REVIEW: EUROPE – “Walk The Earth”
Swedish band Europe have been around since the early 80’s ever since they rise to fame via a rock music championship called Rock-SM and then went on to reach international acclaim with The Final Countdown; the self-titled hit single has people rocking to it even today. The band comprises members John Norum (Guitar), John Levin (Bass), Mic Michaeli (keyboard), Ian Haugland on drums, and frontman Joey Tempest who went on record calling their latest work a miracle. Europe give us their eleventh studio album – ‘Walk the Earth’
The album artwork comes courtesy of famed Los Angeles artist Mike Sportes. The band had inspiration from a design of his work on a t-shirts which was worn by their producer Dave Cobb during the recording sessions. The album starts of directly with the title track on keyboards building up to a heavy riff and some soulful solo work. ‘Walk the Earth’ has also been released on YouTube and its melody, tone and character are what you can expect through the album. Tracks average between 2-4 minutes, catchy chorus’ a thick bass and an overall warm tone.
Norum pounds out some great riffs in ‘The Siege’, ‘GTO’ and ‘Wolves’. The drumming is classic and Levin’s bass guitar provides underlying depth. ‘Kingdom United’ and “Whenever You’re ready’ crank up the pace and gives us an amazing tune with Tempest’s aching vocals teamed up with Michaeli’s orchestra work followed through with lead guitar. They are shorter numbers and may leave you yearning for more. ‘Election Day’ has a very classic beat to it and the organ at the back is a refresher as it progresses to chorus. It has a nostalgic element to it and one can’t help but remember the times of how the genre sounded during its inception.
‘Pictures’ is one of the most soulfully meaningful songs on the album and leaves you all praises for the writing and lyrical content. ‘Haze’ is one of the heaviest tracks and its sound is a nod to…well, it’s in the name, you’ll figure. Norum knocks the solo out of the park. Closing track (and longest of the album) ‘Turn to Dust’ not only brings this album to a fulfilling and melodious curtain call but brings forth the depth of this albums commendable lyrical content.
Be it the stunning title track, the heavy riffs of ‘Haze’, or the instant melody and lyrics ‘Walk the Earth’ is an album that cannot just merely be heard, it needs to be lived in order to uncover its depths. The wonderful melodies of Joey’s vocals along with the powerhouse playing of John Norum shines across the record. The songs seem to have naturally come together without force or intervention. The sound is very analogue and warm which is what the band has stated they were going for and is a good decision as it does justice to the album. Having said that it is succinctly modern and mixed to perfection. it’s much like its predecessor ‘War of Kings’ but has a more defined character, a stronger backbone and richer style. The band goes on tour later this year, dates have been announced. This album sets to establish the band as one of the most exciting contemporary rock acts not just of the years gone by but of current times too.