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Europe - 'War Of Kings' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/7d/31/c3/Europe-War-Of-Kings-74-1425254672.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 02, 2015    
 
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Europe have hit us with a superb album that should see the "sold out" signs littered across their forthcoming World tour!

Like a fine wine that gets better with age, Europe come back to the album table with perhaps their most mature sounding record to date. Of all the Rock bands that have reformed after seemingly being a spent force, Europe undoubtedly have greater relevance than ever before. In a musical climate that sees declining album sales and heralds the death of the long player and CD album format, Europe see fit to release their tenth work of art and fly in the face of the naysayers.

'War Of Kings' as an album title is a fierce statement that resonates throughout the Rock community and the brooding title track is the opening song that harks back to the sound of their first two albums, with John Norum's guitar tone and the chorus reminding the listener of where it all started; Norum's riffs typically building on the same fluid lines as Michael Schenker circa-UFO. In fact the Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Schenker references of their heroes are abound and with Joey Tempest and Norum really allowing their Blues roots to flourish, there's no mistaking there is a classic 1970s British feel permeating throughout the grooves, riffs and tones of this wonderful release.

With no press release Europe let the music do the talking. 'Hole In My Pocket' is a heavy Rocker with the main riff echoing Lizzy with a variation on 'Killer On The Loose'. 'Praise You' doffs its metaphorical hat to Purple with Mic Michaeli's Hammond and Ian Haughland's use of the hi-hat alongside Norum's understated guitar tone. Tempest even teases us with a touch of David Coverdale towards the end. The Zeppelin-influenced 'Rainbow Bridge' is Europe's mini 'Kashmir'.

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Elsewhere 'Nothin To Ya' sees Norum borrow his own riff from 'Mojito Girl' with a quite glorious chorus – one of their best – and a passionate vocal from Tempest. 'California 405', punctuated by Hammond and heavy riffs, is an ode to the major north-south Californian Interstate highway. The ballad 'Angels (With Broken Hearts)' again has touches of Purple whilst 'Days Of Rock N Roll' is a bouncy sing-along number that I'm sure will be a great live hit with Norum conjuring up some tasty licks and Tempest in typical story-telling mode.

Full of sumptuous solos, terrific drumming from Haughland, and solid bass as ever from John Leven, along with Michaeli's keys becoming more prominent and Tempest singing his heart out (whilst invoking his inner Robert Plant with the stunningly powerful 'Children Of The Mind' – another corker similar to 'Doghouse' from the previous 'Bag Of Bones' album), Europe have hit us with a superb album that should see the "sold out" signs littered across their forthcoming World tour!

Carl Buxton

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