Europe - Secret Society




Review (new review after mixing the album myself)

How I was looking forward to this release. I loved Start from the Dark the 2004 release. It was my album of the year in 2004. And in 2005 I bought tickets to the Sweden Rock festival and was about to fly from South Africa to Sweden because Europe was one of the headliners. Unfortunately business prevented me from leaving.

And how they tried on this album. Everything had to be right. It was mixed by Stefan Glaumann (from Rammstein and Within Temptation) and mastered by George Marino (Velvet Revolver and U2) and produced by themselves.

Musically speaking it is more modern than Start from the Dark. There is the mellow tracks like Wish I could believe and Mother's Son and then the rockers like Secret Society and Getaway Plan. There even is children's voices halfway through Let the Children Play.

There are brilliant songs and riffs. But I think the production and mixing kills the album. The same problem many bands has when they try to make a comeback or try to follow a first album up. It irritated the hell out of me. I got the same feel that I got from "A Beautiful Day" from U2.

I gave the album a very bad review based on the vocals. Or rather the mixing of the vocals. Then I got strange reactions. I gave it another change. I mixed out the vocals and a whole new album appeared. An album full of good riffs and good songs.

The I put the vocals back on and I enjoyed the album. I still don't like the mixing on the vocals. So be prepared - a brilliant album with good songs and riffs - but mixing on the vocals very similar to U2's latest offerings.

In short: Songs  are very good. (Exept for the last 3 songs that are mediocre)

Guitars are brilliant.

Mixing on the vocals sucks. Meaning that I dont like it. Compare U2's Joshua Tree with their last two albums and that is the result you can expect on Secret Society. If you like it, you will love this album.

Final suggestions: Get Rick Rubin for the next album and you will be where you belong - right there at the top.



You can find the original review here ......

(Read review from fellow rockers from Sweden's new album - Talisman 7 )


Song by song review:

1. Secret Society - Brilliant rocker. Rock 'n roll at its best as far as instruments go. Tempo-changing in the middle is very effective. The bass takes over and then it is back to rock 'n roll again. I like the guitars on this song. They determine the melody and very wisely put the vocals on the background. New idea to end the song with the riff. The vocals are mixed in such a way that it sounds mysterious. 9.5/10
2. Always the pretenders - Effective beginning - riff - rhythm section and back to riff. Could well have been off the Dark sessions. The parallel riff and solo adds to the power. This song is a perfect example of how a good song should build up to a climax.  The guitar solo is so good. At a point where the emotions matter - all the instruments stop and back comes Joey's brilliant voice.

9 /10
3. The getaway Plan - I can see John sliding his fingers on the guitar in the beginning. In comes a very hard riff. The guitar solo in the middle on top of the riff is brilliant. And it just get better to the end. If it was not for the mixing on the vocals this would been a perfect song. (9.5/10)
4. Wish I could believe - When the song begins, it stunts me - this is the natural Joey's voice. From his solo albums I know that he is able to do right to a song of this stature. Unfortunately the mixing makes this song not very credible. The emotions I want from a song with this topic " I wish I could believe in God" is best expressed in the mellow guitar solo. There you can feel the emotions.  (8/10)
5. Let the children play - This song has the best riff on the album. Bring back memories of the brilliant 2004 album. Modern Rock at its best. One of the best anthems I have heard all year. He sings " Its not where we are coming from, its where we go from here" - very autobiographical of the history of Europe. Forget "Final Countdown" - follow us into the future. Using the children is very effective. It sounds like a plea to give them a second chance on life. Boys, you have it. Take it further. (9.5/10)
6. Human after all - Again the interacting between rhythm section and riffs. I love it.  This is definitely going to be a crowd-pleaser. I love the change in tempo when the final solo kicks in. And yes Joey - "thanks we are all human after all" (9.5/10)
7. Love is not the Enemy - Very mediocre tune. The guitar riff and solo saves the day. But it is enough to carry the song to new heights.(7/10)
8. A Mother's Son - Thank God the natural Joey is back. Even though it is on a ballad filler. Yes they must be there. The strings that builds up to the piano and then to the riff is a very safe and effective method of doing a ballad. Nothing wrong with it. it is part of the small print with the record company. This is the template they will teach you at Music School.  (7.5/10)
9. Forever Travelling - This tune was of the shelf. Nothing new. Possibly from the Countdown recordings. It is a pity though because this is some of Joeys best vocals on the album. Well they are tired of travelling - give them a break. Where as the guitars save track 8, it is the vocals that saves track 9. (7.5/10)
10. Brave and Beautiful Soul - Same template as Human after All, just different lyrics. There's nothing wrong with putting the bass and drums on the foreground, but then with a different tempo. (7/10)
11. Devil sings the Blues - Well they paid their dues to God in track 4. Now is the devil's turn. He gets the bad one. The vocals are too much like Bono's.(6.5/10)

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