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Tuesday January 23rd 2018

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EUROPE – “The Final Countdown”

Europe-The Final Countdown- CDCover

Europe  - “The Final Countdown”

Does it get much more ’80s than this? The smooth keyboards are mixed with the heavy chugs and riffs of glam-era guitar. The fusion of the two sounds is, in this case, a very polished, fluid sound. Throw the precise drumming  into the mix along with Joey Tempest’s soaring, whirlwind vocals, and you’ve got is an ’80s glam metal GEM. It’s a truly amazing piece of work from Europe in ’86.

“The Final Countdown” is one of the four most solid tracks on the disc. It has almost an ethereal, “rocket me to the moon” feel to the rhythm, with the tone and the sound of the band’s instruments playing in perfect harmony. This song reminds me of Dokken’s “Unchain the Night”  - as it is a metal song with a slightly commercial sound to it that attracts a female audience very nicely, while still appealing to a male taste for edginess in the music. A fantastic song.

And if there are any dudes out there who pick up this album and wonder who the heck calls this “metal” at ALL, just fast forward to tracks like “Rock the Night” and “Danger On the Track”. “Rock…” is one of my favorite four tracks on this album, and “Danger…” is a cut above many glam-era metal tunes. “Ninja” rips and rolls right along, without pause or lethargy… another great song. All three of these songs have some pretty decent axe work, though at times it is drowned out by the keyboards.

If the guys still aren’t convinced that any metal -even glam-era metal- should include keyboards (Judas Priest didn’t fair too well with keyboards on their “Turbo” 1986 release), perhaps a last hope for their approval is the power ballad “Carrie”. It’s a favorite of my girlfriend, my sister, and a few other women I know. Something about Tempest’s powerful vox, the lyrics, and the precise use of the synths just gets chicks all starry-eyed and soft. And guys, you can use this to your advantage! But “Carrie” is, IMHO, a very good song. It’s actually what hooked me on Europe.

I cannot neglect to add that the guitars in this album have a strong force. There are just as many chugs, riffs, chords, squeals, and pings as in Danger Danger’s ’89 debut or in Whitesnake’s self-titled ’87 release. So if you’re looking for some great guitar work, this album has lot of it – in addition to some very good melodies, insanely catchy tunes and vocals comparable to Don Dokken’s, David Coverdale’s and Jon Bon Jovi’s in terms of range, power and smoothness.

The second half of the album, including the songs “Cherokee”, “Love Chaser” and “On the Loose”, is certainly not filler-material by any means. The whole album seems to flow as one solid unit; the transition from each song to the next is seamless.

On the extended version of the album, there are bonus tracks – though they are simply live versions of three of the first four tracks. But after hearing the live versions of “Carrie” and “The Final Countdown”, I was glad that I bought this extended version of this album, rather than the hard-to-find standard studio version. You won’t be disappointed with this album- it’s well worth the twelve smackos.

If you like this group’s sound, dynamics and style, I also recommend Danger Danger, Whitesnake and Dokken.

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