Review: Def Leppard self-titled

Veteran British rockers Def Leppard have just released their new self-titled album for earMUSIC. Def Leppard is the band’s 11th studio album and for the fans that knew the band still had another album as majestic as the ones from their 80’s heyday in them your wait is over, as the new album is easily the best thing they have done since Hysteria. Def Leppard is the band’s first studio album since 2008’s Songs from the Sparkle Lounge. The longest gap between albums in the band’s history and was well worth the wait. It was recorded by the band at Joe Elliott’s home studio in Dublin and is their seventh album to debut in the Top Ten. The affair kicks off with what is without a doubt the band’s best song since the days when Hysteria ruled the airwaves. Lead single and video “Let’s Go” is essentially “Pour Some Sugar on Me” Part II. It in itself makes the album worth owning, but there is still so much vintage sound Leppard yet to come. The second single for the album “Dangerous” keeps that return to the classic sound going, coming across like an outtake from the High N Dry sessions, while “We Belong” is a slow burner that falls somewhere between “Animal” and “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” sonically and features lead vocals from all five band members, including drummer Rick Allen. To give the album a sense of balance, tracks such as “Invincible” and “Sea of Love” see the band tapping into the more experimental side of their sound, like they did on Slang  and “Man Enough” is driven by a tasty little bass line similar to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” that would make Freddy Mercury proud. Elsewhere, “All Time High” and “Wings of An Angel” take their cues from Retroactive/Adrenalize era Def Leppard and you can feel the spirit of Steve Clarke in their hook laden choruses. Whereas “Broken ‘N’ Brokenhearted” and “Forever Young” are mid-tempo rockers that channel the band’s early 70’s influences. Further contrast can be found in the Songs From the Sparkle Lounge vibe of “Energized,” the harmonies of “Battle of My Own,” which are more Extreme than they are Def Leppard and “Last Dance,” which is one of the band’s most ambitious to date and winds up being one of the albums biggest and best surprises. Saving the very best surprise for last, the Beatlesesque “Blind Faith” closes the album as brilliantly as it began in the epic fashion of the Beatles landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Here’s the bottom line. There is more than enough vintage sounding songs on Def Leppard to make even the most discerning of fans happy and those songs that don’t follow the classic formula are so infectious in their own right, that you won’t care. 8.5 out of 10. -Eric Hunker