Album: Walk The Earth
Label: Hell & Back Recordings
Release Date: 20 October 2017
The new Europe album, Walk The Earth, is completely different from anything they’ve done before. Very unique and dips heavily into their musical influences of Rainbow, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy and even some Pink Floyd comes through is this new and heavier release. Europe fans may think they know what to expect on the up coming album, but truthfully… they have no idea what’s coming their way! All I can say is this is not the Europe from 1986 famed for The Final Countdown.
Having followed Europe‘s music since 1986 myself, I can say that they’ve done a great job of laying the path to this new album since their comeback in 2004 with the Start From the Dark album that switched their tone toward a heavier rock sound. As they continued to evolve their sound through the albums Secret Society (2006) and Last Look at Eden (2009) it was clear that Europe was intent on getting to the music they wanted to make. With the release of Bag of Bones in 2012 Europe tossed the blues into their sound that carried through into the 2015 hit album War of Kings that managed to shake up the listeners quite a bit with a truly heavy rock album.
Fans have come the distance with Europe throughout the years and new fans have found their way to these Swedish rockers, but… what will they have to say about Walk The Earth, the furthest point away from their smash hit The Final Countdown? If you’ve been a fan for the long haul, you’ve probably discovered many of the bands that Europe have been influenced by, or at least I hope you have. For me, thanks to Europe I discovered a number of bands; Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy, UFO, and Rainbow. Bands I hadn’t heard of until I started following the guys in ’86. These bands were in addition to bands they were influenced by that I already knew like Bowie and Deep Purple. Thanks to Europe, I found many new bands to forever change my musical experiences.
So knowing who influenced these guys when they were growing up and forming their music tastes one could only expect as they’ve progressed that they’d release something very heavy, a bit hippy inspired, insanely heavy keyboard tracks and full of musical flavor to push and pull their music listeners boundaries. This album does exactly that. I believe this album is the Mic Michaeli album! The keyboards are so intertwined and heavy in an organ styling throughout every song that the album truly showcases his extraordinary musical abilities. His keyboard sound has always been a part of the albums but aside from a few songs here and there, he’s never completely stood out this much, expect with of course… “The Final Countdown”, who doesn’t instantly recognize the keyboards leading into that song? And then there is “Last Look At Eden” that is one of the most epic songs the guys have ever done musically, if you’ve not heard this song or the album you need to hear it to understand. So for me as a long time listener to their music, I am thrilled to see Mic having such a big and noticeable part to this new album.
It’s not just the Mic album though, you have the usual killer riffs and hooks that John Norum is so well-known for, unmistakable. He’s always been one of my favorite guitarists. From his work with Europe and of course his own solo work, he’s a killer guitarist. John Norum completely had my attention early on in this album, unique riffs and some predictable playing you’d expect from him here. You get one hell of a solo on the tracks “The Siege” and “GTO” that will blow your mind! Then of course John Leven and his heavy bass riffs, this man is one of the most talented bass players around and highly underrated in my opinion. There were a few times listening to this album that I had to stop and go back because I wanted to hear a bass line again like in “The Siege”, so heavy and forceful almost to the point of slapping his bass. In a rock album, that perfect blend of bass is essential and John Leven delivers. What is a rock album without the drums? Not a rock album! I can honestly tell you that Ian drummed his heart out on this album. There are lots of crazy tempos and perfectly timed yet manic percussion going on in this album. There are very few slow tempo songs on Walk The Earth so I really can’t wait to see this album performed live. I only wonder how they will manage the tempo for the entire show. You are also in for a surprise at the end of the last track on the album, “Turn To Dust” with some big band sounds to lead you out of the song, so make sure to pay attention.
Lastly, what would Europe be without their vocalist Joey Tempest? He’s got one of the most recognizable voices in rock music, it is very hard to mistake him for any other singer. He ties the band together to complete the Europe sound. Joey‘s vocals are raw, intense, vulnerable, heavy, melodic and have his distinct vibrato tone he’s known for throughout this album. He did not shy away from trying new things on this album, but embraced it which added the final flavor to the new album. Each member of the band Europe are amazing artists on their own, but when they all come together as a group, Europe is a powerhouse.
There is a reason Europe made their mark in the 80’s and have managed to make a complete come back in the 2000’s, their unique sound that keeps fans wanting more and their willingness to try new things with their music. They are not simply the 80’s hair band that many fans fell in love with, they are true musicians who have worked to make albums they are proud of that let them also explore their own sound.
This is a great album to add to your collection. Fans of all ages will find many things to enjoy on this release.
“Walk The Earth” tracklisting:
1. Walk The Earth
2. The Siege
3. Kingdom United
5. Election Day
9. Whenever You’re Ready
10. Turn To Dust
*The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London with Grammy winning producer Dave Cobb.
Europe tour with Deep Purple in late 2017. Full dates are below
Fri 17th Nov 2017 Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham UK
Sat 18th Nov Manchester Arena, Manchester UK
Mon 20th Nov Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff UK
Wed 22nd Nov The SSE Hydro, Glasgow UK
Thurs 23rd Nov The o2 Arena, London UK
For tickets see http://europetheband.com