Opening with a bang was always going to be part of the game plan, and 'riches to rags' does exactly that with John Norum busting out a huge, stadium filling riff whilst Joey Tempest exercises his full vocal range over the top. Kevin Shirley has worked his magic here, giving Europe a tight and beautifully deep production that sees the drums threatening to topple buildings whilst the guitars blaze away with astonishing virtuosity over the top - check out the solo on that first song and if the hairs on the back of your neck aren't standing furiously to attention by the end then you should possibly consider the new Madonna album as your next purchase because you're clearly not a hard rock fan. Next up is the already-released single 'not supposed to sing the blues', a track that has been out for a matter of weeks but which is already burned firmly into the brain thanks to its classic hard rock lyrics and addictive melodic hook that should surely join crack on the controlled substance list. With familiar classic rock warmth but with the added bonus of a modern production sheen, this is the music Joey Tempest was born to sing and he does so with a fire and enthusiasm that is absolutely undeniable. Moreover the Led Zeppelin-esque flourishes (courtesy of Mic on the keyboards) gives the song a touch of eastern mysticism that does as much to fire the imagination as it does to bang the head. 'Firebox' is a heavy blast of driving rock, Mic's keyboards gaining much more attention thanks to Kevin's experience of working with Black Country Communion, a similarly themed hard rock band with a strong synth presence, and John Norum peeling out riffs of extraordinary vitality as if his life depends upon it.
01 Riches To Rags 02 Not Supposed To Sing The Blues 03 Firebox 04 Bag Of Bones 05 Requiem 06 My Woman My Friend 07 Demon Head 08 Drink And A Smile 09 Doghouse 10 Mercy You Mercy Me 11 Bring It All Home