|Review: Europica - Part One|
Year released: 2017
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: August 3, 2017
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)
Europica and their strange name hail from Hungary and this is their debut album. Part One relies heavily on patriotic Hungarian lyrics and features five guest vocalists who take turns leading the charges: Blaze Bayley (Iron Maiden, Wolfsbane), Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-Judas Priest, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Iced Earth), Fabio Lione (ex-Rhapsody Of Fire, Vision Divine, Angra), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), and Tomek Horytnica (Horytnica). While Horytnica takes care of the more folky passages of the album and does a decent job, Lione and Scheepers sound like they'd rather be somewhere else or just didn't give that much attention to the band's proposal. Both are singing lower than normal, and maybe the mixing or mastering works have something to do with this, so it hurts the songs a bit.
Blaze Bayley actually shines and provides a good amount of fun by doing something he's not that used to. His voice responds nicely to the Power/Folk atmosphere, and the cello, flute and keyboards add a cool aura to his performances. Ripper, though, is the true black sheep of the entire effort; clearly misplaced and uninterested, he just blabs and moans the lyrics without a minimal sense of enjoyment of commitment. I would highlight "Unflagging", "Powder Dry" and "This Land" – not because of Lione, but rather because of the great hooks and cool chorus – as the best songs here, as the Folk ones like "Frontier-Guard" and "One of Your Crowd" are decent but uninventive and the other heavier ones are just ok, with no climaxes or memorable passages. Instrument-wise, the band does a great job with good leads, riffs and overall performances.
This is a decent debut album by an interesting band, but it's lackluster in some areas. It's worth checking out if you're a fan of this kind of format, but it most definitely will not stick in your stereo for long.
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