Def Leppard - Diamond Star Halos

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Def Leppard has had enough hits that they could live on their laurels if they wanted to; tour once a year playing "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and the others and fans would be happy with that. But this is a band that's far from finished with their muse as their excellent new album Diamond Star Halos proves.

The songs on this generous 15-cut effort are varied in style and the band should be commended for not being formulaic and trying to make everything sound like the days of old. What the new set does have in common with the old days is that Def Leppard still has an incredible talent for crafting hooks and singalong choruses, like on the sublime mid-tempo "All I Need," the big arena rocker "Take What You Want" that's perfectly-made for today's hard rock radio and most especially the super catchy "Kick" which has a glam feeling to it, a nod to the era when T Rex ruled the airwaves; album title Diamond Star Halos is taken from the lyrics to the T Rex hit "Bang a Gong (Get it On)."

Chock full of highlights, Diamond Star Halos features gems like "Fire it Up," instantly recognizable as Def Leppard and something that could easily be from the band's early heyday, the quiet and bluesy ballad "This Guitar" where many fans will relate to the lyric "This guitar saved my life," and the fast and frantic "SOS Emergency." "Liquid Dust" is another charmer; it's impossible not to sway to the cut while joining in on the simple chorus of "liquid dust, liquid dust..." and fans should be aware that the song will dig in as a major earworm. Another quiet moment comes with the sad and orchestrated "Goodbye for Good This Time" while "All We Need" seems a little U2-ish at first but is all Leppard as the song gets going. Plenty of airplay is in the cards for future classic "Gimme a Kiss" where again a little glam creeps into the arrangement. "Lifeless" is a great pop cut co-written with Alison Krauss (she also co-penned the aforementioned "This Guitar" and she sings with Leppard front man Joe Elliot on both.)

The album ends with "From Here to Eternity" where there are many Beatles-esque stylings, and wherever and whenever eternity is, Diamond Star Halos intimates that Def Leppard will be there rocking out.


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