a perfect hard rock band with pop sensibilities is mind boggling considering the ferocity they demonstrate through much of 'High 'N' Dry'. True there was an abundance of perfect melodies and even a ballad, but the music was still genuine metal and hard rock. It had yet to become watered down with keyboards and all manner of studio gimmickry that became Leppard's stumbling block. As classic as 'Pyromania' and to a lesser extent 'Hysteria' are, this was Leppard's last hard rock classic, a whole two albums in. What might have been then?
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