ARTIST:

EUROPE

(SWEDEN)
TITLE:

START FROM THE DARK

(2004)
LABEL:

SANCTUARY

GENRE:

MELODIC HARD ROCK

TAGS:
Easy-Listening
"With its new sound identity, Europe succeeds with "Start From The Dark" a return both talented and destabilizing."
LOLOCELTIC (07.03.2008)  
4/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

After 12 years of separation (except for their Y2K appearance on stage), the least we can say is that Europe's new album raises many expectations and questions. The first answer concerning the guitarist is the presence of the original guitarist, John Norum, to compose what many call the classical line-up. Kee Marcello having been accused by many of betrayal towards a commercial pop-hard-FM, the presence of Norum lets us expect a return to the original values which had made the identity of the group on its first 2 albums.

It is nevertheless the surprise which prevails from the first notes of 'Got To Have Faith', the opening track. Indeed, the production is very modern and the sound is darker and heavier. You really need Joey Tempest's characteristic voice to recognize Europe, especially since the keyboards are particularly discreet. The 5 Swedes still have this unique sense of melody and immediate chorus, but the sound is much heavier. If Ian Haugland's mule's punch is not a novelty, it is John Leven's performance that surprises by its darkness and its thickness, which is however only the logical result of his different experiences during the long break of the band. It results from it a sound at the limit of the stoner and intonations that Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society would not deny ('N°12'). Mic Michaeli, as for him, seems to be the main victim of this orientation, his playing being of an exceptional discretion. We can only note his piano interventions on the mid-tempo 'Reason' with its remarkable rise in power, on the melancholic ballad 'Roll With You' and on the intro of 'Spirit Of The Underdog' with its calm verses and catchy chorus. For the rest, his interventions are limited to some more or less discreet layers.

These evolutions, if they can confuse some of us, should not conceal the qualities which result from it. Because it is indeed an excellent album of powerful, dark and melodic hard-rock which Europe has given birth to. The syrupy ballads and other raunchy and commercial productions gave way to real fireworks such as the powerful hard-rock trio which opens this album in a rather homogeneous way with a 'Got To Have Faith' with a melancholic break preceding a solo all in distortion, a 'Start From The Dark', real hymn with a federative chorus and a 'Flames' with a dark sadness. And if the tempo can go up a tone on the very rock'n'roll and festive 'Sucker' or the well named and very hard US 'America' with a devastating solo, it can also be more melancholic. The power ballads 'Hero' and 'Roll With You' or the electro-acoustic ballad 'Settle For Love' are the best examples and have the merit of never sinking into the sweetness or the raunchiness.

Europe succeeds in making a comeback that is both talented and destabilizing, and once the obstacle of the surprise caused by this new identity is overcome, it is easy to be carried away by a production of a very high level and a flawless quality. This deserves respect, both for the risk of the approach and for the excellent result obtained.


More informations on http://www.europetheband.com/





TRACK LISTING:
01. Got To Have Faith - 3:11
02. Start From The Dark - 4:12
03. Flames - 3:56
04. Hero - 4:15
05. Wake Up Call - 4:15
06. Reason - 4:37
07. Song No. 12 - 4:10
08. Roll With You - 4:30
09. Sucker - 3:42
10. Spirit Of The Underdog - 4:25
11. America - 3:36
12. Settle For Love - 3:50

LINEUP:
Ian Haugland: Batterie
Joey Tempest: Chant
John Leven: Basse
John Norum: Guitares
Mic Michaeli: Claviers
   
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READERS
3.2/5 (6 view(s))
STAFF:
3.4/5 (7 view(s))
MY RATING
 
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STREAMING
 
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