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EUROPE Walk The Earth

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 6:46 AM


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EUROPE
Walk The Earth

Hell & Back Recordings/Silver Lining Music 2017
HERE




In the time since EUROPE switched their sound over to a more classic rock direction, they've released some pretty decent music. Their 2015 release, War Of Kings, was an album I reviewed and while I gave it an intial decent but not great rating, the album did grow on me over time so that if I had to review it today it would get an even higher rating.

I can only hope that will be the case with Walk The Earth because I had a lot of questions about the direction of this album. A friend of mine termed the album after he listened to it as "adult contemporary music" which I would hazard to say is a kiss of death description for a rock band. I didn't quite think the album was that bad, but I can't help feeling the band wasn't in complete charge of the thematic vision of the disc.

As I looked over the liner notes I saw that while at least one member of the band was credited with co-writing each of the ten songs, there were an awful lot of outside writers with their names on the tracks as well. The album's producer was Dave Cobb and he seemed to be heavily involved in the songwriting.

The title track for the disc leads things off and it was the first song put out online in advance of the album's release. When I first heard it online and the first time I listened to it on CD, I really wasn't very keen on the song. However, upon listening to it a few more times, the song grows on you.

The next two songs following the title cut are "The Siege" and "Kingdom United". Both are fast paced rockers but other than the fact singer Joey Tempest's vocals are instantly identifiable, there seems to be little in the way of the band's personality in the songs. It struck me as so cold and bloodless that anyone could've played the music. The ballad "Pictures" is similarly affected with a paint by numbers feel.

When I saw the song title list on the back of the CD, I was drawn to the song "Wolves". It just conjured up a vision of what I was going to hear when I played the song. Sadly, the vision didn't match the reality because the song is plodding in tempo and it frankly just drones on and on until it mercifully peters out at long last.

Now, it isn't all doom and gloom here because the band does have a few tracks that managed to cry out to me that this was indeed EUROPE! I thought that "Election Day" found a solid uptempo groove quickly and was in fact quite musically invigorating. The band really busted out with the rocker "GTO" which might just be my favorite track on the disc alongside another rocking number, "Whenever You're Ready".

It isn't like Walk The Earth is a bad album. The music is obviously well played. However, despite the four examples of musical peaks I have pointed out above, the songs that serve as musical valleys where little, if any, of the band's personality seems to be part of the songwriting DNA hurt the overall feel of the album. In those terms, the album is more than a little disappointing. I can only hope that, like the band's previous release, this album will grow more in my estimation.

2.5 Out Of 5.0


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