CD Reviews Europe

Europe - War of Kings

UDR Records

Europe’s new album, “War of Kings”, shines as bright as the Aurora Borealis. This is the 10th studio release for this legendary band, and it’s chock-full of that timeless Europe sound we all know and love.

“’War Of Kings’ is the album we always wanted to make,” frontman Joey Tempest commented, “ever since we were kids listening to bands like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath. After hearing Dave Cobb amazing production for Rival Sons we simply had to work with him. Our adventure is still ON! Hey! We took the long road! but we wanted to re-establish Europe the proper way. It’s taken 10 years and countless tours since the re-union, but we’re finally getting there! And we’ve done it our way!”

Catch the official video for the title track (produced by Patrick Ulleaus) here!

Hailing from Sweden, Europe is: Frontman Joey Tempest (lead vocals, acoustic & rhythm guitar, keyboards), John Norum (lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals), John Leven (bass, backing vocals), Mic Michaeli (keyboards, piano, backing vocals, rhythm guitar), and Ian Haugland (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Europe’s place as a legendary classic rock band was platinum-stamped early in their career, having enjoyed an explosive period of worldwide success in the ‘80s, under-pinned by their hit album and single The Final Countdown, before going on hiatus between 1992 and 2003. They re-united and quickly settled into a period of re-establishment which has seen them re-enforce their reputation worldwide as one of the premier purveyors of blues-tinged classic rock with an edge and some kick. Their last album, 2012’s Bag of Bones, saw Europe hit the UK top 40 rock album charts and debut at #2 on the Swedish national charts, and War of Kings is set to take full advantage of the global groundwork Europe have put in over the last few years.

The epic, ferocious title track is sure to be as much of a classic as Europe’s timeless “The Final Countdown”! Love it! “Hole In My Pocket” has a funky intro, then Rocks out! The heavy guitar FX is a fitting backdrop to the chock-full-of-metaphors lyrics. “Second Day” is dark, moody, and atmospheric. “Praise You” is a Power Ballad.

The militaristic percussion steals the show in the confrontational “Nothin’ To Ya”. Keyboards are more prevalent in “California 405” than the other tracks; it’s the aural equivalent of speeding down a West Coast highway. The catchy “Days Of Rock N Roll” is my fave of the album – it totally embodies the spirit of the genre.

I love the guitars in the addictive “Children of the Mind”! “Rainbow Bridge” is totally inspirational as it embraces Norse mythology – the very soul travels Bifrost on this one! Awesome! Both guitars and keys shine on the somber power ballad, “Angels (With Broken Hearts). The incendiary “Light Me Up” is absolutely fantastic! The instrumental bonus track “Vasatan” is hauntingly atmospheric.

~Athena Schaffer