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| 20 December 2015 | Reply

e-a-r Music/Sony
30 November, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Def Leppard - Def Leppard cover

The Sheffield, UK hard-rocking legends’ eleventh studio album, Def Leppard is the record they had no intention of making until sessions for an EP proved far more productive than expected.

With fourteen tracks and songwriting credits slit across the board (singer Joe Elliot and guitarist feature most prominently with ten and eight writes or co-writes respectively), Def Leppard wisely doesn’t try to outdo their zillion-selling smash hits of yore, nor take modern rock music in a new direction as they did with both of their biggest sellers, Pyromania and Hysteria.

Accordingly, this isn’t an album to woo new fans: it stays safely within the boundaries of the Def Leppard playhouse, and whilst that’s no bad thing for fans of the band, it means if you don’t like them so far, this record won’t change your mind.

Def Leppard (the album) is self-titled for a reason: it’s a distillation of all that is great about the band. There’s plenty of great riffs, sounding as distinctive as anything on their past eight records, those amazing vocal harmonies, anthemic choruses guaranteed to raise roofs, and a musical palette which journeys from hair metal to hard rock and pop tunes to country rock ballads.

Openers Let’s Go and Dangerous are the most immediate tracks on the album, and both sounded great live on their recent tour, fitting in with the classics beautifully. Man Enough starts with a funky bass line that brings Queen to mind, whilst all five band members get a couple of lines to sing in the powerful We Belong.

Invicible and All Time High are as uplifting a brace of stadium rockers as they’ve ever written, but then on Energized there’s a sound effect which sounds like a dusty needle skipping on a vinyl record: bit of a misstep there as we took the CD out twice to clean it before realising it was deliberate.

Broke N’ Brokenhearted and Forever Young are Def Leppard-by-numbers, but never sound tired or stale: this is a great band playing to all their strengths safe in the knowledge their fans will lap it up. Last Dance and Blind Faith are the sort of ballads these guys have turned into an art form – the latter featuring some Beatlesey psychedelic touches – with Wings Of An Angel rocking it up a little whilst nestled in between them.

If Def Leppard is the band’s last studio album, that will be a damned shame, but with sales strong in this digital age we’re holding out some hope that they will see sense and turn this great form into a run of new music.

Category: CD Reviews

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