EUROPE – Europe [Japanese Blu-Spec CD2 remastered]
Japanese remastered editions of EUROPE first albums have been requested several times here, so let’s start with Europe’s self-titled debut. It has been pressed on high quality Blu-SpecCD2, Sony Music’s answer to SHM-CD.
Europe origins – like most Scandinavian melodic hard rock acts which born in the first half of the ’80s – where musically firmly planted in traditional metal. “Europe” is a metal album, and a damn fine one at that.
The regal, thunderous riff of “In the Future to Come” should warn away anyone who know Europe only for the power ballads. This speedy UFO / Judas Priest hybrid rocks showing Joey Tempest’s voice not as soulful / powerhouse it would later become, it’s just straight to the point.
The trad-metal here is pure: no frills, no excesses, just steamhammer rhythm and a howling lead singer. Throw in some ace John Norum guitar work and you have something to talk about. His double-tracked solo might be reminiscent of Thin Lizzy, yet more modern.
“Farewell” is straightforward too, on the hard rock side of things. Some may be off-put by the flat lead vocals, but the song slams and the chorus is memorable enough for me.
Then “Seven Doors Hotel” changes the scene with a haunting piano opening… but it’s merely a fake out. The speedy riffing and wailing Norum are back making his Les Paul howl like Joey does at the microphone. Even though there’s some neoclassical finesse to some of the music, I hear a bit of Phil Lynott in there too.
One of my favorite tracks is “The King Will Return”, a softer song, melodic and still pretty epic, and also “Words of Wisdom” with its acoustic verse. That doesn’t make it a ballad, no, this picks up speed for the chorus and continues to storm the gates of Valhalla like the rest of the album. It’s a bit slower in pace, but the drums still hit like hammers while Joey howls at the thunder.
“Paradize Bay” (not sure why they spelled it with a z) is one of the album’s strongest cuts. It’s a relentless battering ram with a chorus that hints at the grandness of Europe in the future. Norum’s solo is sloppy but delicious.
“Memories” then closes the album on a ballsy note. There are plenty of ‘woah woah’ vocals to go around, and drummer Tony Reno seemingly pulverizes his kit. There’s another voice singing with Joey on the outro of the song; is this John Norum?
Europe’s debut album was self produced, and as such it resulted pretty raw and heavy, but that’s the sound Norum & Co were looking at the moment. Not all bands who self produced early in their careers managed to get results as good as those on “Europe”.
By 1983 they were just a bunch of kids, and this is damn fine work which still resist the test of time, helped by this clean remastering basically providing more gain & punch.
Sony Music Japan ~ 【Blu-Spec CD2】
ヨーロッパ / ヨーロッパ ~ SICP-30394
01 – In The Future To Come
02 – Farewell
03 – Seven Doors Hotel
04 – King Will Return
05 – Boyazont
06 – Children Of This Time
07 – Words Of Wisdom
08 – Paradize Bay
09 – Memories
Joey Tempest – vocals, acoustic guitars, keyboards
John Norum – guitars, background vocals
John Levén – bass guitar
Tony Reno – drums
BUY IT !