Europe – War of Kings


Europe – War of Kings

UDR Records – 2015

Europe has created a new album that will make you think of Deep Purple, with songs rooted in bluesy hard rock with the organ playing a major role.

2014 © Savage Beauty - Photo: Tallee Savage

What may catch a lot of people off guard, is how rugged the songs are compared to what many folks probably remember about the band’s popular 80s songs “The Final Countdown”, “Carrie” and “Love Chaser.”

The band furrows the Purple vibe right from the get go in “War of Kings.”  The heavy melodic groove is formed by John Norum’s melancholy guitar and Mic Michaeli’s heartfelt keyboard.

Norum’s wah-wah riffage puts a “Hole in my Pocket”, while Joey Tempest provides outstanding gritty vocals.  I really think Tempest never gets enough credit as a singer.  People probably focus too much on his good looks but I’m telling you the man can sing.

The band is really in synch in “The Second Day.”  John Levin’s bass and Ian Haugland’s drums lay the support system for Norum and Michaeli to add their touches to the tune.

Europe gets incredibly passionate during “Praise You.”  The song reminds me of something between the late guitar great Gary Moore and Led Zeppelin.  Norum really let’s his inner feelings out on guitar, which happens gracefully with Michaeli’s underlining keys.

Love the muddy riff of “Nothin’ To You”, which John Norum uses to lead into his excellent solo.  Joey Tempest does another phenomenal job voicing his part of the song.

The keyboard of “California 405” takes you back to Purple bigtime. The band seems to be having fun during “Days of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

The little subtle moments in “Children of the Mind” are very cool and shows musicians that have a real grasp of what is important.

John Norum does another fabulous job with his expressing his lead-work in “Rainbow Bridge.”

It took me way too long to write this review but some much was going on in my life over the past two months, I just couldn’t get to it before now.  I highly encourage you to get War of Kings because it’s emotionally deep, sincere and musically wonderful.  This isn’t any kind of surprise, as I’ve been a fan of the band since they released Wings of Tomorrow (1984).  But for the rest of you, check out how the band’s has grown over the years.  Make no mistake, these guys can still rock hard, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate the level of musical maturity they’ve reached on their latest release.