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Def Leppard - 2015 Def Leppard

ARTIST: Def Leppard
ALBUM: Def Leppard
LABEL: Bludgeon Riffola (UK), Ear Music
SERIAL: 0210740EMU
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Joe Elliot - vocals * Phil Collen - guitar * Vivian Campbell - guitar * Rick Savage - bass * Rick Allen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Let's Go * 02 Dangerous * 03 Man Enough * 04 We Belong * 05 Invincible * 06 Sea Of Love * 07 Energized * 08 All Time High * 09 Battle Of My Own * 10 Broken 'n' Brokenhearted * 11 Forever Young * 12 Last Dance * 13 Wings Of An Angel * 14 Blind Faith



The last time Def Leppard did anything remotely memorable was 1999's 'Euphoria,' with everything since a putrid exercise in helping destroy a one-time legend. Then again there hasn't been much, just two forgettable studio albums, 2002's shocking 'X' and the mess that was 'Songs From the Sparkle Lounge.' There was also a filler covers set and appalling live album to fill the gaps, which left many wondering if the band was a done deal, including many here at Glory Daze. Realizing this malaise the band has gone back to the drawing board and recorded an album which revisits the 'Hysteria' era in certain parts, perhaps a last ditch attempt to salvage the remnants of the last 15 years or so. With 14 tracks there's a lot to digest, some of it works and the rest is best ignored, almost a time capsule of the bands history, the good and bad.

The Songs
'Let's Go' - Wisely Leppard open proceedings with 'Let's Go' and its riff which transports us back to 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' leading us to believe 'they're back.' The chorus is as radio friendly as it gets and to me seems at odds with the riff itself, almost a token inclusion. Some of the guitar work recalls Queen, but overall an acceptable song by their faltering standards as of late.

'Dangerous' - The best track by a mile, entirely based on late 80's glory, with a chorus even I admit was hard to shake from my head after a few listens. Elliot's vocals clearly lack the power of the 80's, but musically this will leave aging rockers in some type of hard rock heaven. The much vaunted vocal harmonies which made the band huge are in full effect.

'Man Enough' - What this represents I'm unsure, perhaps a modern day twist on 'Make Love Like A Man' if anything. A prominent bass line mixes with moderately heavy riffs and Elliot's throwback lyrics about roughing it up with some tart. A novelty track in the context of things and very sparse instrument wise.

'We Belong' - A ballad was inevitable and here's the first of plenty, returning to the dreaded sound of 'X.' It's all very stirring and unifying, but it's Leppard at their most wimp and something I can barely tolerate these days.

'Invincible' - The opening bars of this track remind me of some new-wave band from 1981, whether by design on Leppard's part or not I'm not sure. It's a ready-made anthem, with a chorus made for an uplifting film, but it doesn't really fit in to any part of the bands history.

'Sea Of Love' - Not another Honeydrippers cover, but a saucy rocker with elements of the 80's mixed in with the 90's, heavier but somehow not quite palatable. The chorus is far less addictive than the verses.

'Energized' - This is the Leppard many of us have come to loathe, with the weak, barely hard rock sound that signaled their downfall back in 2002. The processed drum beats are uncalled for and this is one to skip every time.

'All Time High' - Another rocker with a decent hook and shows the band can still rock when the urge takes them, but not one I'll be revisiting with regularity.

'Battle Of My Own' - This acoustic dirge seems to be channeling Led Zeppelin, with sickening Beatles type harmonies intended to recall 1968 I assume. By this point of the album I'm guessing Leppard have pulled a fast one on the fans with this album.

'Broken 'n' Brokenhearted' - Another attempt to relive the 80's in the chorus, but not as much in the buildup. Just another song.

'Forever Young' - Leppard become the millionth band to use this song title, again throwing in shades of the 80's with a modern touch, competent enough, but at only two minutes long you wonder why they even bothered.

'Last Dance' - Touching acoustic ballad anyone? Not me.

'Wings Of An Angel' - By this point the album's become a bit of a marathon and this average rocker is as anonymous as most of the album. Again it has the 80's sheen in the chorus, meant no doubt to appeal to the few left listening from that era.

'Blind Faith' - Another worn out title and ballad to suit. This is deadly dull and insufferable, take my word for it. It's another attempt at a psychedelic Beatles track and it's just the pits.

In Summary
Leppard said this would be their most diverse album to date and based on the evidence they weren't lying, but as I stated earlier I believe they've successfully deceived everyone. By placing the two most blatant 80's throwbacks as the opening tracks and releasing them as singles they led many to believe the entire album was similar, which it obviously isn't. They fooled me initially, but after digesting this for a few weeks I'd have to say it's barely better than their last two albums. Some may disagree and claim this is their best work in some time, but it's more a case of clever marketing than reality. The fact this sold only 30,000 copies in its first week shows how far Leppard have slipped. I know album sales are atrocious for every act these days, but if you'd told me 20 years ago Slayer would sell more than Leppard in first-week sales I'd have declared you insane. That's how pear shaped the music industry is now, Leppard reaping the rewards of 20 years of mediocrity.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on November 15 2015 12:39:52
I agree, especially about 'Let's Go' and the chorus being at odds with the riff where Leppard rip off themselves. Great review.
#2 | roadrunner158 on November 16 2015 10:05:51
Was really looking forward to this release due to all the positive reviews. I am so glad I listened to it on Spotify before buying - it's not bad by any means, but totally mediocre. Not worth the hype.
#3 | gdazegod on November 16 2015 19:21:50
Def Leppard are in Melbourne today, and they play the Rod Laver Arena tomorrow night. Have seen stuff all promotion for this tour here in Australia. Nothing on TV, nor radio. These guys may as well be invisible.
#4 | dangerzone on November 16 2015 19:40:15
It's taken them 34 years to go from 'Let it Go' to 'Let's Go.' These guys should have broken up when Steve Clark died.
#5 | gdazegod on November 19 2015 19:31:40
Def Leppard - 2015 Let's Go (Official Video)
#6 | Evgen80 on November 24 2015 02:21:01
Great group, really like their work.
#7 | jeffrey343 on January 01 2016 17:16:58
It took me a while to get to this album, as reviews were all over the place. And many mentioned the diversity of this album, which also didn't cause me to rush out and give it a listen. Add that to the fact I haven't really done much with DL since 'Adrenalize'. Well, I have to say that this is turning out to be a very pleasant surprise to me. One thing you can't say about this album is that it's 'samey', as the diversity is very evident throughout. Elliot sounds surprisingly good for a guy who screamed his throat out regularly 30 years ago. I'm sure it helps that he's not going full throttle much on this one.

Really, this one really works very well for me. I'm in the camp of folks who really like this. It sounds nothing like the guys who gave us 'High and Dry' and 'Pyromania' over 30 years ago, to be sure, and that's where my memories with this band tend to lie. But I can see this one being a frequent listen for a while.
#8 | Jez on February 02 2016 12:47:30
Another album that has grown with subsequent listens and one that very nearly crept into my top 5. This is good, very good indeed with 'Dangerous' 'All Time High' and 'We Belong' being as good as anything they have done in the last 20 years and with only a couple of tunes letting the side down, it is the most consistent DL album since 'Adrenalize'.

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