CD Reviews

Europe - 'Bag Of Bones' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 18, 2012    
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Easily the best thing Europe have ever done.

Ever since their reformation back in 2003 Europe have released increasingly excellent heavy rock albums, with each release improving on the last. Their live shows in recent years have been nothing short of breath-taking with as many male devotees as female these days. If Deep Purple, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Led Zep etc floats your boat then Europe 2012 is the band for you.

From the heavy funky opening of ‘Riches to Rags’ it is clear that we are in for something special here. The drum sound owes much to the greats Bonham and Paice and the musicianship throughout is exemplary. This album rocks from start to finish and there are nods to all the greats throughout, with the sitar and eastern breakdown in ‘Firebox’ recalling ‘Kashmir’ before giving way to a short Schenkeresque solo from the always impressive John Norum.

Beautiful acoustic work opens the title track before the vocal follows on, leading to a swirling keyboard that announces the heavy as hell rhythm section, and as this song twists and turns it’s clear that this is a departure for Europe but a very successful one. This is a true classic.

So impressive is the opening to the album that I haven’t even mentioned the vocals of Joey Tempest yet. The voice is still recognisable from their 80s output but there is a rich timbre to his singing these days pitching him somewhere between Coverdale and Hughes - high praise maybe but fully justified I assure you.

‘My Woman My Friend’ showcases his range, starting acoustically before moving into a heavy shuffle with superb keyboard fills supporting the heavy riff before another jaw-dropping solo from John Norum, who is on fire throughout this album.

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More heavy keys open ‘Demon Head’ which has a vaguely ‘Still of the Night’ feel to it with great vocals again and some cool fuzzy guitar work. The more I listen to this album the more I love it and for someone who yearns for the mark 2 Purple sound I can honestly say that this album is the equal of those great releases and will be a real eye-opener for anyone still associating Europe with the parping ‘Final Countdown’ and associated fluff. ‘Drink and a Smile’ is all Zep 3 acoustics with Joey Tempest showing another side to his vocals with a bluesy delivery, backed perfectly by guitar. ‘Doghouse’ is straight ahead rocker reminiscent of the kind of stuff Thunder used to do so well.

Throughout this review I have quoted several bands and musicians that this album nods to but one thing I haven’t said is that this is a truly unique piece of work in this day and age. This is true classic rock in 2012 and whilst the previous reference points are there, this is a quality standalone hard rocking album without a duff track anywhere. It is beautifully played throughout by a very tight band and a vocalist with an incredibly strong voice. The production is excellent, allowing all the instruments to be heard and making the songs that much stronger for it. This whole album could translate easily into the live arena and I for one cannot wait to see/hear these songs played live.

So where is the obligatory ballad? ‘Bring It All Home’ closes the album with piano to the forefront and some beautiful guitar fills and another great vocal and guitar solo. Much like the recent Tyketto album this is not just an afterthought but a beautiful ballad which is up there with the best they have ever done.

A fantastic album that is easily the best thing Europe have ever done, this is Heavy/Hard/Classic rock at its finest and more fool you if you cannot see past the hits of the 80s to give this a chance.

Nikki Tylar

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Comments (8)add comment

Pedro said:

Really good review there. I think the point about people being able to look beyond the "Final Countdown" is a very good one. Europe are and always have been a very talented band, so let's hope people can put their preconceptions to one side for a moment and give these guys a much deserved chance!
March 22, 2012
Votes: +5

Vlatko!! said:

WOOOOW! Nice review! I can't wait the new cd to arrive in my mailbox!! If this is better than LLAE,I'm gonna die from happiness!!!
March 22, 2012
Votes: +4

Aishah Bowron said:

Excellent review !. I'm looking forward to hearing this album
March 22, 2012
Votes: +4

Valérie AM said:

Yes, very interesting review. This album seems irresistible. I'm going to buy it as soon as I can. Thank you.
March 23, 2012
Votes: +4

Dani said:

Great review!!! Thank you !!! EUROPE never cease to surpass our expectations and I do believe that they have once again made an incredible album!They are THE only band from the 80's that keeps on creating music,instead of just relying on the old hits and glory and this is exactly what makes them diffent from the rest of the bands from that era!!!Not many bands can say they are being productive as much as EUROPE have and this just confirms how much they actually value music and I hope they keep on recording such amazing albums, as I live through their music! They are exceptionally tallanted and deserve all the success in the World!!!
March 24, 2012
Votes: +4

Hysteria said:

March 31, 2012
Votes: +2

SILVIA said:

April 11, 2012
Votes: +0

jan said:

That was a very good review. Nice that they are up to date with their sound. Shirley is of course a great producer and can bring out the best of the bands. Going to buy this one.
April 26, 2012
Votes: +0

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