Wow…this is a pretty tough CD to review. Fans of late 80’s and early 90’s Europe may find this release a little shocking.
Secret Society has a similar sound to Start From the Dark. There are a few modern rock almost Nu-metal sounding songs.
A couple of times, I had to check the credits to see if Joey Tempest was singing. His powerhouse vocals were so toned down, it didn’t sound like the same singer. At times he sings, what seems like, an octave lower than normal.
Personally, I think Joey is one of the the best singers out there. Why would they want to mess with his voice? It is a powerful instrument that they seemed to tone down this time around.
So how are the songs? If you can get past the initial shock of an almost 180 in sound from the late 80’s and 90’s version of Europe, you might actually like this. I am actually liking it more with each listen. John Norum plays like a madman on this disc. I always new he was a good guitarist, but he picked it up big time on Secret Society.
Here is a breakdown of the tracks:
Secret Society is the first track that may make you say….wtf?! Toned down vocals but excellent guitar work. It doesn’t sound like the Europe I was most familiar with, but its a good song. Norum starts slinging his axe around quickly and sets the tempo for this record.
Joey Tempest starts to sound like himself more on Always the Pretenders. This song still has the modern rock, heavy bass feel to it. It is a pretty good track. I could see this as being a hit in the United States, if they ever would play real rock on the radio.
The Getaway Plan is a more of the modern rock, heavy bass again. This song nearly ventures into the Soundgarden territory, then jumps back out of it again, as soon as Norum starts playing. It is my least favorite track so far, but it isn’t a bad song by any means.
The pace slows down with Wish I Could Believe. This song is really growing on me. This is a well written song. Tempest and Norum both sound great.
Let the Children Play is an interesting track that almost ventures into the Nu Metal area. This is another well written and Tempest sounds pretty decent here. The song finishes with kids singing the Chorus with Tempest. It sounds better than I can describe it. You have to listen to this song to understand it.
Human After All is another mid tempo modern rocker. There is plenty of noodling by Norum here. At this point, this song is starting to sound too much like some of the others on the disc. It isn’t a stand out track to me by any means.
Ah yes………Love is Not the Enemy picks up the tempo. I really like the groove to this song. This is a great track!
A Mother’s Son starts with some piano playing, and ventures into a low tempo modern rock song. This isn’t my cup of tea, but I can see that some people may like this track. It isn’t a bad song, but it is one that I will probably skip while playing this disc.
Forever Travelling is another mid tempo song. It is just an ok track.
Brave and Beautiful Soul almost comes across sounding like a U2 track. I like U2, but I am not sure if I like Europe sounding like U2. Another track that I am not crazy about.
I was hoping that Europe would close this disc with a powerful and high tempo rocker. Devil Sings the Blues is that same mid tempo modern rock formula that the rest of the songs on this disc have. Once again, it isn’t a bad track, but it isn’t great either.
If you are looking for the Final Countdown 2006 style, you aren’t going to hear it on this record. If you can listen to Secret Society with an open mind, you may enjoy it. This is one of those CD that is pretty good through the first half and kind falls off about midway through the disc. Nonetheless, it is another solid effort from Europe.
Rating:Out of 10
- Secret Society
- Always the Pretenders
- The Getaway Plan
- Wish I could Believe
- Let the Children Play
- Human After All
- Love is not the Enemy
- Mother’s Son
- Forever Travelling
- Brave and Beautiful Soul
- Devil Sings the Blues
This video will give you a minor taste of the Europe 2006 sound.