Europe

Secret Society

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When you think of '80s pop/prog-rockers Europe, arena-worthy singalongs (à la "The Final Countdown"), and tear-inducing power ballads (à la "Carrie") immediately come to mind. But with the group's 2006 effort, Secret Society (their second since reuniting in the early 21st century), Europe has endured a total musical makeover. In place of their once glossy pop production is a much more heavy sound, while the once overtly melodic vocals of Joey Tempest have toughened up considerably, and guitarist John Norum's once shredding leads have been considerably scaled back. Led Zeppelin is obviously a major influence on the album-opening title track, while cuts such as "Love Is Not the Enemy" and "Let the Children Play" feature some unmistakably nu-metal riffs. And Europe certainly receive credit for producing and writing the album entirely on their own -- as they're one of the few '80s-era rock veterans who did not have to ask for assistance from outside help to reinvent and update their sound. As evidenced by Secret Society, Europe have succeeded in creating an album that faithfully reflects the sound of rock radio circa 2006.

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