Def Leppard are back for their first studio album since the 2015 self-titled release.
Things to note about this album: Songwriting direction comes from Joe and Phil almost entirely. The album is a real mish-mash of styles, with influences from Adrenalize to X to Slang. There is no one dominant theme to the album and it’s all relatively mid-tempo’d. Joe’s voice is also a long way from its best and he sings within himself quite comfortably here, just don’t expect any old-school screams or vocal theatrics.
Despite the 7-year gap between records, many of the songs on Diamond Star Halos sound like they have been leftovers from past records.
For me there is a good 10 song record in amongst these tracks, but at 15 there are too many fillers and for that reason the album’s overall rating suffers. Too look at this album objectively, you have to get past the ‘oh my, its anew Def Leppard album’ hysteria first.
The album gets off to an energetic start, with 3 solid typical mid-tempo, mid-heaviness rockers – the type of song Def Leppard could write in their sleep.
The country tinged duet This Guitar (featuring Alison Krauss) totally kills momentum and is the first instant-skip for repeat album playthroughs. At 15 tracks, this was a bonus track if there was ever was one.
SOS Emergency gets things back on track with a cool pop/rock anthem, lead by a heavy riff that sadly doesn’t dominate through the song. A nice ‘Promises’ or Animal’ style commercial song.
Liquid Dust sounds like a Slang off-cut. I dig the vibe as I love that album, but the chorus here is a bit of a non-event.
The title U Rok MI is everything I hate about classic rock bands trying to sound cool. As much as I loved the band at the time, ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ was lame in 1992 and U Rok MI in 2022 is just juvenile. It’s another modern rocker with a Slang meets Adrenalize vibe.
Goodbye For Good This Time is a big sounding ballad, with some orchestral parts and an atmospheric feel, but the chorus does nothing for me and the melody just drags. Unusual for Def Leppard to fail to deliver when it comes to the ballads.
I like All We Need, which is a pleasant melodic feel good number, almost directly contrasted by the dark and moody, modern rocker Open Your Eyes, which I feel again suffers from lack of a good hook.
Gimmie A Kiss That Rocks is another silly title, but its nice to hear an uptempo song after several mid-tempo tracks. Old school Def Leppard here that might have sounded at home on Adrenalize.
Angels is another moody ballad. Its ok but lacks that knockout hook again.
The relatively slow Lifeless immediately sounds tinged with that American country influence and once again features Alison Krauss on duet vocals. Sorry, but no thanks.
Unbreakable and From Here To Eternity are both mid-tempo modern rockers with more Slang overtones. Still, both tracks are missing a knockout chorus and the dominance of slow to mid-tempo tracks on the album weight heavily on my enjoyment of the album.
All in all, just an average album for me. Half ok, half skippable or missing that certain spark the band used to deliver. It’s quite a moody/modern record after the first 3 tracks and I normally like that direction by the band. Here though, there is a serious lack of memorable choruses.
I went out and purchased a copy of the CD. I didn’t want the deluxe edition because the bonus tracks are only alt-versions and the packaging is a shitty digipack. So I went for the preferred jewel case, just a shame I couldn’t get the cover in colour that way. It won’t be an album that I return to rotation. If I’m going to listen to some Leppard, I’ll go with Pyromania, Hysteria, Slang and X.