Europe Start From The Dark Sony Music Sweden
· Produced By: Kevin Elson

· Running Time: 48.50

· Release Date: Out Now

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: Modern Hard Rock

· Links: Europe
Songs: 80%
Sound: 90%
The subject of much debate already, the new Europe album is bound to keep fans and pundits of the scene talking indefinitely.
Could the much loved hard rock band reform after all these years and actually keep everyone happy? Probably not, but on the strength of this album, they seem to have a narrow margin voting in their favor.
For the record – this is a solid album – for the most part. This is a good modern hard rock album. The question remains – is this what fans wanted from Europe in 2004?
While many will answer yes, many others will answer no.
I feel I am in an ideal position to comment without bias. Europe as a band were never a personal favourite, yet I own a few of their discs.
However, I am a very keen follower of the guys individually and remain a big fan of Joey Tempest's solo work (aside from the last album) and John Norum's also.
And the remaining guys have all been a part of some very classy releases over the past few years.
So a reformation was of great interest to me – what would the band do?
Like many, I was hoping for an album that showcases what the band did best in their past, yet with an updated feel. It seems for many, the updated sound goes to far, with the band relying heavily on current trends in down tuned guitars to stay fashionable.
One you get used to the sound and get over the fact the album isn't a hairspray commercial, there are some fine songs to enjoy. It's a pretty heavy collection of songs, even if the guys do sound a little restrained at times.
The whole album requires a lot of listening to get into it, but the effort is largely rewarded. However, the second half of the album is nowhere near as good as the first and the over feeling I have is the album is good, but not classic.
Track By Track:
Got To Have Faith is a personal favourite and a cool way to start the album. Not too heavy and a powerful rhythm section. The chorus is effective, but made even better by a mellow mid-song bridge, before kicking into a good solo. At least the guys didn't ditch the solos!
Start From The Dark is a crunchy hard rocker with another good chorus and some strong down tuned riffs from Norum.
Flames is a heavy modern rocker with a semi-industrial vibe. Completely out of character for the band, but it works thanks to some strong lead vocals and a chorus that grows on you each listen.
Hero is possibly the closest track to a more familiar Europe sound. No surprise that this will be a single and the lead track for the US release of the album. A commercial, yet modern mid-tempo ballad that isn't too far off recent era Bon Jovi.
Wake Up Call is another heavy and more aggressive number along the lines of Flames. Tough, hard edged and featuring a subtle bridge to chorus arrangement. Cool track…
Reason is another enjoyable track which sees the band offering a very modern, updated take on the mid-tempo moody rocker genre.
Song #12 is sadly where things begin to slip a little and the songs begin to sound a bit same-ish. In fact, this track is bloody awful, with barely a discernable hook or melody evident.
Roll With You is a dark and moody ballad which is one of the few tracks to feature piano or keyboards. A good chorus which could have been better had it had a little more energy.
Sucker is much better. This is another album highlight and despite the guitar sound, is closer to the traditional Europe vibe.
Spirit Of The Underdog is another dark and heavy modern rocker. The guitar sound is just a little too modern for these guys and the chorus doesn't save the song.
America thankfully sees the tempo lifted and some solid riffing put into play. But the guitar sound employed throughout the album is getting a little tired and once again, the chorus doesn't save the overall song – even though it's not a bad track.
Settle For Love is an semi-acoustic ballad and really seems out of place on the album,. More fitting of one of Tempest's solo albums, this track features some fine guitar work, but not too much in the way of memorable hooks.
The Bottom Line
A couple of pretty bad songs bring down the overall quality and harm the flow of the album. A couple too many overtly modern and down tuned tracks also take away from what could have been a classic record.
On the positive, the band shows they are able to deliver some classy rock songs no matter what year it is. For the most part they have updated their sound successfully, but forgot a couple of extra killer choruses which could have made the difference here.
A little more emphasis should have been placed on reconnecting with their past and that would have delivered a more balanced record.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Europe
· Wings Of Tomorrow
· Final Countdown
· Out Of This World
· Prisoners In Paradise
· Start From The Dark

Line Up
· Joey Tempest: Vocals
· John Norum: Guitar
· Ian Haugland: Drums
· John Leven: Bass
· Mic Michaeli: Keyboards

Essential for fans of:
· Europe
· Joey Tempest - Joey Tempest
· John Norum - Slipped Into Tomorrow
Track Listing
· Got To Have Faith*
· Start From The Dark*
· Flames
· Hero*
· Wake Up Call*
· Reason
· Song No. 12
· Roll With You
· Sucker*
· Spirit Of The Underdog
· America
· Settle For Love
--*Best Tracks

08/08/07: Harv -
Rating: 85
I think that this is a very good CD. I had a friend in Finland send it to me because it wasn't available in the US. The CD really grew on me and it never left cd player for a week. A lot of recent cds barely make it to the end of the day. If you don't have it, get it.

09/09/06: gregg -
Rating: 76
Modern, not melodic sounding. The songs are just average in my
opinion. The wrong direction in my opinion.

05/07/06: Glenda Tienda -
Rating: 99
I love the new heavier sound! I can't wait for their next album to come out!

16/02/06: Big Mike -
Rating: 80
Pretty Good release from Europe. Yes it has a modern feel but its melodic rock. The songs are great. And it's heavier than their old stuff aswell. Well done lads...more of the same please.

20/01/06: Mad Max -
Rating: 20
A really poor album. Absolutely no song that sticks in your head, no great melodies- just a big great nothing!

24/06/05: dino -
Rating: 100
It's quite easy to bash any album out there, if you want to be malicious, but the fact is that this album is superb songwriting and melodies and sound. Forget the 80s, people change, the sound has changed, but their talent will never change. I have enjoyed it, these guys simply cannot make a bad record. The sounds can be different, but melodies are great.
Andrew, I must say I don't really get your criteria. Because of your rating of Cornerstone's Once Upon Our Yesterdays where you gave them 90 or something I bought the album and that was without any doubt the worst record I have ever heard. On the other hand you give Europe 80...nevermind, it's all about taste I guess.
Europe rocks, I saw them live in Hammersmith in London, and I can't wait for the next studio release...

19/04/05: Russ -
Rating: 65
I respect them for trying something new and updating their sound but I think they will alienate a lot of the fans that gave them their success in the first place. The modern grungey style's not really my cup of tea. I don't hate it but the better tracks on the album are the ones which are vaguely redolent of classic Europe, like Hero and Roll With You. The rest of it is interesting enough to listen to if you forget about who it is but on the whole its a disappointment. I can't stand Song No 12, Sucker and Spirit Of The Underdog! I've given it 65 - but more out of respect for the fact that they've tried to move on. Its not an complete disaster but its hardly a rip roaring success either. Lukewarm!

23/03/05: Steve - [classified]
Rating: 99
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first listened to this. On one hand part of me yearns for the slick melodicism and triumphant bombast of yesteryear. On the other hand, I believe artists are at their best when they apply gradual evolution and growth to their sound and was hoping to see some sort of maturity and change as well.

Fortunately, what I got was a welcome and refreshing surprise. "Start From The Dark" is one of the best modern Hard Rock/Metal albums out there, combining the best elements of both the old and new school. This is some pretty full-throttle, meat 'n potatoes Hard Rock/Metal with lots of crunchy guitar riffs, intelligent arrangements, and tasteful melodic leadwork. John Norum seems to have mastered the concept of punctuating a song without just playing flamethrower, and thus his solos sound more efficient and thought through and demonstrate great maturity and flexibility. Joey Tempest continues to display an ear for crafting solid song constructs with subtle hooks and infectious melodies that pull you in track after great track. After listening to this album only a few times, I had every song memorized and could list all the songs and write all the lyrics. Rarely can I do this when listening to a new album, and this is clear evidence of how memorable this material really is.

Simply put, this is excellent stuff! This is what Radio Rock should sound like! Standouts include "Got To Have Faith" with it's addictive vocal hook, the darkly catchy title track, heartfelt power-ballad "Hero", fist-pumping anthem "Wake Up Call", and the Thin Lizzy-esq, feel-good "Sucker". This is a mature and developed album. While a certain dark vibe permeates much of the material, it never becomes maudlin or depressing, but rather reflects a band that's intent upon expressing personal growth and soul-searching with the goal of remaining in this for the long haul. The end result is a selection of charismatic and intelligent, yet accessible songs that are at once cathartic and uplifting, thoughtful and life-affirming. This is what good music is supposed to be all about. "Start from the dark" is one of the finest albums of 2004/2005 and the strongest material EUROPE has ever recorded. Welcome back guys!!

23/03/05: Metal Mark -
Rating: 99
Wow! I know I'm late reviewing this, but it never came out in the states. Finally got a Russian (!?!) copy, but I've been listening to a downloaded (illegal?) copy for months. First off, forget "The Final Countdown." Very good album, but another time, another place. This is the here and now and these Swedes have been gone far too long. Great to have 'em back, I must admit. Very suprised at the guitarwork of John Norum. He makes the album with that excellent tone. Riffs from Europe? You bet'cha! This finished at #4 of my Fave Discs of '04. Just an incredible comeback. Best tracks are 'Faith,' 'Sucker,' 'Spirit Of The Underdog' and the title cut. Old fans might be taken aback by the lack of keys, but Norum's axework teamed with Joey Tempest's stellar vocals make this a winner in my book!

19/03/05: Mar -
Rating: 99
This is a great album! I agree you'll have to listen to it a couple of times... but than it's the best! I realy am a big Europe fan, always have been but the Prisoners in Paradise album disappointed me al little bit. That's why I'm so glad they have done something different.

There is one thing I don't understand about some reviews here. Why is it a bad thing if a band changes their sound over the years? Do we want them to stay the same, even after 12 years? Songwriters need a chance to grow and I can emagine nobody likes doing the same thing over and over again. I think every Europe album so far is different from the one before and that's a good thing. I don't need 6 albums that all sound the same. Do you?

Having said that... Give this album a chance even if you don't like the old Europe sound! And if you have the chance see them live, that will be the best experience!

19/03/05: Graham Fenn -
Rating: 0
In one word: 'dreadful'.

Rating: 99
A really great cd... For me the best of EUROPE after "Wings of tomorrow"... I heard it many many times... I think that the rating of is very wrong and after the unacceptable and unfair rating of John Norum's "Optimus" i believe that you have problem with this great band...
Sorry that is my opinion

15/02/05: Hadi -
Rating: 89
This is not old Europe,but this certainly is welcome.Good job Mr Tempest and band.Solid and memorable songwriting!!

10/02/05: Shelby -
Rating: 88
A very solid effort by this veteran band. I enjoy the updated sound since it is tougher and more in your face. I keep an open mind about the fact that some artists may change their approach and this is the case with Europe. Even though it is more of an extreme change than most it does'nt take away what is there, which is quality song writing. A most solid album.

09/02/05: Freddy De Keyzer -
Rating: 25
A crap CD from begin to end (certainly the last songs). Another band jumping on the modern bandwagon and forgetting their loyal fans. Down tuned guitars is not what we need from Europe !
No, a major disappointment !

06/12/04: Mark Kennedy -
Rating: 65
Tough one this.On one hand its a good album, but on the other it isn't.I am a huge fan of Europe (the guitar and keyboard driven band who have the same names as these guys!!) and don't know why they are doing a sound that every new/recent band is doing ...IT DOESN'T SOUND DIFFERENT IF IT'S THE CURRENT TREND.
To conclude,it is a fairly good album and I may even say buy it,but it certainly is not Europe and they should have come back with a great melodic rocking album or gone out on a high by Leaving 'Prisoners..' as their last release.

05/12/04: Petras Chacon -
Rating: 100
the pressure is mounting and the guys are ready and counting... they are real good it is not delirious.. i get the feeling that they can win again...and they´ve got nothing left to lose they start from the wrote many soundtracks to my life... you guys are the rock in my life....THIS IS THE NEW EUROPE it doesn´t matter if some people don´t talk the way you guys do..´cause there must be a reason....that amplify my deepest thoughts ....yes, we´re a suh suh sucker for a guitar hero....growing up with grace... but the journey´s still on for my BRAZIL THIS IS AMERICA AND START FROM THE DARK IS EUROPE TAKE CARE ALL OF YOU!!!!!

03/12/04: Paul -
Rating: 65
First off, if you are into the grunge/modern sound of rock, then the new album may be quite enjoyable to you.

Having said that, those that love Europe for the sound of the albums of the past will for the most part find this one BLAND.

How many of you Kiss fans out there that loved albums like "Rock And Roll Over" and "Destroyer" felt that the 90's album "Carnival Of Souls" had the same Kiss sound? "Start From The Dark" is Europe's equivalent.

For those who crave the old Europe sound like I do, try Crystal Blue's "Detour" album of 2003. Totally enjoyable album from beginning to end.

It's a very funny yet scary thing when Crystal Blue sounds more like Europe these days than Europe does.

01/12/04: Greg -
Rating: 95
One of the best records from europe! And no second final countdown! Fantastic! see you at

13/11/04: paolo -
Rating: 80

This is a good album. Well produced, good sound, great songs but let´s be clear: this is not Europe. They should have renamed the band.
I enjoy the cd, but i miss their old sound. I prefer a happy sound that the dark sound that we have in some songs.

13/11/04: Mario -
Rating: 70
Not a "bad" album. But not a great one. Some good songs (very different anyway from what the band used to sound), many average tracks. All in all it does not deserve to be huge. Let's hope the next one will have better songwriting.

10/11/04: Morten Noehr - mn@lyd-billed,dk
Rating: 95
This is a fantastic album, great modern melodic rock. Not that I´m not into the new James Christian album, which is more classic melodic rock style. But who would believe that Europe would release an album in the likes of The Final Countdown or Out of this World in 2004, when You´ve heard the last couple of albums from Joey Tempest(which are great)who always has been the main songwriter in Europe. This is without a doubt the best album Europe has released. The only thing that I don´t get is why; Got to have faith is the first single release.

09/11/04: Jocke -
Rating: 97
No matter what some fans of their old music might say, give this album a big chance - you will be greatly rewarded! I think their debut was really good, Wings of tomorrow nearly top-notch, whereas TFC, OOTW and PIP are all-time classics - as good as it gets!
So what about this new album? Well, it contains segments from their past, while focusing on an updated sound that reflects the albums that the individual members have been part of for the last decade (after taking a break from Europe). Most important is the fact that this is a very well produced album with excellent vocal and instrumental performances, and really strong songs that come to life after you give the disc numerous spins in your player. While maybe not so infectious on the first listen, I still think Hero could be and should be a huge single. Let's hope for that, Europe deserves that and hard rock needs it.
In my opinion, this is a huge album, full of heavy melodic rock with power. Since Kee never left the band, he was asked to join for this album. However, he wanted to continue with his hew band instead and naturally the option came for John to rejoin his old mates. He obviously said yes - a decision warmly welcomed. From seeing them live again, it seems the chemistry and performance excitement is stronger than ever.

03/11/04: Georg Loegler -
Rating: 93
I LOVE the album, and especially the title track and "Spirit of the underdog", also "Flames" is excellent. If there wouldnt be the weird "Song no.12" the rating would be 95.
Just saw the band last Sunday, two days back and they ROCKED !!!
VERY good concert, one of the top 3 shows I saw this year and I see a lot ! Also the chemistry in the band is just great and you see it - they are actually having fun playing !
The record is one of my top 4 records of 2004.
PS : something is just not right when a album like the SHADOWS FADE gets a higher (?!?) rating than Start from the dark !

02/11/04: DR - n/a
Rating: 10
Very sad reunion effort. John Norum, a guitar hero by all rights, underplays his terribly down-tuned guitars with one of the worst guitar tones I've heard in recent memory. The songs begin to all sound the same, even after repeated listens. At least Tempest's voice doesn't sound so whiney anymore (his singing was best on "Prisoners In Paradise"). This is a terrible attempt at a sell-out & update to the modern nu-breed metal sound, & the only bands to have really updated their sound successfully have been new TNT & Harem Scarem. This effort is just heart-wrenching. Tesla's new one (which sucks) was a more valiant statement than this! I don't know if this is the band's fault, the producer's fault, or the record company's fault...but someone had a real brain fart to put this together. Too sad.

29/10/04: Stafen -
Rating: 99
I´ve benna a fan since '82 of Europe. I didn´t like the Out of this world album for it´s a bit too softly produce...
But this one... Man, it blew me away !
I was lucky enough to be at the releaseparty and they performed some new songs, and a classic (the final...).
When I listened to the album the songs just grew on me... Songs like "Spirit of the underdog", "America" and very powerful "flames"... If you like them on the album, wait `till you hear them live... It´s just one song I miss live "spirit of the...". I went to the consert at Hovet 21/10 and the night was magic... I don´t know if they are going to be as bigselling as in 86-87, but for you that has a chance to see them: Take it !
EUROPE IS BACK.... And they want YOU to know it !!!

I know... I like ;)

28/10/04: donna newman -
Rating: 100
i have been a fan for many years and i have liked every one of there albums but this one is i think this one is the best one yet. i have waited a long time for a new album and i think they have proven that it is worth the wait. i am hoping the US will give them a chance because i think they will be surprised. i cant wait til they come to the US

28/10/04: Angela -
Rating: 100
Thought this was not what I expected to hear from Europe I can not say I am displeased. At first maybe a bit confused.... I Thought "no this couldn't POSSIBLY be TFC Europe I know and love...Where's the Keyboards" BUT...... After listening to it a few more times I am conpletely astounded by how fast it grew on me. The keys are still there though not as prominent (and it helps if you have kick ass speakers lol) Joey's voice, though maybe not as high in range as before is still just as powerful and soulful. The Guitar solos are just great! It's been forever since I've heard modern sounding music with a guitarist who just smokes!!!! It's about time! I have to disagree with a few of you here in that Song #12 is one of my favorites on the whole CD I don't find it weak or boring at in fact I find it quite moving! Just the whole dark vibe I really really Love. My other faves are Hero... for sentimental reasons of course and Spirit of the Underdog. I hope everyone will open thier minds and really give this CD the chance it deserves!!!!!!!!

28/10/04: Brian -
Rating: 99
This is by far the best album Europe have ever made.

Welcome back

28/10/04: John Raven -
Rating: 95
I must say that I love the new heavier sound!!! However the heavy sound on the CD is nothing compared to the live experience. They setlist includes 6 of the new songs and my favourite live track was "Wake Up Call" and especially Ian's drumming. Actually after all that heavy stuff the closing with "The Final Countdown" felt like almost the worst song in the set(my all time favourite song). If you can see the guys live then don't miss it!!! I rate their concert as nbr one. Seen bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, Accept, AC/DC etc.

28/10/04: Dominique -
Rating: 100
First of all it's great to have a band like Europe back on track! A band with these qualities should not dissapear from the hard rock scene. I'm a big fan of all their albums especially "Out of this World", but I give this album a 100 score because for me it gives another perspective on the band. The album is a lot rougher than the previous stuff and it shows what major capabilities the guys have. It's absolutely true that the sound of the album grows the more you listen to it. There are some very special songs on it like Flames and beautiful lyrics. I hope this album will bring them even more fans because they just deserve it!!! Looking forward to the concert in Antwerp.

25/10/04: Superstitious1 -
Rating: 95
Very nicely said, Todd. I totally echo the thoughts of all the POSITIVE-MINDED reviewers here! The band has made an excellent comeback. The songs are wonderful, with a fresh and contemporary sound that still contains the personality of the band. The sound employed on this album might be surprising to those who just know the band for its most commercial albums, The Final Countdown and Out of this world, hence the negative reviews some have given it. However those of us familiar with ALL Europe albums realize they've always made sound changes from album to album (listen to the self-titled debut, then listen to Prisoners in Paradise, for example, and you can see how much they evolved in only 8 years, from 1983 to 1991). Europe has always been a progressive band, never repeating itself. The difference is that in the old days the band would put out an album every 2-3 years so the sound changes were quicker to recognize. "Start from the Dark" is the first album in THIRTEEN (13) years! 13 years worth of the members' musical progression is being heard for the first time on a Europe album, thus the sound is not as instantly recognizable as "Europe", and repeat listening is required for it to click with some fans. None of this means anything to those who are simply unwilling to accept change. However, for the devoted Europe followers, especially those who also follow Joey Tempest and John Norum solo, this is an album that grows to be a classic! This is Europe 21st Century and I love it!

22/10/04: Todd Carper -
Rating: 90
While many were hoping for Out of this World or Final Countdown Part 2, Europe return to the scene with a much anticipated CD. I would have to say that I loved both the CD's I mentioned above, they are 80's era classics that are still fun today. Out of this World is a benchmark for other records to aspire to as far as sound and hooks are concerned. Start from the Dark, the title really says it all. This is Europe circa 2004, The hooks are still there as are the bands undeniable chops. These guys are some of the best individual players on their instruments in the world, and it shows on this disc. What we are given on this phenomenal release is the best of Europe as a band, the heavy guitar from John Norum is front and center, Mic Michaeli's keyboard work is more an accent and support instrument on this disc, but it works so well as do all the other players. Joey Tempest's voice is what it always has been, which is to say excellent. If you are looking for the dynamic high pitched wails from the 80's, they are there in places, but not at the forefront. What is offered instead is a singer in total control of his voice, and the sound on offer is one that shines. Mr. Tempest will likely find it easier to do these songs justice on the road. Which leads us to the songs, and they are quite good. The disc as a whole is very even, which is to say it is hard to pick a standout; I liked EVERYTHING!!! Got to have Faith is a classic Europe opening track, and it is clear from the start that John Norum is going to really shine as a guitarist. Start from the dark, Hero, Roll With You, Spirit of the Underdog, really the whole album is excellent. Some folks will say the disc is a departure from Europe's success, but if you go back and listen to the first couple of releases and the Prisoners in Paradise disc, then give Joey Tempest's last CD a spin, you will realize that it is not at all a departure. The sound is modern, but with more of a metallic bite. The polish in terms of the sound is still evident as is Joey's fantastic voice, only this time he is in total control of all facets of his voice. The CD is what I would characterize as a grower, if you give it a spin and keep slipping it in from time to time it will become a personal favorite. Give it a chance folks, it really is an EXCELLENT CD!!!

18/10/04: Michael -
Rating: 85
Really enjoy the cd especially Start From the Dark, Flames, Reason and Hero.The cover art is excellent as well but i doubt they will get the exposure either in the USA to make it a hit unfortunately.

18/10/04: TM -
Rating: 80
Not a record breaking album.

I agree with someones review there, saying that bands are afraid of writing tunes like in the 80s.

Bands should never change their style, specially Europe, who had such a tradmark sound, which is hardly noticed in this CD

15/10/04: RAMYRO -
Rating: 80

15/10/04: Mike -
Rating: 95
I like the album very much. Different from the previous 5 Europe records, but not surprising since all Europe records have had sound changes (there's a quantum leap difference between the 1983 debut and Prisoners in Paradise!!). This is a little more modern than I imagined it would be for this band, but I think the change is great! My musical tastes have broadened over the years along with the band. Great to keep things fresh!

I dearly love the old Europe stuff and have been a fan for 20 years, but as long as they don't take the old records away from me I have no problem hearing something a bit different. I'm sure the band want's to move forward and I move forward along with them. Besides, it's not all that different. It's not like they're doing Rap or Hip Hop. It's still ROCK! Joey Tempest still sounds like Joey Tempest. John Norum still sounds like John Norum. Europe still sounds like Europe....Europe 2004.

14/10/04: -
Rating: 90
vey good album! :)

13/10/04: Nikos Andreou -
Rating: 90
I am a big Europe fan. Their return to the scene is just excellent. They got the sound of the early 80s (Europe, WOT) and pushed it towards the 00's.

The only minus is that some tracks sound the same, but still this is a great rock album. The best return of a band ever.

13/10/04: soulburner -
Rating: 1
First, Skid Row released a new album in 2003, which sounds like Nickelback with some punk influence. Now, Europe releases an album that sounds like nu-metal mixed with Soundgarden. What's going on? Can noone write rock songs like they did in the 80s and begining of the 90s? Why are the artists so afraid to do something that will not sound modern?
I tried listening to this album many times, hoping that it would grow on me... unfortunately, I seem to dislike it more each listen.

12/10/04: Albert -
Rating: 25
Unbelievable the reviews ive been reading on this page. Are we talking about the same record???
THis record got nothing to do with the Europe i knew. Iam sorry but this is a very weak effort.

12/10/04: Tim Robertson - Tim.J.Robertson@GSK.Com
Rating: 40
I really don't understand the excitement over this at all. It's a complete sell-out in terms of style, as they're clearly hoping to ride on the back of the current nu-breed trend. I've been a huge fan of their last 2 albums, but this one leaves me cold. Is pretty reminiscent of Kee Marcello's latest direction (which is why I'm surprised he didn't want to be involved in this re-union...), but the songs just don't have any of the hooks or melodies to keep most melodic rock fans interested. That said, the production is huge, and all the musicians sound on fine form, and I do actually quite like the title track and "Got to Have Faith" after repeated listens. But I do hope they find some bu-breed fans, as they've sure lost me as a fan after this weak effort.

12/10/04: Dimitri -
Rating: 95
Excellent work; impressive melodies and song quality! Must have CD!

11/10/04: Jake -
Rating: 100
Definately not a first listen CD, it gets better each time with a few songs that could really do well on the radio if they could just get some airplay! I love the updated sound and think in time that many of these songs will mean more to me than the ones that first brought me to the band and that I've grown up on. WELCOME BACK EUROPE!

10/10/04: WardyS3 -
Rating: 80
Well said Scott. There more I listen the harder it now to put this album away, and although as I've no doubt stated Europe was never one of my favourites I really enjoyed Prisoners and Out of this world (hated Countdown, go figure) and am very happy with SFTD as stated in my earlier review.

Moving my grade to 80% cause apart from one or two cheese balls, these here fine songs indeed!

10/10/04: ale -
Rating: 98
Great album from a great band! The first five songs are fantastic, the other "only" very good. it will become a classic. They managed also to do something modern without repeating the 80s athmosphere

09/10/04: Scott -
Rating: 99
Wow, what a difference 12 years makes!! The band’s done a great job updating its sound, moving into the 21st Century, but without selling out in any way. It sounds like they’ve gone back to their pre-final countdown roots (more Rock, less Pop), but also realize it’s the year 2004, not 1984. The guys haven’t been living in a time capsule the past 12 years and it shows, as some modern influences are heard while still leaving a recognizable EUROPE imprint. I heard a radio interview with Joey Tempest that the band recorded this album in 40 days (in secret) without any influence from record company execs. Indeed, the music sounds free and uncompromised, and with the vibe of a debut album with its live energy. “Start from the Dark” is a perfect title!

The biggest impression I get from the album is the band seems to be on a mission to demand ROCK CREDIBILITY, something they didn’t get from a lot of critics in the past (as most fans are painfully aware). MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Indeed, this is the heaviest, most serious, and most raw guitar driven album EUROPE has ever made, but still with very nice melodies that make for a balanced listening experience. They keyboards add good atmospheric feel to the songs without taking over or adding too much sweetening. I feel the collaboration of Joey Tempest and John Norum has reached an all time high and seems more 50/50 than in the past. Truly, this is one of the most underrated duos in rock! Joey’s voice and melody along with John’s riffs is nothing less than magic and it really comes to fruition on this album!

There are lots of great hooks to be heard, especially in the rockers “Got to have faith”, “Wake up call” “Sucker” and “Flames”. Contrary to the opinions of some, I think “Sucker” is really, really cool! I love the “she’s a su-su-su-su-suker for a guitar hero” line. This hook could work really well with a young audience in particular, and this is good because the interest of younger fans will help keep the band around for years to come! “America” is very John Norum and an absolute bonecrusher (so is “Wake up Call”)!! “Reason” and “Roll with you” are excellent dark ballads and great examples of how the guys have matured.

“Hero” is a real highlight as well, a very strong feel-good ballad that has beautiful sentiment and ROCKS at the same time! No surprise this is going to be the first song sent to European and American radio. If Aerosmith’s “Don’t wanna miss a thing” could be a hit, so can this! If it doesn’t, the band needs a new promotional team!!

BOTTOM LINE: Better to move forward than backward. This is an excellent classic rock/modern rock hybrid. The modern touches may through some people a curve at first, but with repeat listening this album grows TREMENDOUSLY. This is an excellent album for all true fans of EUROPE, Joey Tempest, John Norum, and most regular visitors to Check it out!

OK, enough said.

09/10/04: Chris -
Rating: 99
No album is 100% perfect in my opinion, but I give this a 99%. Why? Because I LOVE each and every song on the album! It's that simple. Like a lot of people, the modern touches surprised me at first. At first listen I thought the album was good. After a couple more listens I thought is was FANTASTIC and I'm still listening to it at least once a day. Songs like "Hero", "Reason" and "Sucker" were instant classics for me. I didn't think it was possible, but I think the EUROPE of 2004 is even better than the EUROPE of the 1980's! More mature sound and more accomplished songwriting is the big impression I get from the album...and Joey's voice has never sounded better! THE MAGIC IS BACK!!

09/10/04: Ricardo -
Rating: 100
If you aren't waiting for another The Final Countdown... this album is for YOU!
In my opinion, this is the best album that Europe could make for their return, and in fact, it's Europe's best one. Before listening the samples, I was expecting to only like Start From The Dark but after them I thought it would be brilliant. And I was right! I like all the songs very much. I agree that Song #12 and Settle For Love seem the weakest tracks, but that's because they are in other style and I think they improve the album with more variety. All the other tracks are more than perfect! 10 out of 10. This is a classic album and both Europe and non Europe fans will really enjoy it a lot!

08/10/04: John Ferguson -
Rating: 90
Europe prove their class with an excellent album of modern and relevant rock songs. My favourite Europe album has always been "Out of This World" but that was 1988 and it was totally unrealistic to expect the guys to try and live in the past and dish up a real '80s' sounding CD this time round. Great vox from Mr. Tempest and John Norum never stands still with his playing. A real grower for everyone who gives it a chance. Don't be put off on first listen. Like the titls says, 'Start From The Dark' and you won't be disappointed.

08/10/04: Mark -
Rating: 100
I very rarely award an album a clean 100 / 100, but this is a truly brilliant album from a very tight, melodic and energetic band. There are no weak songs, (some are better than others I admit). The guitar playing of John Norum compliments the songs perfectly and instead of trying to show off his chops, his playing shows a great maturity and flexibility. Joey Tempest's vocals are laid-back and always melodic. The bass and drums are quite outstanding and I must say that the band sounds like they could kick a lot of butt live. The keys are used sparingly and again compliment the song rather than dominate. Along with the recent releases from Dare, Alter Bridge and Zillion, this is one of the most enjoyable and complete records of the year for me. "GTHF" is a superb opening cut and contains a wonderful bridge section that is beautifully delivered. "Hero", "Flames", "Reason" and "Settle for Love" stand up to anything featured on this website so far this year. This is a band that despite their image from the '80's wear their hearts on their sleeves and their influences are clear to hear in their music. There is little innovation on this record, but Europe is about foot-tapping melodic rock and this is a prime example of just that.

08/10/04: Velvet Revolver -
Rating: 0
Can't rate it since it's not out in the US and I'm still waiting for my Swedish import, but, other than compilations, what albums have they released after the prisoners album, Mark? Are you saying it's their worst studio album.

08/10/04: ken ahl -
Rating: 90
much better than i amagined it would be. John Norum rocks on this. and joey sounds good as well.

08/10/04: Cristian Pavez -
Rating: 98
This album ROCKS!!!! Europe's present a great comeback with a classic line-up (i dreamed with Norum/Marcello playing together!), but without a doubt, the album kill star to finish.
I hope that in this world tour Europe play again in Chile, South America. Must buy!

08/10/04: Jim Tolios -
Rating: 88
Listening to the samples of the album i was dissapointed.With great comebacks such as the new scorpions,magnum,marillion albums i thought that this sounded way too modern and didn't have anything to do with the Europe sound(including the first two albums).But when i heard the whole album i was impressed!I can't really say that this is really a modern album.For me it has a modern and very good production but overall there is still the classic europe feeling and even sound (in some cases) somewhere in there.For me the term "Modern" resembles lousy vocals, simplistic heavy riffs and no solos.This isn't the case here.

To sum it up i would say that Europe went to some degree back to their heavy sound of their first two albums(just updating it a bit).The only thing that i would like to hear more are the keyboards(propably in the next album).Best songs: Got to have faith,Flames(wow!!!),Hero ,Spirit of the underdog,settle for love,but overall there isn't a track that i din't like.Great to see these guys back!!

08/10/04: Christer Wolfbrandt -
Rating: 95
This album needs lots of time to be fairly reviewed. U need to accept a Europe witout the sound of the 80s and a Joey without high notes. Then U have to accept theres almost none keyboard that we are used to, first after then can u enjoy this album. The songs are very good and the new sound is brave for a band like this with HUGE expectations from the old fans. I think this was the only way for Europe to survive in the future to come. Everything else would've been a step back. Tempest/Norum are perfect songwriters together and bringing the honestly up to the surface. They doing now what they couldent do before when recordcompany demand hits! Start from the dark is a killer if you just give it some time, and if you dont "need" a massive hit. A straight forward damn good album! BUY IT!

08/10/04: frytz -
Rating: 98
I just like it!! It rocks and I love norums playing!

08/10/04: Valerie Andrews -
Rating: 100
This is probably the best album Europe has ever done. I absolutely LOVE this album. It has very quality song writing, some absolutely killer guitar solos from original guitarist John Norum (my personal favorite guitarist!), and Joey Tempest has never sounded so great! The sound has been updated to 2004 and reflects a darker, heavier feel, but the melodies are still there. 'Flames', 'Wake Up Call', 'Hero', 'Spirit of the Underdog', 'Got To Have Faith', and the title track show that they have not lost their edge. Also, 'Song #12' and 'Reason' show that they can also deliver a harder and darker edge. This album is just amazing. Get This Album!! Europe are Back!!!

07/10/04: Stuart Chapman -
Rating: 85
Good album no doubt about it, but in terms of what they've done I can't see this album gaining them any new fans, but it will probably lose them many.

It's kinda like Winger tried to do with Pull, and look what happened to them afterwoulds.

07/10/04: WardyS3 -
Rating: 75
Good return! I'm in favour of the darker tones and less than happy lyrics on offer here, as I was NEVER a fan of the Final Countdown (cheesy) but recognised the fact these guys could write a great melody equating to a decent song. Tracks in their early days pre Countdown were heavier which I think is where the band have attempted to return with SFTD. After overdoing the perm/poodle music for so long I'm glad for the dark return as I've always been a closet fan and SFTD may just be the album that brings me out (jokes... just jokes...)

Favourites are the title track, Flames, Wake up call and Spirit of the Underdog which dips come chours time but what a cool intro! Opener Got to have Faith is for me the more traditional Europe rocker and should decide for you whether you'll dig this album or not.

Good basic rock but nothing incredible.

07/10/04: Michael -
Rating: 10
The most depressing and senseless album after Dokken's "Shadowlife". They should have never returned!

07/10/04: Serge Gamache -
Rating: 98
Well this is a surprise.
Andrew after reading your review, I was only disappointed with the score you gave for this CD. I have always enjoyed the sound that Europe had. They had gone through some sound changes in the past, but nothing had me ready for what I was about to hear. After the first listen, all I could say was that it was a cool and heavy CD. After a few listens, I had to say that this CD will never be far from my earshot. There are one or two songs on the CD that seem a little weak, but hey they can't all be winners. I have even been enjoying those tracks. Joey Tempest voice is still in kick ass form, but John Norums guitar work is phenomenal. The rest of the group makes such a tight knit sound that you are surprised to find that to be Europe.
I have had people listen to the CD and say things like.... "That is Europe The final countdown guys Holy smokes I never would have guessed that"
I find it nice to see a band step out of their comfort zone and try something different. It does not always work, but in this case, Halleluah. Europe, as a band, have evolved into an incredible sound machine. My favorite song on the disc is WakeUp Call, man that song rocks.
It would be nice to see an huge success from this CD, but I am not sure if it will. Too bad, Rock sure could use a kick in the pants in the charts today, and let the Rap/House/Dance stuff kinda take the back burner for a while.
To all who will fall in love with this CD.... Rock On My Brothers. To the others who don't.... Sorry you missed it.

07/10/04: RobertoN -
Rating: 99
A wonderful Album! I can't stop to play it. My Favourite are "Flames", "Hero", "Reason", "Settle for Love", "Sucker" and "Spirit of the underdog", but all the songs are amazing! I'm so happy to have found the ticket for the Milano's concert! It will be my 1st time too see them! And otherwise the ticket for that concert are all already SOLD OUT! :-) Then in March there will be other dates in Italy :-D

07/10/04: Figge -
Rating: 75
Incredibly boring album! I'm missing the always recognizable typical Tempest melodies and especially choruses. The guitar sound is so amazingly boring and used to death nowadays. That's pretty typical Europe too....when something's on the verge of dying out they jump on it.
With that said, I do think there are some good and some OK songs on the disc. The best tracks: Hero, Wake Up Call

07/10/04: Marc Vanway -
Rating: 98
Probably the best cd europe has ever released after the prisoners album. An incredible set of songs, maybe not with the happyness that other europe albums has, but with a modern sound and a really nice production. For me, they've rounded the perfect!

07/10/04: Jonas Månsson -
Rating: 95
I was very impressed when I first listened to this record and it keeps growing. I think the songs are GREAT except for SUCKER, which is a lousy track and it shouldn't have been on the album. I love the modern sound and the live-feel on the drums. I haven't been a huge fan of Europe before but this is a strong comeback and a push in the right direction. Sadly it will probably not be a huge world-wide succes because of the lack of hitsongs like "T.F.C."

I can't wait to see them in Gothenburg 22 oct.

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