Monday, March 9, 2015

EUROPE: "War Of Kings"

Rating: RRr
Label: UDRMusic 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

First of all. Nope. I do not wish for another The Final bloody Countdown album or song for that matter as I can't stand the thing. It's merely the fanfare of the 80's past so do continue in this style and sound as you darn well please. It's really not up to yours truly or anyone else for that matter to decide. It's clearly Europe's choice and they chose to ignore the melodies of their first five records. Pretty much like their live audience chose to ignore the new material and cheer every time they play the oldies.

To be completely honest. There's nothing remotely wrong with the sound or style of War Of Kings. Excellent production. Tempest sound good for his age (perhaps not quite as great as in the heydays though) and John Norum rip and shred like a four legged, no, armed alien from outer space. Norum's guitar work and tone, easily the talking point and strength of the band ever since their reunion. The songs on the other hand are kind of hit and miss. Some of them are as much fun as watching wet paint dry and I miss the hooky refrain. Let's face it. That's what Tempest did best. Hard rock featuring the sing-a-long melody. One thing's for sure. He's no blues vocalist in the same way that Gary Moore (RIP) never was when he did the blues. Only white middle-class never-heard-a-proper-blues-album would ever think so.

Highlights would be the stonking work of 'Nothin To Ya'. The title track, and the catchy number of "Days Of Rock n Roll". The instrumental piece by Norum is another goodie track.Mic Michaeli could actually learn a lot about featuring the mean Hammond work from Eldorado (see review elsewhere) since he's overall too much in the background (but that's probably not his fault). Hiring Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) as the producer may smack of desperation and chasing the current retro rock sound rather than walking their own path. Joey Tempest says that: "this is the album we always wanted to make, ever since we were kids listening to bands like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath". Fair enough. But these three all-time classic acts managed to produced the great tunes to walk along with their talk. Final verdict: it's not the sound, it's the songs.

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