Life couldn’t be much better for Def Leppard at the moment. Currently riding high on the back of great reviews of their new album Diamond Star Halos and absolutely killing it on The Stadium Tour in America, not many would begrudge this often cursed band a run of good luck.
Def Leppard Vinyl – Adrenalize and Euphoria
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Brian Boyle
The reissue of the Adrenalize and Euphoria albums and their contrasting fortunes takes you back to the Def Leppard of the last century, and to sweeten the deal, they come in vinyl format.
We all know the drama and tragedy that surrounded the Hysteria album, the fall and rise of Rick Allen following a horrific car accident, and the ill-fated recruitment of the eccentric Jim Steinman to produce its follow-up. And following its groundbreaking quality was never going to be an easy task. But once again, tragedy reared its head when guitarist Steve Clark fatally succumbed to his addictions, thus leaving the band heartbroken and in creative limbo.
Thankfully Clark’s Terror Twin Phil Collen fought through untold grief to record all the guitar parts on what was to become the seven million-selling Adrenalize. With no Mutt Lange cracking the whip, the late Mike Shipley took on production duties and did a bloody fine job.
The cheese-fest that is Let’s Get Rocked still sounds fresh as a daisy thirty years on, with Rick Savage’s pounding bass rattling your kneecaps. The tongue-in-cheek Make Love Like A Man always had a slight cringe factor with the ludicrous lyrics, but Leppard always makes it work, Pour Some Sugar On Me being another prime example.
As far as ballads go, everything post Hysteria will always be measured against the all-conquering Love Bites. But in fairness, Tonight and Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad more than stands their ground.
Rockers like the Clark tribute White Lightning and Personal Property benefit greatly from Shipley’s shrewd production and should be given a live runout. Hysteria reject and Animal b-side Tear It Down makes up the ten tracks which might seem a bit paltry compared to its big brothers twelve, but it’s still a timeless rock album.
By the mid-nineties, grunge was dining at the top table and bands of Leppard’s ilk were feeding off the scraps. So Joe and the boys decided to go down an uncharacteristically dark route with the Slang album, and while some loved it, some still haven’t forgiven them for it.
Realising what side their bread was buttered on, they returned with their tails between their legs with the more Leppard-sounding Euphoria album. Produced by Pete Woodroofe, it was the second album with Clark’s replacement Vivian Campbell, and this is the first time it’s been released on vinyl outside of 2019s The Collection: Volume 2 box set.
Far from a big seller, it’s still Leppard doing what they do best, massive vocal harmonies by the truckload and choruses dripping in everlasting hooks.
Explosive opener Demolition Man, which features Formula One legend Damon Hill doing the closing solo, is still a relentless wrecking ball, even on 180-gram vinyl. Promises is textbook Leppard, a ’90s Animal in many ways but unfortunately not as lauded. Paper Sun shows the sophisticated side to the band’s songwriting and a tune that could have sat perfectly on the Pyromania or Hysteria albums.
Ballads Tonight and It’s Only Love fall well short of the band’s high standards and just sound like contractual obligations. But tunes like Guilty and Kings Of Oblivion are joyous evidence of a band revelling in being back in their natural habitat.
If you’re immersed in the second coming of vinyl, Adrenalize and Euphoria are worthy spins on your turntable.
Let’s Get Rocked
Make Love Like a Man
Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)
Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?
I Wanna Touch U
Tear It Down
Back in Your Face
It’s Only Love
21st Century Sha La La La Girl
To Be Alive
Day After Day
Kings of Oblivion