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Saturday, October 24, 2015

CD-Review: Def Leppard - "Def Leppard"

It's been seven long years since Def Leppard released an album with new songmaterial. "Songs From The Sparkle Lounge" wasn't something longtime fans hoped for. By the end of this month Def Leppard will release their 11th, simply self-titled, album and it is the first one they recorded without having a record deal in the hindquarters. That means no one made the rules beside the guys themselves. If this fact marks a return to the bands roots? Let's find out!

I think it is not really necessary to introduce you to this living legend. With over 100 million albums sold Def Leppard belong to the list of bands who coined a whole genre in the last 38 years. But like many ohter bands who are active for such a long time their sound was permanentely in development - especially in the 90's where 80's Hard Rock wasn't in fashion anymore. So there are some more experimental records out there ("Slang", "X") beside those classics that made Def Leppard and their unique sound famous ("Hysteria", "Adrenalize", "Pyromania").

When the first single of the new album was revealed some weeks ago I was really satisfied. "Let's Go" sounds like something that could have been released during the "Adrenalize"-days, but with a riffing that reminds you instantly at the smash hit "Pour Some Sugar On Me". So "Let's Go" seems to be some kind of statement: "We are back with our origin sound." I simply love this song. It offers everything you want to hear from this band: great riffing, a fantastic solo, a catchy melody, big choirs and a huge sound. It's one of the best songs I've heard this year so far, but - and that is very important - it doesn't stand for the whole album.

Because of "Let's Go" and the second single "Dangerous" (which is also fantastic, classic Def Leppard stuff) you might think the whole album sounds this way, but you are definitely wrong - and this is the little problem I have. PR and band want you to believe this, but it's not. "Def Leppard" is an album that wants to please everyone: the die-hard fans from the beginning of their carreer as well as the fans who loved the more modern stuff. The thing is: because of this fact neither of the two groups will be completely satisfied with the album as a whole. On the other hand that leads to  much more variety, which is a good thing. 

Beside "Let's Go" and "Dangerous" you've some more straight-forward rocker in good old Def Leppard fashion like "All Time High", "Invincible", "Sea Of Love" and "Energized". All those tracks belong to the best songs Def Leppard have written in the last 15 years, but at the same time you have some very experimental songs on this album. The best example is "Man Enough". With its funky beat it feels really out of place, although it has a kick-ass riff and a huge bassline to offer. Reminded me at some kind of disco-tune, it definitely sounds weird until the riff kicks in. Also "Battle Of My Own" sounds a bit bulky and not that traditional as well as the hard rockin' "Wings Of An Angel", which is something more modernised. And with "We Belong", "Blind Faith" and "Last Dance" (beautiful ballad with great atmosphere) there are also some very calm moments on this album.

What really stands out on this album is the production. The sound is enourmous. To me it's the best sounding record this year so far. The rhythm section is excellent as well as the guitar work by Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen. Joe Elliott sounds much stronger than on previous records. So therefore thumbs up! Fantastic work!

To come to an end: Def Leppard wanted to please every generation of fans with their new album and I think it would have been better to concentrate on one specific target group. But beside this, you'll get to hear a pretty good album with some of the best Def Leppard songs in years. On the other hand there are also some tracks you need to give a chance to grow on you. But nevertheless it's fact that this album is worth your money.



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

* best tracks