First impression before I listen to this album, I thought this will be another
ultra-cheesy eighties rock album. However, Europe proved me wrong. They give me surprise by putting some serious modern hard rock materials here.
First of all, you will find that "Secret Society" is not
the sound of the Europe we all know and love. You can forget the melodic rock songs of the 80's
that made them households names. This is a solid modern American hard rock
with lots of metal and post alternative elements.
However, there is a small problem in this album with the opening track. For me, it seems to come a bit short. The song sounds interesting but both lyrics and the song as a whole is just ok comparing with the rest of the album.
The second song " Always The Pretenders" is probably considered as the highlight of the album. The song has nice arrangement with good guitar riffs. Tempest offers great vocal here.
"Getaway Plan" has a great guitar riffs with good arrangement and decent guitar solo.
The album slow down a bit with this laid back and bluesy "Wish I could believe". This might be considered the best track in this album with excellent arrangement and great vocal while John Norum lays down some dramatic guitar solo.
Europe puts some twist in the album in the next track "Let The Children Play" with a children choir, beautiful arrangement, great guitar riffs, and outstanding vocals from Tempest.
"Human After All" offers something new from Europe here. The song has good riffs with good base line. While "Love Is Not The Enemy" is another great track in the album.
In my opinion, Europe still can compose the beautiful ballad in the following song "A Mother Son". The nice piano background is provided throughout the song with a couple session of great hard guitar riffs. Is this a power ballad? I would say, not quite, but I will give it a yes. I will add this in my ballad collection.
"Forever Travelling" is in the standard level with nothing new. The song seems to run flat; although, it has a good melody.
The album picks up a bit mood with the next song "Brave & Beautiful Soul". At almost the end of the album, I expect something new and fresh; However, the song seems to life up a bit with hard guitar riffs and solo, but not there yet.
Fortunately, they succeed in the last song "Devil Sings The Blues". The song sounds fresh and offers great melody, good lyrics, and beautiful arrangement. This might be considered one of the best driving modern rock songs you will have heard this year.
Overall, this is truly one of the great Europe album I have enjoyed. However, there might be some disappointed Europe fans who expect something like melodic rock tunes as in the 80's.
Brilliant artwork from Storm Thorgersson!
Track of "Secret Society "