The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





MARCH 2 2015



Over the years I’ve had an on-off relationship with Europe, loving their early material, and largely dismissing the band at their peak, it wasn’t until their re-emergence that I really fell in love with what they do. This year’s ‘War of Kings’ in my honest opinion might just well be the best record they have ever released. Big words I know but just listen…

Since re-emerging after 13 years with ‘Start from the Dark’ in 2004 Europe has just gotten better with each release. 2006’s ‘Secret Society’ upped the ante further before 2009’s ‘Last Look at Eden’  bettered even that, then against all odds  2012’s ‘Bag of Bones’ took all that had come before and elevated things to even greater heights. Like the stock market you imagined that things might crash and yet ‘War of Kings’ just seeks to confound that notion. This is simply magnificent…

Things start incredibly well with the title track and it’s immediately apparent that Tempest’s voice has both mellowed and deepened over the years to become a force to be reckoned with. If the best foot forward is to put it all on the table with a real ‘epic’ then ‘War of Kings’ jumps in with both feet,  a huge groove and a stunning melody that just sweeps you away.

It’s the sign of more greatness to come: ‘Hole in My Pocket’ takes us into classic rock territory via latter day Thin Lizzy with Tempest starring; ‘Second Day’ simply sizzles with a wanton desire that builds from a simple vocal before busting from the speakers.

One of the real high points comes up next in ‘Praise You’: it’s the type of timeless Hard Rocking Blues that both delivers both Tempest bluesy vocal and Norum’s wonderful tone on a plate to devour. Take some time with this and like us you’ll be playing it over and over again.

‘Nothin’ To Ya’ adds more wood to the fire with a thunderous rocker to knock the doubters into touch before ‘California 405’ hits the sonic highway with an incendiary display by a band firing on all 12 cylinders. If that wasn’t enough ‘Days of Rock n Roll’ throws some boogie into the already heady mix.  

If you actually manage to catch a breath then ‘Children of the Mind’ will surely take it away as Europe play Dio-era Rainbow as well as you have ever heard. It’s a song you can’t shake, and before you can adjust ‘Rainbow Bridge’ is upon you – a key-heavy eastern odyssey that stutters and slides into your mind.


If you were wondering where the ballad would come in ‘Angels (With Broken Hearts)’ is that song: a smooth sultry slow number up there with anything Europe has penned in a similar vein over the years. Quite simply it’s another peak on an album of vertigo inducing high ground.


Closing out the album ‘Light Me Up’ showcases Norum’s finest moment here along with instrumental closer ‘Vasastan’ (a district in Europe’s home town Stockholm, despite any misgivings you might have about instrumentals this one hits the sweet spot and is a fitting way to underline what is certainly one of the best releases of the year.



by Mark Rockpit