Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos: Album Review

Def Leppard – you know what they do and they won’t disappoint the faithful again on Diamond Star Halos.

Release Date: 27th May 2022

Label: UMC / Mercury

Format: digital / CD (and deluxe) / vinyl (also deluxe and coloured)

Def Leppard. Great at what they do. In an ironic twist, they even did the tribute to themselves one time as Ded Flatbird during one of their Vegas residences. And any band that does a Vegas residency – well, it’s a long way from the steel grind of Sheffield and the City Hall of their hometown.

It’s been a while too, since Mutt Lange was on the teamlist as the sixth Leppard – going on twenty years now since he was polishing those mega hit gems – as they continue to delve into new songs whilst their live show is packed to the brim with songs from the Mutt years – Hysteria and the hits.

Keeping up the seven-year gaps between the last few albums, many may ask if new music from Def Leppard is still relevant. They may ask how many of these songs will get into the setlist alongside the fare that Leppard have traded over recent times. On the new set, we find a prime example of how Leppard wear their roots on their sleeves -Joe Elliott most notably, living the teenage dream with the Down N Outz. It’s openly on show in the opening ten minute Glam Rock spired flurry. A flashback to the days when us impressionable youngsters listened to Marc Bolan singing Get It On and wondering if we’d heard correctly, what on earth a hubcab diamond star halo was.

The descending guitar figure to the opening cut, Take What You Want, is straight from the glam rockers handbook and sounds familiar enough to be familiar without being able to put a finger on exactly what. To the point where it’s driving me a bit mad – suggestions on a postcard please.

The handclap rhythms in Kick seal the Pop Rock deal, making Hard Rock accessible for the older groovers in town – a big arena singalong sha-na-na to complete the package. and Fire It Up has another tinge of sugar-pouring familiarity – an audience participation chorus for maybe not the show opener but certainly a prime contender for second song in. A Bolan / T Rex for 2022 and not dissimilar in the way the song title is drawled to the oncoming Liquid Dust.

Those belters are balanced with a variety of Leppard-isms that see them heading into soft rock Eagles and moody mid-paced growers and the odd Gary Barlowesque big production ballads. The latter culminating in their bid (maybe) for a new Bond era with From Here To Eternity. Alison Krauss even shows up on a couple of tracks and while some may baulk at the thought, if her work with Robert Plant is any measure (albeit in a slightly different field) then why not?Throwing a brief curveball, is that a ukelele at the start of U Rok Mi ? Have we gone all crazee now with a Slade-esque titling? Joe donning the mirrored top hat and all?

After All We Need offers the ’22 take on Hysteria (the song), most boxes have been ticked if you’re played Def Leppard bingo. It’s all there – songs to nod your head at, songs to swing and groove to, and songs to put on a mixtape for someone you love. Polished and lush harmonies, shedloads of whoa-oh, oh yeah’s and stinging twin guitars.

One small beef at the fifteen tracks…a bit of judicious trimming might have got us down to a nine/ten-track (5 each side) LP that kicked in a more uncompromising fashion. I may not be the only one doing the odd skip of the old CD scanner although the vinyl revivalists and enthusiasts won’t necessarily be getting up to move the arm over.

Here’s Take What You Want:

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9 replies »

  1. You are obviously hallucinating and don’t know anything about music. This album has maybe 2 decent songs on it. A total failure! This is awful, and this band has now gone country, pop, R&B etc. Not a semblance of hard rock whatsoever. Just awful. They’re trying to be every band but Def Leppard. RIP Def Leppard

    • Dear Frankie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and we thank you for yours. However, it is unfair to say that one of our vastly experienced music writers knows ‘nothing’ about music. That is personal towards another person. If you read further around the site, you will see that, as a team, we know plenty about music. You might disagree with our opinion of this album, but please respect it.

  2. Your review of this album seemed sorely lacking. It’s like you simply wanted to give it an extremely cursory review, looking for positive connections to their past songs in selected tracks and then walk away without any grading, star rating, or any real evaluation statements for the album as a whole. You don’t answer your own question – does an album every seven years work for them?

    Take What You Want is a disappointment. It has a Leppard feel – almost formulae, but it never quite gets where its going. It’s almost hum-able, but not quite. Then in the middle, there was a short section that threw me into a Beatles’ mood that felt like a section of Dear Prudence or something. And lastly, the guitar solo was lackluster – nothing really special that jumps out and grabs you, as they’ve done in the past so often. And with TWO lead guitar solo virtuosos, on board, there’s just no excuse for such a bland, forgettable solo.

    • Dear Arthur,

      As we have stated in a couple of replies, everyone is entitled to their opinions. We thank you for yours.

      Across the website, we don’t offer gradings or star ratings as we don’t feel we should put a number on a band or artists art. We write positively and write about music we love – because we are a small team of music lovers who have a wide and varied taste in music.

  3. All of the people with negative reviews of a brilliant & challenging different album, I’d like to see you last the distance, go through the crap, knock downs but still go the distance to prove to themselves & the world that they are definitely the Greatest Band in the world. This new album & songs is the natural progression of brilliant musicians who write their songs & melodies! Seeming the album was done remotely due to lockdown, who are the critics to open their big mouths.
    Def Leppard have earned the right to write & play whatever they want. If you want to be negative Nannie’s then listen to some of todays music, they’ll be forgotten in 2 yrs but Def Leppard have done the hard yards & Diamond Star Halos is just another show of their musical brilliance. I dare you to do better!!! I’ve been a loyal fan since 1983 through the good and bad times, so keep your stale, old remarks to yourself.
    The album is brilliant, so are the band!!

    • Dear Mary-Anne,

      Thank you for your comment. We’re glad you like the album as much as we do. I think that when a band have been around as long as Def Leppard, as you say, they have the right to do what they want. It’s good to stick with a band; it’s worth the ride!

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