Def Leppard have teamed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for the collaborative album Drastic Symphonies, arriving May 19th. A newly re-imagined orchestral version of “Animal” can be streamed now.
The collection features 15 orchestral re-workings of some of Def Leppard’s most iconic tracks, as well as a few deep cuts from their catalog. Rather than performing live alongside the orchestra, a la Metallica’s S&M, Drastic Symphonies is an ambitious studio project, combining specific audio from the original master tapes of the songs, fresh guitar/vocal overdubs, and symphonic arrangements recorded by the RPO at Abbey Road studios.
As heard on the new version of “Animal,” the results are far from “an orchestra plonked over our previous recordings,” as guitarist Phil Collen put it. At times, you can hear Joe Elliott duetting with his younger self, and the new orchestral mix is a completely different experience than the classic Hysteria track. In Collen’s words, Drastic Symphonies is both “a new Def Leppard album” and “a greatest hits.”
“We decided to create something special where we would have something classic but present it in a brand new way that would involve making everything work in the context of Drastic Symphonies,” Collen elaborated in the press release. “Recording new parts, remixing previous sounds, taking some of our instruments out so the orchestra could breathe, and literally making a new album.”
Added Elliott, “When the offer to revisit some of our back catalogue with the Royal Philharmonic was presented to us, we all jumped at it. Although we’re far from the first band to ever do this, working directly with an orchestra at Abbey Road on some of our more orchestrated songs seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road in March 2022 and was produced by Def Leppard alongside Ronan McHugh and Nick Patrick (producer of previous RPO/orchestral albums for Elvis, Roy Orbison, Beach Boys and Buddy Holly), with arrangements by Eric Gorfain (Neil Diamond, Ryan Adams, Christina Aguilera).
You can pre-order Drastic Symphonies on vinyl and CD/Blu-Ray (featuring Dolby Atmos) via Def Leppard’s online store. You can also pick up tickets to catch the band live on their upcoming world tour with Mötley Crüe here.
Below you can stream the orchestral version of “Animal” and see the album art and full tracklist.
Drastic Symphonies Artwork:
Drastic Symphonies Tracklist:
01. Turn to Dust
02. Paper Sun
04. Pour Some Sugar on Me (Stripped version)
06. Love Bites
07. Goodbye for Good This Time
09. Gods of War
10. Angels (Can’t Help You Now)
11. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
12. Switch 625
13. Too Late for Love
14. When Love & Hate Collide
15. Kings of the World
16. Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad (vinyl/Blu-Ray bonus track)