“Secret Society” by Europe

Artist: Europe
Title: “Secret Society”
Label: Sanctuary Records
Release Date: 11/7/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

Europe resurfaced to the Hard Rock community with “Start From The Dark”, a rallying call of music that showed that the band had not suffered over time but instead improved like some fine wine. The release gave a number of killer tunes such as the title track and “Hero” most specifically. Touring for this album broke venue records and this was not bad for a band that had not performed together in well over a decade. Their new release “Secret Society” continues along with a lot of the same formula that was used on “SFTD” but I admit that it takes a few listens to appreciate it. Joey Tempest still rocks and truly knows how to win the listener over with his smooth voice and should he need to belt them out he does not have any problems. Tempest actually wrote most of the album this time around and while this is a solid disc, there is hardly any of the punch that we felt on “SFTD”. I also felt that the album was lacking in the providing some kind of anthem along the lines of “The Final Countdown” which made this band a household name back in the glory days. There is some killer guitar riffing by John Norum as one would expect and on the whole, this is not a bad album. There are several rockers present with “Love Is Not The Enemy” and “Always The Pretenders” (the first single from the release) and I think overall that it will continue to please their existing fan base. The ballad for the album falls in “A Mother’s Son” and that serves it’s purpose fine and should have lighters or cell phones raised during performances going forward. Personally, I loved “The Getaway Plan” because that seemed to mix classic old school vibe with some of today’s freshness.

I have to say that it is great that Europe shows that they are refusing to rest on the past successes and grow too comfortable. They love bringing music to the people and it shows well in the production of the new release. It has an incredible sound and also offers some interesting art that was done by Storm Thorgerson. The only downside is that it might sound a little too polished for some listeners and instead of continual listens might only generate an on and off appeal. The recording was again performed by the classic/reunion lineup of Tempest (voice), Norma (guitar), Leven (bass), Michaeli (keyboards) and Haugland (drums).

It’s a release from a band that has both matured and aged with their original fans as well but does not sound old in any sense of the word. Perhaps unleashing a couple of the held back reigns would have been a smart decision but we shall see what comes from them the next time around before I become a harsh judge. If you are a Europe fan, you will enjoy this and if you are casual then stick with the greatest hits or the recent live DVD releases.

Track Listing:
1. Secret Society
2. Always The Pretenders
3. The Getaway Plan
4. Wish I Could Believe
5. Let The Children Play
6. Human After All
7. Love Is Not The Enemy
8. A Mother’s Son
9. Forever Traveling
10. Brave And Beautiful Soul
11. Devil Sings The Blues

Official Website: www.europeband.com

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