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!