They gave us songs like Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard are truly hard rock and glam metal legends. The British band is releasing a new album on 27th May 2022. I had the opportunity to listen to Diamond Star Halos briefly before the release. The press information to the album quotes Joe Elliott with “I would say that we delivered the perfect album”. That’s definitely another reason to have a deeper listen. Here are my thoughts.
Def Leppard – About The Artists
Def Leppard has been formed in Sheffield in 1977. They were originally named Atomic Mass, but soon changed to the nowdays well-known name. Rick Savage (bass, keyboards) and Joe Elliott are founding members of the band still active. The last change in the Def Leppard lineup has been in 1992, when guitarist Vivian Campbell joined the band. Rick Allen (drums, since 1978) and Phil Collen (guitars, since 1982) are completing the lineup.
Already their debut album, On Through The Night (1980) had quite some success by peaking 15th in the UK. Their breakthrough albums, also on international level, however, were their third and fourth release, Pyromania (1983) and Hysteria (1987). For example, both albums received a Diamond record in the USA (at least ten times platinum). Hysteria was a album chart-topper in Australia, Norway, New Zealand and, of course, in the United Kingdom and the USA. Since then, Def Leppard albums regularly peak high in the charts, even though their chart placements cannot connect to the 1980’s and early 1990’s any more. Despite the long band history, Diamond Star Halos is just the band’s twelfth studio album, the last one being Def Leppard in 2015.
Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos – Track by Track
The 15 tracks album lasts 61 minutes.
1. Take What You Want
The album opens with the three songs which have been released as single. Take What You Want allows the listener to have a rather slow start, but then the guitars are doing what you need them for. The full glam power is inflating and Def Leppard feel to take you back to their big 1980’s songs. Not as good as the good, old Sugar anthem or Let’s Get Rocked, but a great rocking opener.
Kick was the amuse guele, the appetizer which was released to heat up the fans. The first single release of the album comes a great, almost blues rock alike groove. You just feel so much fun while listening to that one. Made to party with the Sheffield guys, 44 years after their Day 1.
3. Fire It Up
Fire It Up might feel a bit simple – but, hey, their third single release of the album just rocks. So far, Joe Elliott could be right about the perfect album – but there are still twelve more reasons for that to come.
4. This Guitar (feat. Alison Krauss)
It might feel a bit of surprising that there are two collaborations with Alison Krauss on the album. Indeed, Krauss is a 27 time Grammy Award winner, but she is rather well known for country and bluegrass music. And indeed, This Guitar feels a lot like Krauss’ musical home grounds with a slight Def Leppard texture. And it is a real beauty in lyrics as well.
You’re my shoulder to cry on
You’re the best of best friends
You put five of my fingers
You pour joy to no end
My brother, my sister
My love of my life
It’s crazy I know
But this guitar saved my life.
5. SOS Emergency
After this emotional country-style ballad, SOS Emergency goes back to glam and to rock. Straight, good song, which is also beautifully made for big stage shows.
6. Liquid Dust
Liquid Dust turns down the guitar volume significantly. The song reminds me of David Bowie recordings. Similar to This Guitar, a rather interesting touch added to the album.
7. U Rok Mi
The seventh song is also a very interesting one. The song is mainly driven by Rick Allen on the drums and Rick Savage’s bass in some parts, but then explodes like a glam rock bomb in the chorus. Very basic recording, cool.
8. Goodbye For Good This Time
String sounds and piano-alike keyboard tunes at the beginning of this one. The piano tunes are played by Mike Garson, pianist of David Bowie, by the way. Nice, quiet moment, which you might not expect on a Def Leppard record at first sight.
9. All We Need
This one feels like a classic late 1980’s rocker to me. Europe, U2 and some others could have played these tunes as well in that era. But in fact it is Def Leppard some 35 years later. It still feels good.
10. Open Your Eyes
Great bass work on Open Your Eyes. The dark tone groove just gives you the right foundation to the typical Def Leppard tunes put on top. One of my favorites of the album.
11. Gimme A Kiss
Gimme a kiss that rocks – I could just state these two chorus lines and go to the next song. That’s Def Leppard glam rock fun at full force. Great one.
12. Angels (Can’t Help You Now)
Angels (Can’t Help You Know) is an amazing ballad, which has a nice ballad between lovely piano and orchestra sounds and guitar elements. One of the must-listens on the album.
13. Lifeless (feat. Alison Krauss)
Alison Krauss is back on the album. She feels very present on the vocal side here, which turns the pop-alike track to something special. However, there is no second chance for a Def Leppard country track on this album.
Unbreakable is not as loud and powerful as other songs on the album. Thus, it almost feels a bit hidden and mousy. In fact, it is a good listen with a nice chorus, though.
15. From Here To Eternity
The English rockers likely wanted to make sure that you keep the album in mind – From Here To Eternity (5:39 minutes) is the longest song on the album. And it is coming with a lot of rock, bombastic sounds. Great song at the end of these fifteen songs.
Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos – My View
Sorry, Joe Elliott! Diamond Star Halos is not a perfect album to me. There are even some 2022 recordings I would rate to be closer to that certification than Diamond Star Halos. But: these fifteen songs form a damn nice rocker – and even have a four minute episode of being a really good country music listen. I do love it – even though the very top spots in my rock album heaven are not in danger. This Def Leppard one is a must-listen for rock lovers.
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