Def Leppard

Retro Active

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Retro Active is a collection of outtakes and leftovers spanning Def Leppard's entire career. Kicking off the disc, "Desert Song" and "Fractured Love" are two of its most distinctive tracks, harkening back to the band's early (pre-success) days with their rough power chords. After paying homage to some of their heroes with a set of covers (Sweet's "Action" and Mick Ronson's "Only After Dark"), the band tackles a couple of solid, but hardly groundbreaking ballads -- "Two Steps Behind" and "Miss You in a Heartbeat" -- before stretching out (with mixed results) on the folky "From the Inside." Taken from the Hysteria sessions, the classy "I Wanna Be Your Hero" is another pleasant surprise, and the band reaches all the way back to the beginning by re-recording their first demo "Ride into the Sun." Overall, this is an interesting release which marks the end of a long chapter in the band's history, following the death of guitarist and guiding force Steve Clark. While casual fans might find it confusing, Leppard fanatics will revel in its diversity and informative liner notes.

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