Let’s start from the basic stuff: Def Leppard was the first band that I ever listened to almost 30 years ago so it’s kinda hard (if not impossible) to be absolutely objective. Monumental albums like “Hysteria”, “Pyromania”, “Adrenalize”, and “High N’ Dry” surpass the narrow boundaries of a sheer record release. Having got this out of our system, let’s take a look at what the Sheffield boys has in store for us.
For starters, 7 ½ years since the last studio album is a big time gap even for the standards of Def Leppard. But the truth is that the fans of the British supergroup have stood by their favorite band in harsher times when it was almost imperative to have albums out on a regular basis.
With a new label and without any restriction whatsoever, Def Leppard initially entered the studio to record an EP and came out with an arsenal of 14 songs and a full blown album under its belt. Right from the start, Joe Elliott (mainly) and Phil Collen underlined the fact that this was a multidimensional record with various musical styles in there. That was the main reason, actually, that the band decided to give simply their name on the new effort. The odd thing is that despite all the various styles, the final result is not uneven and this is a not a disjointed effort at all. For example, “Dangerous” –quite probably, the best cut on the album- could have easily fit on “Euphoria”, “Energized” reminds of “X”, “Last Dance” brings in mind the mood of “From The Inside” (“Retroactive”) while the chorus of “Wings of an Angel” adds some “Hysteria” tone in there!
The production reaches the usual Leppard top level with all the instruments being forth crystal clear while the overall performance of the band members is expectedly flawless. From a compositional standpoint, there are a couple of surprises: “Man Enough” is the bastard child of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Blind Faith” is a blues/folk tune that could have easily been included on Collen’s debut album with Delta Deep.
All in all, the new Def Leppard album is a highly respectable effort. Personally, I enjoyed it more than “Songs From The Sparkle Lounge” and I believe that all the die hard fans of the band will get a kick out of it. After all, in this time and age, the bands should pay attention to the hard core fans…this is their buying audience.
Highlight: “Dangerous”, “We Belong”, “Broke N’ Brokenhearted” and “Wings Of An Angel” are the standout moments of the new Def Leppard album.