Written by Alex Stojanovic
Take What You Want
Fire It Up
This Guitar (feat. Alison Krauss)
U Rok Mi
Goodbye For Good This Time
All We Need
Open Your Eyes
Gimme A Kiss
Angels (Can't Help You Now)
Lifeless (feat. Alison Krauss)
From Here To Eternity
DEF LEPPARD IS:
Joe Elliott - Vocals
Rik "Sav" Savage - Bass & backing vocals
Rick Allen - Drums & percussion
Phil Collen - Guitars & backing vocals
Vivian Campbell - Guitars & backing vocals
In the case of Def Leppard, they could easily fill up an entire setlist with a majority of the songs being from Pyromania and Hysteria, with some of the mandatory ones from High 'N Dry and Adrenalize, and they would have a hugely successful tour. I've been listening to Def Leppard for 2 decades now, but I've only seen them live once back in 2007. Whether you're a fan of them or not, they are worthy of all the applause in the world for being able to survive through all the drama and tragedy they faced throughout their 4 decades of existence, from the sell-out accusations from the British press in the early days and Rick Allen's accident, to the passing of Steve Clark and their struggles throughout the 90s during grunge's dominance. Ever since re-establishing themselves and their history in the 2000s, they continue to tour every year, and release new records when they feel the time is right.
As we sit here in 2022, the band have arrived at album #12 with Diamond Star Halos. Written during the Covid pandemic, it was released at the right time, because it aligned with the Stadium Tour they're currently on with Motley Crue, Poison and Joan Jett, which was postponed twice since 2020. Just like each record that came out since Euphoria, we get the mix of the party rock 'n roll anthems, the ballads, some chunky groovers, and songs that stretch out into different territories. Opening with "Take What You Want", "Kick" and "Fire It Up", this triple shot is a great reminder of why Def Leppard became one of the biggest bands of all time. "Take What You Want" might be one of the best songs the band have composed in a long time. The main riff immediately pulls you in with it's huge hook, but it doesn't stop there. When you have a song where every part could be a chorus, you got a song with staying power, and "Take What You Want" is a perfect example of that.
My only complaint shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read my reviews, and that is the amount of songs. There's a line between being generous and being overly generous, and with 15 songs, Diamond Star Halos leans towards the latter. At this point, Def Leppard songs hover around slow and mid-tempo. If they cut out 4-5 songs, and included a couple of faster songs in the vein of "Rock Rock 'Til You Drop", "Stagefright" and "Hello America", the album would've held up much stronger. With the 15-song total, it felt like they were trying to stuff 40 lbs of stuff into a bag that's 5 lbs, and instead of leaving me wanting more, which is the point of an album, I actually had somewhat of a "finally, it's over" moment at the end. The album begins and ends strongly, while everything in between fluctuates quite a bit. You have songs like "SOS Emergency", "Gimme A Kiss" and "Lifeless", which are all strong, but songs like "Goodbye For Good This Time", "Angels", "This Guitar" and "Unbreakable" all fall rather flat. I would say that the lack of some more quicker-paced songs is the real reason why the entire album doesn't hold up as strong.
Joe Elliott is still singing great. He may have some trouble with some of the older songs live, but he's still at a point where he can pull it off. unlike some other people in the business, who shall remain unnamed, but I think we all know who I may be referring to. The band work really hard in making sure that they can all deliver the best live performance they can, all while keeping the vocals 100% real. Even if the vocals aren't 100% perfect in a live setting (which they shouldn't always be), you have to hand it to Joe, Phil Collen, Vivian Campbell and Rik Savage for taking their vocal craft seriously. Even with its flaws, Diamond Star Halos is proof that after 4 decades, there's still plenty of fuel in the tank for Def Leppard. With the record out, and the Stadium Tour in full swing, they're showing no sign of slowing down. Long may the British legends continue.
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