Diamond Star Halos is the twelfth studio album by the English rock band Def Leppard. It was released on 27 May 2022 through Bludgeon Riffola and Mercury Records, and is the band's first studio album in nearly seven years since 2015's Def Leppard, the longest gap between albums in their career. The album takes its name from the 1971 T. Rex single "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" and includes imagery from Anton Corbijn, Maryam Malakpour, and Oliver and Joshua Munden.
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Sheffield rockers Def Leppard are about to embark on a huge co-headlining stadium tour of the US with fellow metallers Mötley Crüe. With support from Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, the twice-delayed 35-city jamboree will essentially be a festival of Eighties metal.
The Eighties was Def Leppard’s decade: they’ve sold over 20 million copies of 1987’s Hysteria, a monster of an album that spawned seven hits including Pour Some Sugar On Me and Animal. The album was so big that every track on its first side was released as a single. And it will be songs from Hysteria that the one million (and counting) attendees of The Stadium Tour will want to hear. No pressure, then, on the songs from the band’s new album, Diamond Star Halos, that will inevitably get an airing on the road.
It will be of little surprise to followers of Def Leppard that their twelfth album doesn’t mess with the formula (they tried that once, on 1996’s interesting flop Slang). The name Diamond Star Halos comes from the T. Rex song Bang A Gong (Get It On) – an influence on the band – but in all honesty there’s not much T. Rex to be heard in the music. The vast majority of the tracks stick to the band’s tried and tested formula of shiny, crunching mid-paced rock with half-spoken-half-sung lyrics from Joe Elliott and layer-upon-layer of multi-tracked backing vocals. The choruses on songs such as Kick and Fire It Up are suitably huge (their PR blurb describes the first song as an “anthemic stadium-ready frenzy”, and it’s not far off). You can imagine these songs going down a treat in the balmy open-air vastness of the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland or the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
But there are some fascinating curveballs here too. Bluegrass-country giant Alison Krauss (currently touring with former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant) guests on two tracks, the best of which is This Guitar. It’s a subtle (by Def Leppard standards) ballad that could well turn out to be a smash in the Nashville country charts. And David Bowie’s long-time pianist Mike Garson adds depth to two tracks. One of these, Goodbye For Good This Time, is a symphonic epic that sounds oddly like the Manic Street Preachers. It’s great, although whether it’ll have them punching the air in the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis remains to be seen.
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