A bicameral review of Def Leppard’s “Def Leppard”

Def Leppard banner

When it comes to reviewing the latest album by pop-metal maestros Def Leppard, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, at 43 years old, I want to be fairly critical and give an honest opinion. On the other, having seen the band live for the third time this past summer, it’s clear some of their songs will be forever etched in my mind, and as musicians they’re at the top of their game.  So I’ve decided to review the eponymous Def Leppard as my current self and as the audience to whom Def Leppard probably mattered most, 15-year-old me.

43-Year-Old Self: Hello, younger self.

15-Year-Old Self: Hey old self. Hey, do you have flying cars and cool stuff in the future?

Metal Monday: AC/DC’s Rock or Bust

This review of Rock or Bust originally appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 4, 2014.

AC/DC: Rock or Bust (Columbia/Sony)

Rock_or_Bust_AC_DCAC/DC may have a few problems (drummer Phil Rudd faces drug- and assault-related charges, and founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young has retired owing to dementia), but you’d never know it from Rock or Bust.

Metal Monday: Iron Maiden’s Dance of Death

Cover of "Dance of Death"

Few bands besides KISS and Iron Maiden are known more for their iconography than their music.

KISS may have transformed their fans’ nostalgia into big bucks, but as Maiden show on Dance of Death, they seem to want to prove their fans right in thinking they are still relevant.

Metal Monday: Ace Frehley’s No Regrets

NoRegretsAs the founding guitarist for KISS, you’d expect Ace Frehley to have some pretty good war stories — if he can remember them. A self-confessed party animal, Frehley has been open about his addicitions to alcohol, cocaine, and painkillers.  But as he shows in No Regrets, his memory for a lot of things is just fine.

Frehley and original KISS drummer Peter Criss have been largely written out of the band’s official history over the years — at least, to hear Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley tell it. So it’s refreshing to hear the story of the band from Frehley’s point of view.

Metal Monday: Peter Criss’s Makeup to Breakup

makeup-to-breakup-peter-crissFounding Kiss drummer Peter Criss has been promising to release a tell-all autobiography for decades, and now he’s finally done it. (Ironically, it comes a year later than fellow Kiss founder Ace Frehley’s No Regrets.) The question is whether what he has to tell illuminates anything about the early years of Kiss or his life after he quit the band in 1980.

Metal Monday: Faster Pussycat’s Faster Pussycat

Faster Pussycat (album)

If you want to understand why glam metal was so popular in the late ’80s, you should listen to a band that had more bite than Poison and better sense of the absurd than Cinderella, which is to say: Faster Pussycat.

Named for the Russ Meyer movie Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill! the band was just as ludicrous and awesome as its namesake. On its debut album, the band is rough, cocky and a hell of a lot of fun, whether their lyrics are making sense or not.

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