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Secret Society

Start from the dark

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Europe : Secret Society
(T&T - 2006)
Category : surprise! surprise!
3,5 stars

Europe : Start from the Dark
Category : surprise! surprise!
3,33 stars

Hang on. Aren't these the Swedish "hairdressers" of that most hideous of Pop Metal atrocities 'The Final Countdown'? My goodness, they are! When I quite by accident found out they had started releasing albums again, I was somewhat curious to find out if they could still make my stomach turn.

In the 80's this was the band the self-proclaimed "real metalheads" loved to hate. Europe epitomised everything that went wrong in Heavy Rock: the dyed hair, the silly clothes, the syrup that passed for songs,... So imagine my surprise when I found out that their new releases, 2004's 'Start from the Dark' (bottom album cover) and 2006's 'Secret Society' had more in common with Alice In Chains than with the 80's gloss of their heydays. Their music has undergone a steroids treatment, with a sound they've partially borrowed from the Nu-Metal movement and partially from Grunge.

Standouts like 'Song No. 12' (on 'Start from the Dark') or 'Love is not the enemy' and 'Secret Society' (on 'Secret Society') are nothing less than awe inspiring, especially if you know these songs originated from the minds of Joey Tempest and co. Europe has never rocked like this before. The riffs have never been this much in your face. The sound has never been this up to date. Hell, there's even one track that sounds like a pumped up version of '...Atomic Bomb'-era U2. I have to admit there's still a limited amount of filler present on these CD's, but who's counting if the rest of the material's this rock solid (*). Damn. I hate to say it, but Europe have re-invented themselves and I actually like their new incarnation.

There are no certainties anymore in this world. Europe was the band I loved to hate, but they have taken that away from me, and I hate them for it. ...Hang on... That's okay then...


(* note = Other noteworthy tracks on 'Secret Society': 'Let the Chidren play' and 'Brave and Beautiful Soul'. Other noteworthy tracks on 'Start from the Dark': 'Got to have Faith', 'Reason' and 'Spirit of the Underdog'.)

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