'Slang' (2CD Deluxe Edition)
Release Date: 10th February 2014
Leppard's 1996 album, oft overlooked and underrated, gets an overhaul, something the band have talked about for a while and now that the rights have reverted to the band, they've put it out on their own label.
'Slang' was a radical departure in sound for the band, for three major reasons; no Robert Mutt Lang, a lot of personal issues going on with members of the band, and grunge (cough, splutter) was all the rage at the time.
Also, worth a note, that this is the first full album to feature guitarist Vivian Campbell (who had played on a track or two on the previous album).
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Not that this is a grunge album, thank fuck, but it is noticeably darker, edgier, and lacks the layers upon layers of polish normally associated with a Leppard album.
To the main album itself – and 'Truth' opens with a harsh sound yet a decent melody, and the intro to 'Turn To Dust' mixes grunge/eastern/ambient before the full (almost alternative) guitars come in.
The title track is a solid punchy number with some trad Def Lep influences – but still quite choppy and rough. In contrast, 'All I Want Is Everything' is more balladic and very heartfelt. Not quite Michael Bolton but, like I said, there's a few tracks that are heartfelt here and they do open right up.
The guitar work, like the rhythms and vocals, are excellent – it's the range of sounds and feels (some more classic Leppard than others) that may confuse some. Some of the tracks I did find catchy, the riffs working well.
As for the package – the original eleven track album (twelve including the Japanese bonus track) is now expanded to thirty tracks over two CDs, featuring previously unreleased material, original and demo versions and rough mixes. Some of these do sound good and are well worth adding to the collection.
Complete? Well, no. Sadly the six acoustic tracks on the limited bonus disc on the original release are not included.
If you come to this album with an open mind you'll find an excellent (if off the beaten Leppard track) album. I'm not sure it's quite classic Leppard but certainly classy and very enjoyable, and with the bonus tracks something for everyone here. More so with the double vinyl LP and iTunes editions.