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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Def-Leppard-Def-Leppard-Review-2015

DEF LEPPARD - DEF LEPPARD - ALBUM REVIEW

ear-MUSIC | Release Date: October 30th 2015

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The opening track of Def Leppard’s eponymous new album ‘Let’s Go’ in truth sounds a lot like the band in their pomp, all the hallmarks that saw them at the top of the stadium rock tree in the late eighties are all there: from the big melodies through the trademark guitar stabs  to Jo Elliott’s distinctive voice. There’s also, though, a certain new softer sheen that cuts back the rock and propels the band even more into pop territory. Sadly though with only a couple of exceptions this isn’t Def Leppard in the mood to capture past glories, indeed despite that opening the album is particularly and frustratingly varied.


The riff to ‘Dangerous’ could well be off Pyromania, but the song again has that sheen that dates it from later in their career. After years post-grunge of the band attempting to redefine their sound this is the album that sees them come home to the sound that made them millionaires, and the immediately drop it again. The musical landscape has changed immeasurably since then of course which is rather a double-edged sword – to the faithful reclaiming the past would be perhaps a welcome return to form, but to those with no prior reference point seems to be where the band is aiming.


The bass driven ‘Man Enough’ is just a nice laid back rocker, borrowing a little off Queen with a Def Leppard style chorus, it’s not bad, but not ‘Rock’ enough to really satisfy. There had to be a ballad on the horizon of course and ‘We Belong’ is that song, very light very radio friendly and with the odd touch of 4 of the band members taking up a couple of verses between them, in truth it adds little to a song that is just a little too tepid to catch hold.


Sadly the album isn’t all highs ‘Invincible’ is tepid at best whilst Collen’s ‘Sea of Love’ is a bit rockier but there’s no huge hook to hang your hat on. Collen’s next contribution is worse still: ‘Energized’ is pure pop that could almost be Taylor Swift is so danceable; it could well be the worst song here.


Thankfully we are saved by ‘All Time High’ written by Elliott - its rockier and with a nice chorus it’s also got a lot more meat on the bone than most here and is certainly one of the real standouts of Def Leppard 2015.


Elsewhere to be honest it’s a mixed bag that never really hits the mark even if you can see sometimes where the band is aiming. ‘Def Leppard’ the album has the feel of a work that was brought together by individuals and you never really get that concise ‘band’ feeling, or even a sense that this is an album rather than a collection of tracks.


‘Battle of My Own’ is a rather nice slightly psychedelic acoustic number that almost gets there but ‘Broke ‘N Brokenhearted’ just washes by like a pop meets country rock outtake. Others try hard like ‘Forever Young’ a mid-tempo rocker that is just too nondescript; whilst Savage’s ‘Last Dance’ is a forgettable lukewarm ballad.


Another of the standouts though comes late on: ‘Wings of an Angel’ starts heavy, mellows fast and has an almost a ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ feel  with a lilting Def Leppard trademark  chorus, it’s almost bordering on very good indeed. Indeed it makes you wonder what the album would have been like if all songs had been written by the band as a whole.


It’s a similar story with ‘Blind Faith’ the closer, it may be another slow meander, but the blues guitar backed voice (like ELO meets Beatles) sort of grabs you, it may be a bit dull for some but it’s another song penned by all of the primary song-writers that shows that at their best Leppard write as a band.


Sure as Collen has said it’s a diverse album, but sadly that’s where this one falls down for us. It’s hard to see any of these songs lasting the test of time but ‘Let’s Go’ and ‘Dangerous’ made it into the live set this year and may well be the best two here, though Elliott’s ‘All Time High’ should possibly have made it too. Diversity is sometimes a wonderful thing, but listening to ‘Def Leppard’ it’s clear that some bands need a hand at quality control.

 

READ OUR REVIEW OF DEF LEPPARD LIVE IN NOVEMBER 2015 HERE

 

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

 


 

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