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 CD Review: Def Leppard - "Slang" 
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Pokemon Ranger
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You all know Def Leppard, that group of New Wave of British Heavy Metal rockers who hit it big in the 80's with infectious pop-metal tracks such as "Photograph," "Armageddon It," and "Pour Some Sugar On Me." What you may NOT realize about Def Leppard is that, firstly, they are one of my favorite bands, and secondly, in 1996 they put out what at the time was a very experimental album that was mostly shunned by mainstream radio but is held very near and dear to the hearts of many Def Leppard enthusiasts. In fact, Kerrang! magazine named it one of 1996's 10 Best, despite the fact that the record did not spawn a single mainstream radio hit.

That record, my friends, is Slang. :D

I speak in this review mostly from a guitar player's perspective. If there has been any one album that has influenced my guitar playing more than another, it would have to be this one ("Abbey Road" is a close second). There is so much uniqueness on this album that I'm afraid my mere words will not do it the justice it deserves.

An Overview of "Slang"

1. TRUTH?
It begins with the very faint sound of acoustic fingerpicking, which fades in and explodes into a balls-to-the-wall rock track. One of the biggest reasons I love this album was because one-armed drummer Rick Allen finally returned to his acoustic drum set, and it's a good thing, too. The drums drive the angst-ridden verse into a sort of imploded-chorus, where guitarist Phil Collen uses a volume pedal to create beautiful guitar swells. He adds a brilliant solo, later.

2. TURN TO DUST Opens with the sound of a fire burning, and Rick Allen's drums slowly become audible. Providing the lead is an orchestra of Indian instruments. "Turn to Dust" is actually rather calm vocally, the lyrics dealing with meditation. A big, bold chorus with a Creed-ish kind of feel (of course, Creed wouldn't come along for years later) leads into another wondrous Phil Collen solo, then the outro, where guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell trade licks while the Indian orchestra plays its heart out.

3. SLANG The title track, an up-tempo pop-rock track with enough innuendo in the lyrics to make you blush. A very short track, at 2:37, but it never falters.

4. ALL I WANT IS EVERYTHING A hauntingly beautiful mellow number told from the perspective of a man dying with AIDS. The best lyrics vocalist Joe Elliot ever produced. The outro solo sets the mood perfectly.

5. WORK IT OUT Guitarist Vivian Campbell wrote this, my favorite Def Leppard track of all time. Rick Savage's funky bass into leads to a delay-heavy guitar part, and Joe Elliot singing in his lower register creates a chilling ambience. The bridge is one of the best ever written.

6. BREATHE A SIGH The absolute last thing you'd expect to hear out of the band that wrote "Pour Some Sugar On Me" in 1987. "Breathe" is a bluesy guitar lick behind five-part harmonies. The band admits being strongly influenced by Boyz 2 Men on this track, which sounds weird, but it turns out to be a beautiful song.

7. DELIVER ME Def Leppard + Nirvana = this song. Joe Elliot's lyrics are the angriest I've ever heard them, and the chorus is full of anger and spite. Phil Collen adds a wah-heavy solo (this is the first time we've heard him use one of those) and the song ends on a very dark note.

8. GIFT OF FLESH A full-steam-ahead rock song. "Gift of Flesh" takes no prisoners from the moment it starts to the reverb-heavy guitar hold-out at the end.

9. BLOOD RUNS COLD The most beautiful guitar work I have ever heard. This mournful track was written for the band's late guitarist, Steve Clark, who lost his life to alcohol in 1991.

10. WHERE DOES LOVE GO WHEN IT DIES? A very experimental track by Def Leppard's standards. Soft acoustic strumming and introspective lyrics defines this song, which ends with the guitars playing the intro to the next (and final track). A lovely effect is made with several voices on the chorus.

11. PEARL OF EUPHORIA I don't even know where to begin categorizing this song. A very aggressive drum beat drives this song with delay- and reverb-heavy guitars providing the leads (think Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" meets U2's "Exit"). Joe provides some very strange lyrics about demons and tigers, and the several-minutes-long fade out allows both guitarists to showcase their fantastic skills.

I have nothing to complain about with this album. This album even produced a few ace b-sides, "Truth? (Original Version)," a much grungier, angrier version of the "Truth?" that appeared on the album, "'Cause We Ended As Lovers," a Jeff Beck cover, and "Move With Me Slowly," a song showcasing guitarist Vivian Campbell's blues roots.

OVERALL: 10/10

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Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:22 pm
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Psychic Trainer
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I find it pointless that mods sticky their favorite stuff, meanwhile, we are here, waiting for our threads to get popular enough to get stickied, just saying.

Anyway, I give this CD a 9.5/10, it was a good CD!

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Tue May 08, 2007 8:36 pm
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Ace Trainer
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Actually, all live/album reviews get stickied.

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Sat May 19, 2007 2:43 pm
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Psychic Trainer
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I downloaded it, and I would have to say that it was one of Def Leppards better albums.

"Truth?" along with "Pour Some Sugar on Me", "Sweet Cherry Pie", and "Four Letter Word" IMO are Def Leppards greatest songs.

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Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:57 am
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