Def Leppard & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Drastic Symphonies

Regular price $ 44.99

As on their 2006 covers album Yeah!, British hard rock giants Def Leppard make a surprisingly enjoyable meal out of what is usually a predictable exercise. Drastic Symphonies is not an album of new material, nor even entirely new recordings. A collaboration with London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, it's a symphonic reimagining of 16 career-spanning songs, including well-known hits and a smattering of deep cuts. Blending their original multi-track recordings with new overdubs to fit the theme, Drastic Symphonies is a pastiche of new and old ideas that, more often than not, reflects the sturdy pop construction on which their career was built. There was always a bit of romantic grandeur to Def Leppard's strain of lush glam metal, especially on early classics like "Too Late for Love" and "Bringin' On the Heartbreak," both of which get full orchestral treatment here. Joe Elliott, still in fine voice, can often be heard singing new leads atop the giant stacks of Mutt Lange-produced harmonies that became their '80s hallmark. Some songs are significantly altered, with only the occasional guitar solo poking out, while others sound very close to their original mixes, albeit with a bit of melodic sweetening from one of the world's great orchestras. The dense and swirling "Paper Sun," from 1999's Euphoria, is a highlight, punching up Def Leppard's original into something more thrilling and cinematic, and their 1987 smash "Animal" is practically built for the kind of pomp it receives here. Of course, any project like this is a mixed bag, and ironically, their biggest hit is Drastic Symphonies' biggest misfire. Naturally, they had to include "Pour Some Sugar on Me," but its stripped-down romantic duet arrangement falls flat without its glammy fizz. Overall, though, the band comes off much better than expected.

1 Turn to Dust
2 Paper Sun
3 Animal
4 Pour Some Sugar on Me
5 Hysteria
6 Love Bites
7 Goodbye for Good This Time
8 Love
9 Gods of War
10 Angels (Can't Help You Now)
11 Bringin' on the Heartbreak
12 Switch 625
13 Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
14 Too Late for Love
15 When Love & Hate Collide
16 Kings of the World