"Walk The Earth"

By Professor Jocko

Swedish rock legends Europe are back once again to promote their eleventh studio album in almost four decades now, having come full-circle in an illustrious musical career. Lead by founding vocalist Joey Tempest, they are out to prove that they still have what it takes to stay relevant with their growing and loyal fan base with another LP of phenomenal new music. Although they achieved most of their commercial success during the MTV era of the 80’s with “The Final Countdown” , “Rock The Night” and “Carrie”, they have still been rocking and recording with very little interruption. 

Although they are definitely of the rock genre, I would safely say that elements of "Walk The Earth" are loosely based on the progressive side, with some dissonant tones and complex rhythms. Joey Tempest still maintains his signature vocal sounds, but with some somber qualities that lend to some well-blended sounds.

Upon first listen of the album title track, I’m somewhat ambivalent on what my first impression is. However, as the song progresses, it seems to pick up some steam along the way with some great guitar hooks and carefully placed breaks in between the verses and chorus’ which allow the song to breathe. There is an effect to the vocals that have a heavy reverb to it which may seem a little too wet in certain areas. This audio effect continues throughout most of the album, so that is something you will have to reconcile with. 

One of the striking qualities also carried throughout the album is the deeper, more somber tones which definitely compliment the baritone vocal pitches that Tempest seems to rely on as you progress from one track to another. The next track, titled “The Siege” promotes this style of writing, which adds to my original thought on the progressive feel to this particular LP. This certainly adds to the majestic feel which is maintained through each song, as the primary foundation.

As I progress through each track, am looking for the one song which may be the one that was aimed at popular radio play. MTV has been dead for quite some time now, so there just isn’t a video platform to rely on. I would imagine, however, that the last 30 years has led to quite a transformation of the pretty-boy appeal that the band once had, making a video option something that may be a lower priority anyway. “Pictures” is a track that may be considered their ballad, mainly for the lyrics and slower tempo. 

The track that I’m post partial to is called “Wolves”. I particularly like the heaviness of the intro, and supporting audio effects that add an arena feel to it with Mic Michaeli’s constant keyboard overtones and John Norum’s spectacular flowing guitar rhythms. One of the faster-paced songs on the album is called “GTO”, which is perhaps a well-deserved title, because it starts the same way it ends, which gets my vote for the radio play song because of its upbeat vocals and matching musical contributions.