EUROPE - War Of Kings (Review)

information persons: 
section name: 
01. "War of Kings"
02. "Hole in My Pocket"
03. "The Second Day"
04. "Praise You"
05. "Nothin' to Ya"
07. "Days of Rock 'n' Roll"
10. "Angels (With Broken Hearts)"
Produced By: 
Dave Cobb
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Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Hard Rock
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Since making a comeback a decade back, Europe have trodden a similar path – a more organic sound, heavier and more modern sound and production, but above all, the albums have been delivered with a sense of confidence and definite purpose.
Fans have generally been very warm to the band’s updated sound and I must say that despite a few fillers on each album, their recorded output has been very consistent and stays on brand.
Now onto album number 5 since 2004, War Of Kings takes up where Bag Of Bones left off, just taking it to the next level. And leaving behind the Kevin Shirley production that many are not fans of.
This is a record heavily derived from a classic rock 70s sound, with a modern production acting as a balancing force.
I’ve found each of the last 4 albums to feature some career highlights, without at any stage absolutely nailing a classic album.
This time though, the guys might just have done it. Surprisingly the album appeals more to me than any other despite an obvious lack of pacing throughout.
This is a really slow paced album, whether it is the hard hitters or a couple of more sentimental tunes. But pacing aside, the songs are just enthralling.
Highlights are plentiful. From the opening slow thunder of War Of Kings to the rare frenetic pace of Hole In My Pocket to the Zeppelinesque classic rock of The Second Day with its surging chorus to the almost gospel feel of the heavy, ultra-slow Praise You, featuring an extraordinary vocal from Joey Tempest.
You might think the intensity of the album might let up a bit, but no; it only gets more intense with the mid-tempo bombastic hard rock of Nothin’ To Ya, a truly powerful track with an organ drenched chorus.
California 405 does relax the vibe slightly before the raucous (and obvious single) Days Of Rock N Roll sees the peddle put to the metal with the most instantly likeable riff on the album.
Children Of The Mind and Rainbow Bridge are both very credible classic rockers with their own style and Light it Up has a groove more akin to Extreme than Europe.
The highlight of the second half and of the album as a whole is the simply beautiful Angels (With Broken Hearts). What a classic slow ballad.

The band’s best album in my mind since reforming because it is track for track more consistent than the other (also good) albums.
I’ve heard mixed fan reviews for this, but I think those mainly come from those waiting for Prisoners In Paradise 2. It ain’t going to happen folks.
Crank the tempo a little more and have another tune or two like Days Of Rock N Roll and a classic is born.