(8/10) The announcement of a new Europe longplayer is definitely a moment that’s exciting, immediately connected to discussion about how the new album could/would sound. At least these were the thoughts I had when I heard that “Walk the Earth” is on its way to the record stores.
“Walk the Earth” is Europe’s eleventh studio release, following the excellent “War of Kings” record from 2015. After having had their huge success in the 80’s the second era of Europe, which began in 2003, showcased a band that evolved their sound. Not only that the band members could gain a lot of life experience compared to the young and wild “Final Countdown”-days, also the music evolved over time.
Europe’s latest releases were very much influenced by classic rock and blues, something that fits the band very well. The mentioned predecessor “War of Kings” reflected these influences in perfection while still keeping the Europe trademarks more than alive.
No doubt that Joey Tempest’s voice is a crucial ingredient to Europe’s success, not to forget the awesome guitar play by John Norum. It’s the cooperation between the two that creates a lot of magic when it comes to Europe’s sound, heavily supported by the other three band members (John Leven, Mic Michaeli and Ian Haugland).
What’s another asset when it comes to Europe is the consistency in the line-up. These guys know each other for so long, which allows them to focus on songs and the density of those. The new studio album “Walk the Earth” reflects this in a good fashion. All trademarks of Europe are present from beginning to end. This album is a delight. It sounds like an homage to bands like Led Zeppelin (“Haze”) and Deep Purple while having a very present Europe expression included in each of the tunes.
The most interesting number on the new album is entitled "Pictures". At least I can't remember having heard a similar song from Sweden's finest. If you merge David Bowie and Pink Floyd you get close to what this song sounds like. Keep in a moderate pace the tune is a gently swinging one with a lot of feel that comes with it.
"Kingdom United" instead includes some Thin Lizzy while the uptempo "GTO" reminds of the faster classic of a band like Deep Purple. What sounds like a lack of inspiration still comes with a lot of Europe being embedded, giving the tracks an own identity. Europe still sounds like Europe, regardless what influences one of the biggest influencers in rock music.
Europe added with “Walk the Earth” another pearl to their discography. It might be that some of the earlier releases were shining a little bit more but this longplayer is still far better than most of what you get served from other bands these days. “Walk the Earth” is mature hardrock rooted in the 70’s, benefiting of the technical possibilities of the 2010’s.
- Walk the Earth
- The Siege
- Kingdom United
- Election Day
- Whenever You're Ready
- Turn to Dust
Label: Hell and Back Recordings
Genre: Classic Rock
Release Date EU: October 21st, 2017