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Def Leppard 30 years

REVIEW: Hysteria 30 years on gets a re-issue. Is it worth it the outlay for the re-masters?

IT’S hard not to be cynical when a plethora of re-issues emerge to mark a significant anniversary with multiple formats. But then again those albums mark moments in our youth when music marked coming of age.

With 30 years gone since Def Leppard released ‘Hysteria’ the band have marked it by offering a clatter of formats all re-mastered.

Truth be told we have ruminated on this for some time. The feeling about this is much the same we have about Metallica issuing a re-mastered series of Master of Puppets.

Both Leppard and Metallica’s iconic gigs in the 1980s at Belfast’s Ulster Hall were something special – hence our hesitancy in approaching Hysteria. On that tour Leppard played Northern Ireland three times. Two consecutive nights in the Ulster Hall, with Tesla and an in-the-round show at the King’s Hall.

Seared into memory of thousands those shows and songs like ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, ‘Love Bites’ and ‘Armageddon It’ – not to mention ‘Animal’.

The story of ‘Hysteria’ is a remarkable one in and of itself. The aborted sessions with Jim Steinman, the car accident that saw Rick Allen lose his left arm and drafting in Mutt Lange along with the tortuous time he took to mix every track and including a year’s break.

With ‘Pyromania’ previously bothering the UK and US charts ‘Hysteria’ was eagerly awaited by cynical critics and slightly nervous fans.

But almost instantly all instinctively knew it was a special release. From their NWOBHM roots they now achieved the rock alchemists dream of songs that kept existing fans happy and attracted new mainstream fans.

Three decades on and we have Joe Elliott on the BBC Breakfast News, massive over-conflated features in magazines and whole hills of hyperbole.

With 30 million copies sold of ‘Hysteria’ worldwide sold do we really need another one on our musical collection?

As said we have ruminated about this question for some time, so let’s get down to what’s on offer.

There’s a five CD, two DVD deluxe edition with four books – including a Ross Halfin photo book – and a tour poster. There’s also a three CD edition, a single CD, a double vinyl album, and a double album of picture discs – all re-mastered.

All in sumptuous packaging…

Having consulted a range of friends either our original LPs have been lost or are worse for wear. True we may have the CD but this selection of formats does represent something for collectors, especially the coloured vinyl.

It may be time to do the Lotto to afford the full package of this and Master of Puppets…But if you have the cash it will be an investment…until the 40th anniversary re-issue.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

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