How many stars?: Def Leppard’s “Diamond Star Halos” album review


Mike Singer, Music Manager

Since 2015, Def Leppard entered the studio to record their 12th studio album.

 The band consists of Joe Elliot on lead vocals, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell on guitars, Rick Savage on bass, and Rick Allen on drums.

 Just because they have had the same lineup since 1992, doesn’t mean that every record will be a smash hit.

 I will start off by saying that Elliot is a great lead vocalist, and his voice has stood strong throughout time and has lasted longer than most lead singers from that era.

 The record from start to finish has a run time of one hour and two minutes which is a bit lengthy and is just a little longer compared to the band’s 1987 hugely successful record, “Hysteria.”

 The album’s 15 songs seem a bit much, but the band has never had a tracklist under ten songs. The longest record from the band was the 1996 record “Slang” which had 17 songs.

 Let’s start with the positives for the record first.

 The first positive is that the record contains some really catchy choruses on songs like “Take What You Want,” “Kick,” and finally “Fire It Up.” 

 Some of the most notable songs on the record, on top of the three I just mentioned are “U Rok Mi,” “Gimme A Kiss,” “Open Your Eyes,” “SOS Emergency,” and “Liquid Dust.” My favorite is “Open Your Eyes,” which contains a very heavy Rick Savage bass line.

 Those eight songs that I mentioned are the only songs that the band included on the record that stick to their hard rock roots.

 Now for the bad news.

 The remaining nine songs on the record are pop-like and sound like they were written for radio. It seems like the band is trying to reach a bigger audience and have this record reach more people.

 For some of the hard rock/metal fans like myself, it feels like we are almost alienated. Def Leppard always had a softer rock sound than some of the other bands that grew up with them like Guns N’ Roses, Scorpions, or even Mötley Crüe. This, on the other hand, is on a whole new level in terms of the sound of the band.

 This could be pointed to the fact that guitarist Vivian Campbell didn’t write any songs on this record.

 “I just wasn’t prepared. I thought we were going on tour,” Campbell said to

 Prior to joining Def Leppard, Campbell played with Dio and Whitesnake so he has a major background in hard rock and metal. The one area that “Diamond Star Halos” is lacking.

 On the record, they brought in Alison Krauss who just released a record with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin for two songs.

 The first song on the record that Krauss appears on is “This Guitar.” In my opinion, it really doesn’t deserve to be on a rock and roll record, it sounds out of place and sounds like it belongs on a country record. 

 The second song, “Lifeless,” is a ballad. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rock ballad and Def Leppard has had their share of great rock ballads like “Hysteria,” “Love Bites,” and “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak,” yet “Lifeless” doesn’t live up to the other ballads in the band’s catalog and is well, somewhat lifeless.

 Def Leppard added more than one ballad on this record, they also have “Goodbye For Good This Time,” and “Angels (Can’t Help You Now).” Both songs on the record contain either an orchestra or a piano which doesn’t really give it a rock and roll feel if it’s just vocals and a piano and or an orchestra for four and a half to five minutes.

 I will give the band some credit as to the fact that they did record the album remotely and are about to go on tour with Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts but it might have been a better decision to release the record while on tour and or at a later date instead of trying to cram everything in before a huge summer tour.

 “[It was] the best thing we ever did. More creative, more creative control for the writing and even recording it,” Phil Collen said when he talked to

 I unfortunately disagree because of you have the entire band in the studio and they all write songs together then there can be a clear direction of where the record is headed. 

 To wrap up, I was extremely excited for this record to come out when the band released it but in the end, there are a lot more negatives than positives and a lot of confusion as to where the direction of the album is really headed. I really hope that if they make a new record, they’ll be able to bounce back and go back to their hard rock roots on their next record.


Overall Grade: 5