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Review by Paul Sabin for MPM

Def Leppard are somewhat of a British institution. They have weathered the many musical trends that have come and gone as well as enduring the death of Steve Clark and surviving the life changing injuries sustained by drummer, Rick Allen.

Against all odds they have developed a trademark sound and have many albums to be proud of under their belts. Now, never ones to take the easy route, they have released a sixteen-track album which sees them team up with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road studios.

`Turn To Dust’ starts the journey with violins and Eastern drum flavours ushering in the track. Joe Elliott’s vocals are as sassy and strong as ever, but the strings really add another dimension here. `Paper Sun’ is an absolute monster as Rick Allen’s drum beat sync with plucked violins and harmonised vocals. Is it just me or does this now have a bond theme air to it?

Perhaps one of the bands most well known songs, `Animal’ comes up for the orchestral treatment next. Elliott’s vocal is the same tempo and the original, but the serene strings and kettle drums make this a much slower but more intense sounding track which is punctuated by Phil Collen’s brief guitar solo. `Pour Some Sugar On Me’ see Emm Gryner duet with Elliott and turn the track into a Jazz Blues ballad with all drums and guitars ripped out. This is about as far away from the original as you can get.

Normal service is resumed with `Hysteria’ as the full electric band kicks in and is underpinned by the RPO strings. `Love Bites’ is as good as the original, if not better as the extra depth of the orchestral arrangement refreshes and enhances an already great track.

`Goodbye For Good This Time’ becomes a piano led epic of cinematic proportions as passion pours from Elliott’s voice. `Love’ gets a similar treatment but with an acoustic guitar and violins taking the lead on this rousing ballad.

A military feel is in full effect on `Gods Of War’ as what sounds like a battalion of drummers start the track before we morph int the more recognisable sound of this song, but this time bolstered by strings and brass. The Twin guitar sound of `Bringin’ On The Heartbreak’ kicks in ahead of a strong string backbone. This is another song that really benefits from the added orchestral muscle whilst Campbell and Collen still get to let their guitars ring through.

The fabulous instrumental, `Switch 625’ unleashes its full force as both band and orchestra pull out all the stops here. What a spellbinding track. `Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad’ follows in a format close to the original release.

`Too Late For Love’ and `When Love And Hate Collide’ both take on the mantle of AOR goliaths as these songs exhibit a huge soundscape.

Album closer, `Kings Of The World’ borrows heavily on Queens, `Bohemian Rhapsody’ sound as piano, harmonised vocals, screaming guitars and soaring strings make this track the jewel in the crown.

It was a brave move to do this album, and diehard fans may struggle with some of the tracks as they are so far removed from the originals sound, but for the most part they all gain a new life and perspective from the new arrangements and orchestral additions. May I be so bold as to suggest a volume two with classic tracks that weren’t featured here such as `Let It Go’, `Photograph’ and `Rock Of Ages’???

Album track-listing as follows:
• Turn To Dust
• Paper Sun
• Animal
• Pour Some Sugar on Me (Stripped version)
• Hysteria
• Love Bites
• Goodbye For Good This Time
• Love 
• Gods Of War
• Angels (Can’t Help You Now)
• Bringin’ On the Heartbreak
• Switch 625
• Too Late for Love
• When Love & Hate Collide
• Kings Of the World
The vinyl and Atmos versions will also feature an exclusive bonus track:
• Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad


Order link: https://DefLeppard.lnk.to/ds-physicalpr 

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