GUEST REVIEW: Europe – War of Kings (2015) by Tommy Morais

It’s been two years since Tommy Morais contributed a review here.  It is with great joy that I celebrate Tommy’s return, and that of the rock band Europe!  Please join me in welcoming back Tommy, a great reviewer originally from the province of New Brunswick, Canada.

NEW RELEASE review by TOMMY MORAIS

 

“Europe establishes itself as a modern classic rock band”

WAR OF KINGSEUROPE – War of Kings (2015 UDR)

After the bluesy affair that was Bag of Bones, the band Europe returns to a heavier sound and approach on War of Kings and ultimately, a more Europe-sounding album. The band has essentially transformed itself from its glam metal roots to essentially become a modern classic rock band. I’ve always been a fan of albums like Wings of Tomorrow and Out of This World, just as l am a fan of Last Look At Eden and their recent albums. If anyone cares to listen there’s more to this band than “The Final Countdown”, the occasional hit song and power ballads. For anyone who’s been keeping track, they know that the last few Europe albums have been very enjoyable and saw them release some of their best music thus far in their career (Last Look At Eden, Start From The Dark, Secret Society).

The title track opens up, and it’s every bit as epic sounding as you expect it to be.  It’s a raunchy, slow down and dirty metallic number. Europe makes it clear from the get-go that they’re going in a heavy direction. “Hole in my Pocket” is a more light and upbeat track, and whereas the first track sounded more metal this one is more energetic AOR rock (with a blistering John Norum solo). “Second Day” is one of the highlights for me: the lyrics and the feel of the song are inspiring and Joey Tempest’s voice sounds like some part deep on him is aching and it’s brilliant. “Praise You” is a slow tempo rocker, not-quite ballad with a bluesy feel (Norum’s playing is just magnificent here) with hard rock tempo changes… this track really surprised me! “Nothin’ To Ya” is in a similar vein as the title track in that it goes for an epic feel but there’s orchestration on in the background that makes it interesting.

“California 405” is a cool mellow, almost easy-listening song. “Days of Rock ‘N’ Roll” is probably the closest sounding thing to a “The Final Countdown” here, and that is based on the joyous riff it possesses. Another solid rocker.  “Children of the Night” is a dark sounding tune with some excelling guitar playing, something almost fit for the late great Ronnie James Dio. “Rainbow Bridge” has an exotic sound; it makes me feel like l’m about to enter some place like Morocco.  It’s this album’s “Kashmir”, very different and very cool.  “Angels (With Broken Hearts”) could almost be considered a ballad but it’s really a slow, here-comes-the-heartache piece with the music doing the biggest talking. “Light Me Up” is not bad at all, but it’s my least favourite song on War of Kings and not the best way to end the album.

For what it is I quite enjoy War of Kings, and it offers a solid collection of songs. Joey Tempest’s voice has aged like a fine wine where you can tell he’s comfortable and confident in his abilities, and this is possibly the best he’s ever sounded in all honesty. John Norum is a very talented guitar player and he has his shining moments in his riffs and solos, and puts a little blues out there as well. Europe are competent musicians and it certainly comes across as such, and maybe even more so now that they have moved past the “glam” and “hair” metal tags. I feel like since their comeback in the early 2000’s they’ve truly become a modern classic rock band in sound and spirit (don’t worry they still love and play the classics and hits live).

While it’s true that you only get one first impression, l wish more people would give Europe a chance, because they’re not the same band they were during the 80’s and they’ve become better musicians as time passed by. I think a lot of classic rock fans who didn’t like Europe during their most successful years especially might enjoy this a lot more than they’d ever think. Maybe some were hoping for a nostalgia trip but the keyboards and power ballads are not to be found here, this is a more mature Europe and a very fine one at that. For that reason l think some would like this a lot more. And if you were a fan all along then what are you waiting for? Pick this up and give it a spin. I praise Europe for giving us a true great hard rock record in 2015.

4/5 stars

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16 comments

  1. Awesome write-up by Tommy. He’s spot on in so many places, but I must oppose to Europe being glam. They were never a glam band and even though I still cringe over the word hair metal (there is no genre called that, never were), Europe had their feet in AOR and melodic rock and were more in the same vein as Def Leppard or Bon Jovi.
    But even back when, a closer listen reveals their big influences from 70’s bands like Whitesnake, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy and UFO.

    That said, I hope that Mikey will give us his review of this in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am pleased that you care enough about what my opinion is on this! I want to save a full review for when I get the Japanese with bonus track. I can say that I love War of Kings. I loved Secret Society and Last Look at Eden too…it is very hard for me to compare the albums since they are all so strong.

      Like

      1. Cool. Looking forward to that.
        But this really is a great review.
        One other thing, there’s a song on this album called Children Of Mind, not Children Of The Night. Just thought I should point that out…

        Like

  2. For all you guys who have bought the actual CD – or are about to do so, all the pics in the booklet is taken by my brother’s wife, Tallee and the retouch is by my brother.
    Just needed to brag a little… ;-D

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is for all those who say that the band Europe is still great or that still make great albums – STOP writing such a shocking nonsenses and stupidities!! All last albums are false and absolutely horrible and this fake band has nothing in common with the real group Europe from the 80’s, now they make fake records, fake and lifeless music without a soul, fake “shows”, all is fake and false and that’s because since the middle of 1989 the real Joey Tempest is not in this band and Joey was truly the only one who has made this group huge with his talents, awesomeness and uniqueness!! And since 26 years there’s such a horrible imposter and liar in this “group”, that’s not the real Joey Tempest!! The real Joey Tempest had to leave the group because of this horrible liar!! It’s so obvious and so clear to see that it’s just someone different (unless you’re blind and deaf, like bunch of ignorants). Only blind and narrow-minded can’t see that there’s a completely different person, not the real Joey in the video with interview from UK concert in august 1989 (and i’m not saying that because of different hairdo but because of everything else) and later is also in all the rest of the videos and everywhere. It’s very recognizable that it’s someone different and if you would know and appreciate the real Joey Tempest very well like he absolutely deserves to be known and appreciated, you would just know and see that instantly. But it is not recognizable to you because you all never knew nor appreciate the real Joey Tempest at all if you believe in such a huge lie, if you believe this awful and horrible liar, an imposter!!! So you never, ever were Europe nor real Joey Tempest’s true fans and you absolutely aren’t at all!! How could you do this to real Joey??!!! How shockingly stupid and close-minded you all are!!! Such a shame, shame on you all!!! The same applies to the rest of the “members” of this “group”!!! No one is talking about it all, because unfortunately the whole world (except a few intelligent people) idiotically has fallen for all these lies, shockingly stupid and idiotic “fans” are still buying and enjoying all this falsity, exciting about all this cruelty, taking a part in this huge meanness, only helping these liars to make such a huge farce but time will absolutely prove you’re all so wrong!! You idiots, incapable of logical thinking accept, praise and support mean, negative imposter and liar, can’t see the truth and it only shows that you didn’t appreciate at all the one and only, real Joey Tempest and that’s a huge, huge mistake and therefore you absolutely don’t deserve and you have no rights to call yourselves a “fan” because you never were any kind of fans!! This horrid demon also released solo albums under the name of Joey, still insolently pretending to be Joey Tempest!!! And this disgusting, hideous and rude imposter has nothing in common with the real Joey Tempest, Europe’s vocalist in 1982-1989, not only his looks and sound of voice are completely different but also behaviour, eyes, facial features, personality and absolutely everything!! And the excuse that it could be because the years have passed, it’s just such a stupid and lame excuse!!! This is just a totally different person!! It’s not even a person, he acts like some kind of a devil!! He isn’t even real Joey’ Tempest’s look-alike and never, ever will be like Joey!!! A real Joey Tempest had so much love for the fans, he loved people generally and it was so clear to see, he was such an amazing, unique, loving and beautiful person inside and out, the most amazing person in the whole world, he was very talented, gifted, with pure, heavenly voice and had a lovely, beautiful, angelic soul, he wanted to give fans all what was the best to give and he gave all of that, not like imposter which is incomparably worse and gives all what’s the worst with his rude behaviour, obscene facial expressions, offensive gestures towards people and has no talent, no soul and no voice!! There’s not even comparison between him and the real Joey Tempest!! This demonic devil only cares about himself, this whole falsity and not about the “fans”, his main and the only goal is to make fools of as many people as possible to still gain more and more as long as it’s possible undeservedly and you all brainless idiots still help him to do this!!! And the real Joey Tempest gave people all the best he had and what you stupid ignorants and idiots gave him in return, what you all did to him instead??!!! You never knew nor appreciated him at all and you love, accept and support false and bad imposter, it’s so unfair, mean and cruel!!! You are worshipping the devil!!! I repeat – Shame on you all!!! If any of the thousands of deceived, blind ignorants want to write back saying that doesn’t believe me, read carefully the lyrics of Europe’s “Danger on the track” and if your eyes and minds still will be closed so just wait, time will tell that all written here it’s the truth and all this huge farce definitely will come to an end one day!! Lies can’t last forever and they will be forced to end all this whole meannes and all liars, posers will disappear. Some of you might want to fix your huge errors then, but it can be too late to do that. And the real, THE ONE AND ONLY Joey Tempest will come back. Not to this group because they never deserved to have him as a friend. He will be happy and will be appreciated the way he really deserves by wise and really good, righteous people. And it’s just a matter of time before the truth will come out, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN – as an angel Joey sings!! This is why that song has become so succesful and Joey made it huge because it’s the song about the truth. So the truth will come back to earth!!! This is The Countdown the one and only, real Joey Tempest was really singing about – TO LOVE AND THE TRUTH!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see you made the mistake of spilling meth into your coffee this morning champ. Maybe take a break from the internet? Try going outside to run around for a while…flapping your arms and shouting “cock-a-doodle-doo!” at every car that drives by. Jesus H Christ.

        Liked by 2 people

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