Most people will associate Europe with “The Final Countdown” and write them off as just another has-been, Glam Metal band from the '80s. Of course that silly notion could not be any more untrue; since reuniting back in 2004, Europe has gained renewed strength and momentum with an updated, mature sound that has taken them to an entirely new level. Their latest album, Bag Of Bones, is a testament to how far this band has come over the past 30 years.
Europe has developed a very innovative sound which is both bluesy and melodic. Lead singer Joey Tempest is a true, ardent professional with his clean-cut high tenor that has held up over the years. Guitarist John Norum, arguably one of the finest and most respected musicians around, is once again brilliant -- just as in all his previous work. To further solidify the essence of Europe, all five current members are from the classic “Mk. II” Europe line-up, which raised them to international fame in the '80s.
Regarding the music presented on Bag Of Bones, Europe puts out their heaviest and grittiest album to date. Following up a very strong 2009 release with Last Look At Eden, Europe continues to take on darker and more mature themes with their music, while still remaining sophisticated. Many of the tracks have a bluesier undertone with this album, and Norum’s riffs are both heavy and passionate. He doesn’t have a lot of airy runs and solos on this album, just enough to fill in the gaps when necessary.
Musically overall, there are many classic themes which are reminiscent of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin filled throughout. Having said that, the album does not have a “dated” feel, the use of those themes are incorporated very well into a modern day sound, primarily due to the expressive and enthusiastic vocals of Joey Tempest. One of the songs that stands out the most on the album is the title track “Bag Of Bones” which has a great acoustic Blues intro with some authentic, theatric vocals from Tempest. The melodic chorus line is infectious and uplifting with some really tight riffs from Norum, which is then topped off with a killer solo.
Europe basically takes many elements of Rock and Metal and compounds them into a no frills formula based around brilliant musicianship and quality songwriting. They do not try to do anything over the top or create anything quirky. Bag Of Bones is a solid album from start to finish and can be valued on multiple levels. These guys get better with every album and are not even close to making their “Final Countdown.”
Official Europe Website