Spin - 12/95, p.85
6 - Reasonably Good - "...it might surprise you just how much care went into these seemingly disposable hits....There's something about the desperately American vocalisms of Joe Elliott (who is, after all, British) and the oddness of his lyrics...that pleasently suggests rock as a second language..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/10/95, p.67
"...the painstaking patience with which these hits were produced (mostly by Mutt Lange) pays off--with Byzantine layering of guitars, sumptous harmonies, and finely crafted pop hooks buried beneath the metal posturing." - Rating: B-
Def Leppard: Joe Elliott (vocals); Phil Collen, Vivian Campbell, Steve Clark, Pete Willis (guitar, background vocals); Rick Savage (bass, background vocals); Rick Allen (drums, background vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Stevie Vann (background vocals).
Producers: Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Mike Shipley, Def Leppard, Pete Woodroffe.
Engineers: Nigel Green, Mike Shipley, Pete Woodroffe.
Includes liner notes by Peter Mensch, Joe Elliott, Phil Collen and Rick Savage.
When Def Leppard arrived on American shores with 1980's ON THROUGH THE NIGHT, they were lumped with a New Wave of British Heavy Metal that also counted Iron Maiden part of the movement. Yet even then, the Sheffield quintet's inescapable pop sense separated them from their heavier brethren. As the '80's progressed, Def Lep soldiered on through tragedy, lengthy multi-year stays in the studio and quite a few world tours. VAULT culls the hits from the millions of albums they sold by way of MTV ("Photograph"), soundtracks ("Two Steps Behind"), and obvious sexual innuendo ("Pour Some Sugar On Me").
Influenced by the glam postures of Mott The Hoople, Bowie, T. Rex and Slade, Def Lep transformed their love of these artists into a sound shaped by Joe Elliott's raspy vocals, the synergy fueled by Phil Collen (who replaced Pete Willis in '83) and the late Steve Clark's guitars, and Rick Allen's punchy backbeat (seemingly unaffected by his loss of an arm in '85). Heavy guitars, sweet hooks and a rare ability to balance a harder-edged side ("Foolin'") with earnest power ballads ("Bringin' On The Heartbreak") show why Def Lep continue to soldier on long after pop-metal's '80s heyday, and they make VAULT a safe worth cracking.