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Europe - 1984 Wings Of Tomorrow



ARTIST: Europe
ALBUM: Wings Of Tomorrow
LABEL: Epic
SERIAL: PE 40049
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1987, Epic, CDEPC 26384 * 2009, Wounded Bird, WOU-4049 * 2010, Lemon Records, CDLEM-152

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Joey Tempest - vocals * John Norum - guitars * John Leven - bass * Tony Reno - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stormwind * 02 Scream Of Anger * 03 Open Your Heart * 04 Treated Bad Again * 05 Aphasia * 06 Wings Of Tomorrow * 07 Wasted Time * 08 Lyin' Eyes * 09 Dreamer * 10 Dance The Night Away

WEBLINKS: www.europetheband.com


Background
The origins of Europe date back as far as 1978 when Norum founded Force, encouraging fourteen year old Tempest to join as vocalist, sensing something special in the youngster. In 1981 John Leven replaced original bassist Peter Olsson after Norum had been made to assume bass duties while a new one was found. Things picked up when Force entered a Swedish battle of the bands contest and amazingly beat four thousand other entrants. This allowed them to record their debut 'Europe' in 1983, the band adopting the moniker as their band name. The band at this point was Euro metal in the same vein as Accept and The Scorpions, and the debut sold well in their native Sweden. Things improved with the follow up, 'Wings of Tomorrow', an accomplished set of bruising melodic metal, which to be fair, wipes the floor with anything Accept and The Scorpions did in that timeframe. Drummer Tony Reno left before recording commenced, his place taken by Haughland.


The Songs
Europe had developed a distinctive sound, due mainly to Norum's guitar wizadry and Tempest's tough vocals. The pair work well on opener 'Stormwind', which displays their ability to combine melody and heaviness, never easily done, unless you are good enough. Things heat up with 'Scream Of Anger' which recalls the finest Scorpions material of the 70's. It's heavy metal, all the way, with Norum's unstoppable riffing at the forefront. This could dispel some people's notions that Tempest was nothing but a pretty boy, his vocals gritty and inspired. There's a shift to near ballad mode with 'Open Your Heart', which is more aggressive than their later efforts like 'Carrie' for instance, but not as soft. 'Treated Bad Again' has a slow, pounding riff stamped on it, yet another showcase for Norum's virtuosity. Instrumentals aren't out of the question, witness 'Aphasia', a brief, power trio slice of guitar domination. The title track gallops with purpose, with an unforgettable hook and a savage solo from Norum. Clearly these guys were on a roll. Things don't let up, as 'Wasted Time' and 'Lyin' Eyes' prove, both hitting hard thanks to Norum, who by this juncture owns the album. The plaintive ballad 'Dreamer' is merely a smokescreen for end track 'Dance The Night Away' which reaches a crescendo rarely heard. Imagine Gary Moore at his heaviest, 'Dancin' from 1980 mostly, and you'll know what to expect here. I had to listen to this a dozen times in a row to comprehend the fury that Europe were laying forth! This caps off Norum's breakout performance as one of the finest I've heard.


In Summary
As we all know Europe softened their sound for 1986's 'The Final Countdown', which reached sales well into the millions thanks to the now legendary opening keyboard riff from the title track. Norum left shortly afterwards, citing a dissatisfaction with the lighter approach. I cannot blame him. 'Wings Of Tomorrow' displays such potential in the metal area, that it's almost painful to imagine what Europe could have done with it if they had continued in a heavier vein. They could have gone on to achieve credibility like Iron Maiden, heavy yet always with a melodic edge. True 'The Final Countdown' is still vital hard rock, 'Ninja' and 'On The Loose' both classics, but the synthesizer was far more prominent than 'Wings', and it diluted the staggering power of Norum in the process, making it near AOR. It pigeon-holed Europe for the rest of their career, and they never recaptured the fire of the first two albums, especially 'Wings'. This would silence any ignorant critic who thought 'Countdown' is all that Europe represented.


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Comments
#1 | george_the_jack on August 16 2010 15:19:25
Recently bought a copy of this all time favourite album of mine but I was deaply disappointed.The issue I bought is a remastered issue by Wounded Bird (WOU 4049) which is an absolutely 'cheap' and crappy reissue.Besides, personnel listing is completely wrong.Ian Haugland and Mic Michaeli had not joined the band by that time as Tony Reno had been playing the drums...Sincerely can't understand who benefits with that kind of ''reissues''.That's a question begs for an answer.
 
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