WORDS: James Weaver
To say that DEF LEPPARD are a household name in rock music is quite an understatement. It’s been a long time since they burst onto the scene in 1977 and nearly four decades later, and a million records sold worldwide, the band are one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. Their self titled eleventh record, Def Leppard, is finally here after a seven year wait. But does this new offering by one of the old guard of rock still uphold the band in the highest calibre of musicians?
If you are familiar with DEF LEPPARD, and you should be if you have the remotest of interests in rock music, then this record will sit comfortably indeed. Opening track Let’s Go slowly unfolds before pummelling into the classic style of the band; powerful hitting guitar work and roaring vocals from Joe Elliot.
From the offset, Def Leppard mark their musical intent, to continue the formula that has made them so successful. Dangerous is one of the catchiest songs on the record, with intoxicating opening riffwork from Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell all whilst keeping to a steady hard rock rhythm. Joe Elliot‘s vocals resemble that of a phoenix, rising above the fire of the music with his signature tone hitting the right vibe with the slick backing vocals.
Whilst it may be easy for bands of DEF LEPPARD‘s calibre to slack off with new records, you certainly get the feeling that this record is jam-packed full of quality. The band have gone above and beyond to make an album of true quality and containing enough diversity to really let the record flow. Man Enough‘s groovy bass tones allow the track to really stand on it’s own two feet that show the band’s varying approach to the rock genre, Invincible oozes in the feel of 80s feel good rock whilst We Belong presents itself as a typical DEF LEPPARD ballad. Not that this is a bad thing at all, as the massive chorus really immerses the listener into the emotion-driven vocal performance.
For all of its quality, unfortunately there are moments where the impact of the record slacks off. The last three tracks of the record, (Last Dance, Wings of an Angel, Blind Faith) are easily the weakest songs on the record and it ultimately gives the final moments of Def Leppard ending rather lacklustre. It’s a shame as up to that point, DEF LEPPARD have taken you on a real journey of self-discovery through classic rock and roll.
For a band that is approaching 40 years, it is quite remarkable just how good Def Leppard is. Whilst most bands in their age bracket are throwing in the towel, DEF LEPPARD roar on with a very strong new addition to their discography. It may not enjoy the same commercial success as Animal or Pour Some Sugar On Me but for this is a album for the fans. Phil Collen stated that he believes that Def Leppard is the best album the band has made since Hysteria, and after a few spins you may just agree with him.
Def Leppard is set for release on October 30th via earMUSIC