Def Leppard reached their zenith in the ‘80s with the release of Pyromania, followed a few years later by Hysteria, arguably their best album. Their latest effort is entitled Diamond Star Halos, borrowed from a line in T. Rex’s song, “Get It On.”
According to most accounts, the title was selected because it resounds with echoes of glam rock, which flow through the album. Of course, the band did the same thing back in 2006, when they released their album, Yeah. And Def Leppard’s music has always contained elements of glam rock to one degree or another, so it’s nothing new.
Diamond Star Halos encompasses 15-tracks, beginning with “Take What You Want,” full of stadium rock riffs, a song paralleling anything from Pyromania or Hysteria, meaning we’ve heard it before. The next two tracks, “Kick” and “Fire It Up,” deliver heavy glam rock essence rife with thick pop-rock washes of sound. “Fire It Up” emulates “Pour Some Sugar On Me” to an almost chilling extent.
“This Guitar” presents a radical change. A collaboration with Alison Krauss, the tune delivers undulating waves of roots-country flavors. Eschewing the band’s usual glossy production, the vocals of Elliot and Kraus merge to form delicious textures.
“Liquid Dust” features big guitars and thrumming essence, yet the chorus is weak and cheesy, pervaded by mediocre lyrics. “U Rock Mi” adds hints of funk-lite and then ramps up to gang-like vocal harmonies. Vaguely reminiscent of “Rock Of Ages,” the song’s temperament exudes lackluster energy.
“Goodbye For Good This Time,” a sickly-sweet song rife with melodramatic strings and Spanish-laced guitars, misses the mark by a mile. Whereas “All We Need” constitutes little more than sonic padding. “Lifeless,” the other good track on the album, once again features Alison Krauss, on what is surely a country-pop tune tinted with Def Leppard guitar nuances.
“Unbreakable” would fit perfectly on either Pyromania or Hysteria, with hefty guitars, radiant harmonies, and a lustrous chorus. The final track, “From Here To Eternity,” provides darker guitars pushing out deeper tones as dense harmonies pump out viscous filaments.
Diamond Star Halos falls well short of the Def Leppard of yesteryear. Except for the two songs with Alison Krauss, the album is over-produced and ponderous.