Europe - Secret Society




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.

But boys, I think you tried too hard and rocked too little. Too much like Crush from Bon Jovi (yes that old) and too little like The Answer. Go back to your roots (rock roots with no computers )- your guts - and save your money for retirement which is not too far away. The guitars are brilliant though.

Will I listen to it again? I doubt it. Six times was enough. I have 7000 cd's (originals) to listen to and the only one from Europe that will feature a lot is  Start from the Dark whilst I am waiting for the new one.

I am listening to it again and again - trying to understand the mixing on the vocals - will put another review on the net in 2 days - 23/10/2006


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


Song by song review:

1. Secret Society - Very nasal vocal beginning. I really don't think that Joey needs help from computers to make his voice better. 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. 8/10
2. Always the pretenders - Again the vocal thing. What is it? Some kind of new computer program? Again the riff parallel with the lead solo is very impressive. Catchy tune though. Where as the solo lead guitar is shadowed by the riff, the lead vocals are shadowed by the background vocals. This can be a brilliant song without the terrible production that dominate the song. 7.5 /10
3. The getaway Plan - I can see John sliding his fingers on the guitar in the beginning. In comes a very hard riff. But again - the vocals must make the song harder and not take away the power. And the echoes on the background does not help the course. The guitar solo in the middle on top of the riff is brilliant. And it just get better to the end. (8.5/10)
4. Wish I could believe - When the song begins, it stunts me - this is the natural Joey's voice. This is the voice we want to hear on the album - not a machine voice. Alas with the beginning of the second verse in comes the other voice. Very good mellow guitar solo though (6/10)
5. Let the children play - This song has the best riff on the album. Bring back memories of the brilliant 2004 album. If Joey listened to his mother and looked for the magic in his natural voice, this song would have been a 10. (8.5/10)
6. Human after all - A new idea on the album - the bass and drum that precedes the riff. 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" (7.5/10)
7. Love is not the Enemy - Very mediocre tune. The guitar riff and solo saves the day. (5/10)
8. A Mother's Son - Thank God 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. Problem is that I don't think it works that well in 2006. (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. (5.5/10)
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. (6/10)
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. (5/10)

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