Def Leppard

Slang

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After the lackluster performance of Adrenalize, Def Leppard realized it was time to abandon their trademark wall-of-guitars sound. Jettisoning producer Mutt Lange -- who, admittedly, was busy producing his wife, country singer Shania Twain -- the group stripped its sound to the basics for Slang. There are very few layers-of-guitar effects on the album, just straight, crunching chords. Most notably, Rick Allen has returned to playing acoustic drums after playing an electronic kit for nearly a decade. The change in approach is apparent and welcome -- Def Leppard hasn't sounded so immediate since Pyromania. Furthermore, they decided to expand their musical vocabulary slightly, working elements of R&B and funk into the rhythms. Not all of the experiments work, but Def Leppard sound revitalized, particularly when they attack a straightforward rocker. Slang would have been even better if they had come up with a set of hooks that sounded as alive as their performance, but the album is a much-needed return to form for the group.

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