Def Leppard // ‘Adrenelize’ / ‘Euphoria’ // Vinyl Album Re-Issue

Two key albums in the career of the Sheffield rockers, these new vinyl reissues give the chance to view the releases that bookended what was a time that some consider their wilderness years. From outside of the hubris, this re-evaluation is a timely one with the quintet having just brought out their best album in years with ‘Diamond Star Halos’ and sees them currently on a giant tour of stadiums across America.

Following up the multi-platinum ‘Hysteria’ was going to be a tall order, the Mutt Lange produced monster casting a huge shadow. Making things harder still was the shattering death of guitarist Steve Clark during the writing of fifth album ‘Adrenelize’. Whilst the production of ‘Hysteria’ was glacially slow due to the painstaking methods of Lange, this new opus was also a difficult birthing process, the loss of their friend and the adjustment of working with new producer Mike Shipley a huge mountain to climb.

For all the obstacles, ‘Adrenelize’ stands a proud moment in Leppard’s canon, the band working as a quartet bringing together a set of songs that continue and expand on their success. In general, overall sound and feel it’s ‘Hysteria: Part 2’, the gleaming chrome of the harmonies, huge hooks and big guitars all present and correct. The band had found their groove and were sticking to it, something that a handful of critics said was an error, this new release being a laboured pastiche of what had gone before.

The truth was though that they’d battled the odds, coming through trials with a renewed confidence, resilience and determination, the new album a declaration that they were surefooted survivors. The album is scattered with gems, the dumb but fun ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and ‘Make Love Like A Man’ just two of the several singles released from it, the former in particular being made for stadiums and radio. Whilst the early, somewhat parochial, accusations that the raw and exciting band from South Yorkshire had sold out by putting a track called ‘Hello America’ on their ‘On Through The Night’ debut, this true embrace of a style that had become huge in the States was paying dividends for the band.

Scratch beneath the glossy surface and the two most outstanding tracks are ballad ‘Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad’ and the powerful ‘White Lightning’, the former showing that Leppard had tightened their ability to add subtle colours even more and the latter a touching tribute to Steve Clark. More hits than misses, the album again struck a chord with fans all over the world, the sales huge and the legacy of both the band, Clark and ‘Hysteria’ continued in no uncertain fashion.

The next couple of moves seemed to be more like tiding the band over whilst they took a breather from their punishing routine, ‘Retro Active’ tying up loose ends from Clark’s era and a greatest hits compilation. When the band came back with ‘Slang’ it found them in a state of personal and public flux, big issues in the lives of the members and the arrival of grunge throwing a shadow across their world. A darker, rawer, more introspective Def Leppard emerged and it wasn’t quite ticking the boxes as much as the older material for the American market, whilst still doing good business across the globe. It was time to hit the reset button and ‘Euphoria’ was the result.

A return to form and the style that brought them platinum sales, the album was full of the much-loved tropes of big, glossy hooks, singalong choruses and loud guitars. From opener ‘Demolition Man’ onwards it was back to business as usual, the fraught atmosphere and experimental side of ‘Slang’ a distant memory. When viewed with fresh eyes some twenty-two years later, the album stands up well against the rest of their output, the band sounding like they’d regained their mojo and lovingly embraced their ‘sound’. Far from being a bad album, ‘Slang’ was just different and somewhat difficult but with ‘Euphoria’ Leppard were firing on all cylinders again, a band reborn.

From glittering rockers like the glam infused ‘21st Century Sha La La Girl’, the gentle pop of ‘It’s Only Love’, ballad ‘Goodbye’ and all the way to the classy hard rock of instrumental ‘Disintegrate’, there’s a lot to love. With Vivian Campbell getting fully embedded with the writing and a guest guitar solo on the opener by racing driver Damon Hill the fun was injected again as the band kicked open the doors on a new chapter. The following release, ‘X’, was another departure for the band but for now it was time to bathe in their full stadium-filling, radio friendly good time glory.

 

Paul Monkhouse

 

 

UMe will reissue Rock & Roll Hall of Fame® inductees Def Leppard’s multi-platinum selling 1992 album Adrenalize and 1999’s Euphoria on vinyl. This marks the first time Euphoria will be available on vinyl outside of 2019’s The Collection: Volume 2 box set. Both Adrenalize and Euphoria can be ordered, HERE (Adrenalize) and HERE (Euphoria)

ADRENALIZE

SIDE ONE

Let’s Get Rocked

Heaven Is

Make Love Like a Man

Tonight

White Lightning

SIDE TWO

Stand Up (Kick Love into Motion)

Personal Property

Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?

I Wanna Touch U

Tear It Down

EUPHORIA

SIDE ONE

Demolition Man

Promises

Back in Your Face

Goodbye

SIDE TWO

All Night

Paper Sun

It’s Only Love

SIDE THREE

21st Century Sha La La La Girl

To Be Alive

Disintegrate

SIDE FOUR

Guilty

Day After Day

Kings of Oblivion

2022 saw Rock and Roll Hall of Fame®-inducted icons and rock music legends Def Leppard release their twelfth full-length album, Diamond Star Halos. The critically acclaimedrelease is already being lauded as one of the bands finest albums. The three singles taken from the album so far – “Kick”, “Take What You Want” and “Fire It Up” have beenhighly celebrated by critics and fans alike.

 

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