Round 4 has Adrian and his band of Vandenberg’s going against Joey and his band of Europeans in what we would say is the closet battle on Retro Throw Down so far! Who came out on top? Just push play and find out!
Just click the video and viola you can watch what myself and Jex have to say….
I had my brother from another mother Darr review these two albums as well.
Here are Darr’s words posted below…
“Listened to both albums…. Both get passing grades, but neither was awesome.
Vandenberg album has some great guitar work, and would say there is no weak tracks, but dunno if there was any real stand out tracks either. Sometimes the guitar work seemed almost a bit too much. Solid but not a standout.
Haven’t heard the Europe album for ever. This album would be better if someone shot the keyboard player. If interferes with some decent tracks. Was never a fan of the final countdown and Carrie sucks, but a few of the songs I may not have heard before were pretty good. The singer has a good voice.
Final scores out of 10 (10 being an all time top 10-20 album of all time, and 1 being like Culture Club or some crap like that:”
30 years ago already? Whut? EUROPE unleashed the mega selling The Final Countdown back in 1986 and it’s kinda funny as if we were to talk about my listening curve with Europe back in 1986.
The Final Countdown had some great rock tracks like Cherokee/Danger On The Track and Rock The Night.
Course the song The Final Countdown song and video was played to death (will say that Europe Guitarist John Norum plays a great solo on the track) as was the ballad Carrie(no comment) but things kinda went south for me when Lead Singer Joey Tempest sang into a Heinz Ketchup bottle on the Rock The Night video( I posted a story about Joesph and The Ketchup Bottle)…
So Europe basically that year 1986-87 flatlined for me. Even when Europe released in 1988 Out of This World it didn’t do it for me(my brother Todd bought Out of This World on cassette tape) even after hearing it. Superstitious was a great track still though….
Than EUROPE closed up shop and then in the year 2000 EUROPE reforms with the same 5 guys and they still continue on to this day which is remarkable as they look and sound in decent shape. Case in point check the vid below with a recent tune from 2015’s excellent War of Kings album called Nothing To You. Killer track with Norum soloing like a lunatic on guitar! Norum is an underrated guitarist the guy is a genius on the 6 string….
The first part of this show is the full War of Kings album played in its entirety. A great slick move as Joey and the boys are like keeping it fresh and current and just not relying on some huge nostalgia only rock act….
So here comes in 2017 the actual release of the Final Countdown show recorded last year and it features a ton of tunes. On the first disc as i mentioned EUROPE plays a bunch of new stuff from the War of Kings release. These new tunes stand up well.
Remember earlier on I was talking about my listening curve with EUROPE?!
Let’s put it this way Joey and the boys have blended on there last few releases the sonics of Deep Purple and UFO into their music and have become a great straight ahead hard rock act that know the role of the keyboards just as UFO did in their heyday.
Funny how time changes one’s mind in this case whereas I have no problem listening to EUROPE now especially with the recorded output they have recently put out in the last few years.
I cannot say the same about Bon Jovi currently and even UFO for that matter. Now don’t get me wrong folk’s what I mean is when I do listen to UFO or Jovi it’s a certain era. UFO its everything from the brilliant Strangers In The Night to Making Contact. For Bon Jovi it would be Slippery thru to Keep The Faith. Basically anything these bands have put out since than I really couldn’t care less about…
EUROPE on the other hand its a role reversal with Jovi and UFO…
Europe has ramped up there sound/mixed things up sonically(hiring Rival Sons producer Dave Cobb was a brilliant move) and have made it interesting to say the least! Speaking of which EUROPE has a new album coming out this October titled Walk On The Earth. Friggin rights I’m getting it….
I can listen to Europe in 2017 whereas in 1987 I had issues with them! Haha..
1-Iron Maiden/Book Of Souls-Was there really any doubt! Maiden roared back with what I would say is there best album since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son(1988). If your wondering where’s the review? Well I’m working on it and kinda funny how Maiden is my all time número uno fanboy act yet I’ve only reviewed Piece Of Mind and Seventh Son. I got a great idea for this review so give me time peeps! Of note the video posted is the song Tears Of A Clown a tune Adrian Smith and Steve Harris wrote about Robin Williams(RIP) it’s a great track!
2-Rush/R40- A few weeks back it took me 3 posts to get through this 29 song mega opus! If R40 is indeed the end of Rush as we know they have gone out on top! Thanks for a fine career fella’s!
3-Harem Scarem/Live At The Phoenix- Here’s the shocker of the bunch! This was released just a few weeks back and I tell ya its 20 songs of AOR Hard Rock Genius! When Toronto’s Harem Boys re-recorded Mood Swings in 2012 I delved back into that album which I may think cracked my Top 5 back in 2012 at Mike’s site! Fast forward to this year these songs are so good performed live! The vocals and musicianship are top notch and there’s songs on the Phoenix like Human Nature and Dagger that I had never heard til now and man oh man they are classics! Review a comin…..
4-Van Halen/Live At The Tokyo Dome(tie)The Circle At Your Service
Now your wondering what is Harem Scarem doing above VH and Hagars live albums. Easy this is a list of surprises and Harem is no doubt that as with VH and The Circle you know there gonna deliver with the classic material! Sam’s The Circle proves without a doubt that all though Hagar is pushing 70 years young he still delivers live vocally as well as having side kick Michael Anthony along for the ride doesn’t hurt as well!
VH delivers a warts n all double album and who cares if Dave has some rough patches vocally it’s Ed,Alex and especially Wolf that deliver the soundtrack of my highschool years right into my iPod! Wolfs bassing on this record is bad ass! Check out the opening to Everybody Wants Some! His bass cranked with the Wah Pedal is out of this world!
5- Def Leppard/Def Leppard(tie) Europe/War Of Kings
Ha! Boy did I ever set off a discussion with my review of this Leppard album. I was blown away by it as quite honestly I wasn’t expecting much as the last real good Lep record was Slang back in 1996. Lep delivers some throwback sounding material as well as some songs that sound like tribute songs to there idols. The album starts off well but really picks up steam about halfway thru! Great album! But I think Ladano is still lost at sea on this one! Haha…Toss him a life preserver Joe Elliot and save his ass!
UPDATE- Mr Ladano has entered Def Leppard at Number 6 Fav album of the year!
Europe along with Harem Scarem are the shockers of the year! Europe dabble into UFO and Deep Purplish Perfect Strangers territory and along with solid written material and awesome production from Dave Cobb(Rival Sons) who makes John Norums guitar all fuzzed up sonically as well as mixing the keyboards brilliantly into a win win! Jon at CD Festival And Music Guide got me onboard with his 10/10 review of War Of Kings.
Final Yammer- Yep a couple of Tie’s tossed in as this year it was hard to nail down a top 5! It was cool though as Lep,Harem and Europe surprised me and this is what the list is about! VH and The Circle delivered double live albums which means a ton of tunes and Rush as always ruled with there musical supremacy. I mean for Rush to resurrect Cyngus and Hemispheres ….Wowzers!
Iron Maiden though are top dogs and viola they delivered a solid full of epic proportions sonic assault masterpiece! Maiden rules!
Out of the seven albums in my Top 5 I have reviewed 5 of them so feel free to check out my Yammering on them!
Merry Christmas and all that jazz folks! Thanks for checking back in here at 80s Metal Shatz N Giggles. First order of agenda is a new category here that I’m calling DeKEs N Rambles. Basically it’s me spouting off on all things music not a normal review but just my observing of course all things music from my 80s Haze Daze!
Thanks for joining along……
Hard rock fans can be fickle and back in 1986 I was one of them in regards to Europe. When Europe hit with the Final Countdown(album and opening number) I didn’t mind the track especially John Norums flashy type guitar solo but for some reason I didn’t take the bait laid by Joey Tempest and crew. The Final Countdown was played a zillion times on MuchMusic and well 1986 Van Halen had 5150,David Lee Roth with Eat Em And Smile,Iron Maiden with Somewhere In Time,Ratt with Dancing Undercover,Aerosmith with Done With Mirrors and many others. Hey my $$$$ could only be stretched so far.
Rock The Night though was the second single and it was more up my alley! It had that big opening riff and even the keys were mixed kinda reminding me of Deep Purple Perfect Strangers style. I had heard Rock The Night on a friends cassette tape at high school and I dug it. It was only a matter of time before it was to become a single and in no time MuchMusic began playing the video. When I actually seen it the power of video that ruled with cool Van Halen videos(Hot For Teacher) and Iron Maiden videos (Aces High) fell apart with Europe!
Rock The Night video begins with Europe pulling up to a Hard Rock Hotel Bar and taking a booth over as the song is played in the background Tv. Kee Marcello (guitarist,John Norum plays on the album but than quit before this video was made)makes the first dibs at the Heinz Ketchup Bottle and plays the bottle like its a guitar complete with a attached wang bar! Ah yeah? The good thing is it lasts about 4 seconds.
Joey Tempest than grabs the Ketchup Bottle and basically uses it as a mic for a good half a verse and than in the clip you can see someone’s arm hand Joey a mic and he dumps the bottle! Hahaha….oh man!
Course the next video was the syrup ballad Carrie which dripped ick so I just moved on….
I did get a taped copy of The Final Countdown and it had some decent tunes like Cherokee and Danger On The Track so I kinda dumped on these guys pretty hard back in 1986 as the video just irritated me.
1988 Europe released Out Of This World and my brother(Todd) bought this and I listened to it a bit and it was decent. More Than Meets the Eye was a good track as was Superstitious.
Forward to 2015 and like I have posted before(when I reviewed War Of The Worlds) it was fellow blogger Jon At Cd Festival And Music Guide who slammed down a 10/10 rating on Europe’s latest War Of The Worlds. Jon doesn’t hand out those easy. He’s a reviewer and if you put out Dog Doo he will call it just that.
I gambled and bought War Of The Worlds and Jon was right! Europe 2015 I dig more than Europe 1986 and its the same band as Marcello split and Norum rejoined speaking of Norum his solos just will rip your brain apart! He’s that Good!
It only took me 29 years to come around on Europe…
Ok,stop the snickering! The ? of has Deke lost his mind and why is he reviewing a new Europe album in 2015! Umm…Nope I don’t think I have lost my mind (yet)but I will provide you all with a timeline on how this came to be a Europe review at Arena Rock!
1986-finishing up Highschool in Tbay and The Final Countdown is everywhere! (Video and magazines)Girls dig it and girls dig Joey Tempest as that whole look that was in at the time! Carrie(ballad)is just utter sap in my book but of course more girls like it and shoots Europe into the Stratosphere of popularity. Europe than gives us Rock The Night great track but Tempest and the band are sitting in a resteraunt in the video and Joey sings into a Heinz ketchup bottle ….this as a 19 year old I could not handle and the mocking begins…..
1988- my younger bro buys Europes next release Out Of This World on cassette and while it’s not bad. It does nothing for me plus I still can’t get the whole Heinz Bottle Deal deal out of my head from two years earlier! Ha!
Rock The Night …Europe says..I say Crank it!
2015- a few years I would say have passed I knew Europe was back playing shows and doing decent business as well! (Classic Rock Magazine are big supporters)It seems they have won over a whole new fan base with there new releases and have changed with the times not following trends and not rehashing a sound that was in the past! What I mean is Europe 2015 is not Europe in 1986. (For instance back in 1999 the wheels were coming off of the good ship Def Leppard as no one was really caring so they they made a rehash record in Euphoria(meh) and well …listen to Pyromania if you really have too or Hysteria)The only similarity is that all 5 original guys are still in Europe today!
Jon over at Cd Festival Music Guide is based in Sweden and he would know the deal as Europe is in his backyard so to speak so when I read his review he hammered down a 10/10 rating and he does not fling those out at will! He knows his stuff so too make a long story it was off to ITunes and I bought War Of Kings and ummmmmm…..Holy Shit I’m blown away!
And like the saying goes….Don’t judge a book by its cover …..
WAR OF KINGS-Europe does themselves a huge favour and hire Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) to produce this album and man the first thing I notice are the sonics are punching. Love the bass line that John Leven nails down simple yet effective The Keyboards are mixed to perfection as Mic Michaeli doesn’t overstep his boundary he keeps it chill to fill out John Norums guitar! Love the guitar solo as its mixed to the right side and once Norum is finished bam the sound fills out to the left side! Joey Tempest man the dude still has the pipes to deliver it vocally! Europe wow 2015 Give it up! Check out there video!
HOLE IN MY POCKET-Norum plays what sounds like some quick wah and this song just drives and Tempest is off and giving it vocally! The lyrics are catchy and the chorus is reaaaaaal good! Once again Mic nails down the keys almost like Deep Purple like and now Ian Haughland the drummer throws down some quick rattles of double bass drums and now we’re into Norums solo and he channels,the best of Gary Moore and Micheal Scheneker and rips off a great friggin solo! Love the keys at the end of this song!(did I just say that?)
SECOND DAY- some real cool chill keys and than Norum and the drummer guy Ian drive the bus on this track with Ian riding that cymbal and grooving and the chorus has a real catchy hook you will know it when you hear it! Cobb has mixed this guitar on this record to perfection! Like I said earlier you gotta give Ian Haugland credit he drives the drums on this so it doesn’t go wimpdom and how about chalking up another fantastic rip of a Norum solo! Shit the dudes on fire! Also love the percussion on this song!
PRAISE YOU- Joey and the lads mix it up with the best elements of Deep Purple and mix it with the Rival Sons and Praise You is unleashed. The verses are chill and they build up into the chorus Mic nails down a very 70s keyboard solo and the song halts and Norum just plays a real bluesy solo proving you don’t have to play a 120 mph all the time! This album sounds live very live! Take a bow Mr Cobb!
NOTHIN TO YA- drums and bass rumble along and here comes Johnnny and Joey and they lay down one of my favs off of this record and holy shit did Norum steal Scot Holidays(guitarist) from Rival Sons fuzz box! The guitar on this track sound sound good! And here comes the money shot the chorus! It’s all hear folks massive catchy and the swirly sound of the keys once again in the background just lift the tune into another level! Listen to the guitar! Fuck, did I just hear the ring of a cowbell before the solo? Yes I did! The solo nails down hard and the band drives it down to a halt and than back up! This is rock at its best! Crank the vid!
CALIFORNIA 405- hey man the keys sound direct from Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple! We’re cruising with Joey in La la Land and man the chorus here again is so damn catchy! Good on Mic knowing his role in Europe this is a great track to feature him and more cowbell from Ian. John Norum plays another humdinger of a ass cracking good solo! I really dig how Europe just shifts gears on this album on each song build EM up and tear Em down!
DAYS OF ROCK N ROLL- UFO would be proud of this track it reminds me of Doctor Doctor kinda its a good time 4 on the floor romper! The fact that Tempest has maintained his voice and can still craft wickedly good tunes must be commended unlike Jon Bon Businessman who has not wrote a good album since Keep The Faith(1992). This is the feelgood/party track of the record!
CHILDERN OF THE MIND- chill beginning and man the keys sound like there from the 70s but Norums chugs out power riffs! This is a mid tempo rocker! Norum rocks it up and man he locks in with Michaeli on the keys and they do that Jon Lord/Richie Blackmore interplay! Cool stuff….
RAINBOW BRIDGE- this is like Zep meets Europe meets Robert Plant its all here big riffs,big sound,swirling keys, driving bass and drums…and Norum solos off his rocker!
ANGELS(WITH BROKEN HEARTS)-10 tracks and the bamd takes a breather and this ain’t Carrie ballad stuff. That’s a different Europe folks! This is a 50ish old Europe dudes playing and paying tributes to there heroes!
LIGHT ME UP- Ian nails his drums right out of the gates and everyone joins in and Europe ends the album on a high note. Leven nails done a great bass line and this song jives and jives and Geez this is it man what a bummer I mean what a great song. End of the album Gem here at Arena Rock!
IN CONCLUSION-Unbelievable I mean Europe lays waste and takes it a step further proving without a doubt that you can be a better act currently (2015) than in your heyday(1986)! Joey Tempest can sing..yeah man! Mic Michaeli is this albums MVP as he lays down the best sounding groove of keys I have heard in years! John Leven and Ian Haugland keep the bus driving with snazzy bass and drum fills respectively and John Norum is Pure Gold on here his playing is no pun Out Of This World! The guy is a genius on the 6 string! Dave Cobbs production brings out the best in Europe on this album and for that….Great Friggin Job! This album is worth the cash!