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Start From the Dark

Year: 2004
Format: CD
Label: EPIC
Genre: [Hard Rock/Metal]
Overall Rating: 8.5
Music: 8.5
Production: 8.5

This must be one of the most awaited releases of 2004. Start From the Dark is Europe's comeback album. The line-up is the same as in their best known album: the Final Countdown. All these years haven't done any harm to the guys, as this album does rock...

Songs are hard rock with some metal edge (and with occasional still water sections). Actually it's nice to see the guys of Europe aren't pursuing to emulate the Final Countdown, but instead they have done a refreshing hard rock album. Start From the Dark contains a lot of songs with catchy choruses, riffs and memorable verses (lyrics are quite short, though). Also the diversity of this record pleases me: There are calm acoustic ballads, hard rock/metal songs and in-betweens, which combined the both styles into cohesive song structure. On a more critical note, this album still sounds a bit one-dimensional and not all of the songs are apposite. Mostly my favourite songs on this album are the calm ballads (similarly as Carrie). Also some of the heavier, yet groovy songs impressed me.

Production-wise this album could have been better. Bob Ludwig has mastered this record way too loud (occasionally I could hear clipping). For example, clipping occurred on the title track "Start From the Dark" at 0:13. Also slight distortion occurred few times (Spirit of the Underdog, for example, had distortion at 3:12). The mix, on the other hand, is ok.

Start From the Dark exceeded my expectations in a sense as I feared the worst (too many comebacks have ended regrettably). Fortunately my expectations were wrong, and Europe's latest album proved to be quite a "hit". I hope this won't be their last album, as their various solo projects haven't been too felicitous. John Norum wasn't a guitar hero enough to be able to compose an interesting album (at least in my view). Joey Tempest's album, however, was quite good (but it doesn't measure up to Start From the Dark). It goes without saying that this is a "must-have" album to every Europe fan (I just hope their forthcoming releases will be mastered properly... without clipping & distortion, that is).

Visit Artist's Website

- MAGE (16.10.2004)


Tempest, Joey: Vocals
Norum, John: Guitars
Leven, John: Bass
Michaeli, Mic: Keyboards
Haugland, Ian: Drums

Michaeli, Marcus: Additional "Beats"
Producer: Elson, Kevin
Mixing by: Elson, Kevin
Mastering by: Ludwig, Bob
Europe - Start From the Dark  CD  Cover Image
01. Got to Have Faith
02. Start From the Dark
03. Flames
04. Hero
05. Wake Up Call
06. Reason
07. Song no. 12
08. Roll With You
09. Sucker
10. Spirit of the Underdog
11. America
12. Settle For Love
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