(9/10) "War of kings" is the new album from Europe and is already their tenth studio release in their career. As almost no other band the five guys can reinvent Europe again and again, giving their sound always a slightly new expression by constantly sticking to their trademarks.
Regardless if we talk about the hardrock days from the beginning ("Wings of tomorrow"), the commercial rock times with "The final countdown" or the very blues and classic rock influenced last record "Bag of bones" - all those longplayers had their charm and could have been easily identified as being Europe releases.
A crucial part of Europe is the chemistry in the band. Joey Tempest, John Norum, John Leven, Mic Michaeli and Ian Haugland are playing together since almost the beginning of the band. They have grown together during time and the latest releases have presented a band that got mature by still being young at heart.
But it's especially the combination Tempest and Norum that is very important for the band. Singer and guitarist working together is the success factor of many great bands - like Europe.
The new album goes a bit away from the bluesy expression on "Bag of bones" and sounds more rocking again. Joey Tempest said, that "War of kings" is the album that band always wanted to creta wheh they have been kids and listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I think they succeeded.
Already the title tack, which is also the opener, reflects this very well. The track sound sharder than the ones on "Bad of bones", showing some Zeppelin melody lines a heavy riff from Norum. It's a cool entry into the album.
The Purple references can be heard in tracks like "Second day". It's a pretty releaxed song, build on a great melody and an organ that is so much classic rock. For me a highlight on an album that is full of great songs.
The blues comes back in "Praise you" and John Norum's gentle singing guitar make the track really special. And also "Angels (with borken hearts) is a bluesy tune that Whitesnake couldn't write and perform better. That's the way a soulful ballad needs to sound. It gives you the shivers.
"Days of rock n roll" promise in the title what you get in the song. This is rock'n'roll from the seventies with a galloping rhythm and a cool riff. Joey Tempest's vocals are just outstanding and the song is another pearl on "War of kings".
"War of kings" adds another tinte to Europe's sound palette. It is one of the best albums the band from Sweden ever wrote and released. Yes, "The final countdown" is for the masses, but "War of kings" is the band at their best. It's a longplayer of a band that got mature over all the years and enjoys the ease of making rock music. Thank you for this album.
- War of kings
- Hole in my pocket
- Second day
- Praise you
- Nothin' to ya
- California 405
- Days of rock'n'roll
- Chikdren of the mind
- Rainbow bridge
- Angels (with broken hearts)
- Light me up
- Vasastan (Bonus)