EUROPE – Prisoners In Paradise [Japanese Edition remastered +2]
Japanese remastered edition of EUROPE first albums have been requested several times, and we are here in front of one of my favorites from the band, the superb “Prisoners In Paradise”.
Each of Europe albums have its own identity, and “Prisoners In Paradise” should be their most mature record in all departments, but basically, it’s one of the finest Melodic Hard Rock albums ever made.
Europe manages here to combine prime hard rock riffs with some damn catchy melodic choruses, resulting in a stunning masterpiece of an album for the genre.
The guitar work is awesome, with plenty of riffs to induce spontaneous headbanging – just taste the killer ‘All Or Nothing’ – and lead guitar so inspiring that even God’s jaw cannot fail to drop.
Kee Marcello is one of those few guitarists capable of combining both mind numbingly fast soloing with some truly soulful rhythm playing, and the man is sadly underrated in my opinion. There are great synth / keyboard lines in most (if not all…) of the tracks, while the vocal arrangements / performances soar.
There’s a great mix on here; from driving melodic hard rock blazing tunes to emotional ballads, a true joy for all who appreciate this type of feel-good Rock music.
‘All Or Nothing’ (co-written by Mr. Big’s Eric Martin) opens the CD with an unforgettable riff that will make you want to knock down houses, ‘Halfway to Heaven’ is melodic rock perfection, while ‘Little Bit of Lovin’ – perhaps Europe most ‘Americanized’ track ever, is another excellent hard rocking song that will go down greatly with anyone who likes Alice Cooper’s Trash / Hey Stoopid era.
‘Seventh Sign’ is one of the harder songs on the album, rocking beyond belief with a kickin’ punch, and again, tasteful guitar work.
Title track ‘Prisoners in Paradise’ is an irresistibly catchy, fantastic anthem enhanced by the top class production of master Beau Hill, ‘Bad Blood’ rocks with a melodic yet pumping attack, and ‘Got Your Mind In The Gutter’ – criticized as the weak number on the album – in my opinion is a real goodie with a bloody groovy chorus.
‘Til My Heart Beats Down Your Door’ has a tremendous pulse, ‘I’ll Cry For You’ is an emotional finely crafted ballad, then ‘Homeland’ is a bluesy, soft little gem that shows off some of Kee Marcello’s most touching playing.
Then arrives Europe’s masterpiece ‘Girl From Lebanon’ – a brilliant song to end a brilliant album. The solos are full of feeling and the whole song oozes class, attitude and an irresistible chorus.
There were many other songs recorded during the “Prisoners In Paradise” sessions. Initially, famed Bob Rock was the first choice for producer of the album, and he agreed, but as Europe’s label delayed the financing of the recording, Bob pulled out to work on Metallica’s Black Album instead.
So “Prisoners In Paradise” was rescheduled from the scratch with Beau Hill and new songs were written in the meantime.
Many of these tracks appeared later in Europe’s reissues like this one. The cuts featured here as bonus tracks are the hard rocking ‘Break Free’ (B-side of ‘I’ll Cry for You’ single) and the monster groovin’ of ‘Yesterday’s News’, an original Japanese bonus only, later appeared in the ‘1982-1992’ compilation album.
It’s a shame that Europe had pretty much fallen off of the public’s radar when “Prisoners In Paradise” appeared (sad, dark ages in Rock music were arriving) because this is arguably one the best albums of their career.
This is one stunning album, easily among the favorites in my Melodic Hard Rock collection. This Japanese remastered version (not easy to find) is excellent, fully on dynamics.
A Must Have.
Sony Music Japan ~ 【MHCP-435】
ヨーロッパ / プリズナーズ・イン・パラダイス
01 – All Or Nothing
02 – Halfway To Heaven
03 – I’ll Cry For You
04 – Give A Little Bit Of Lovin’
05 – Talk To Me
06 – Seventh Sign
07 – Prisoners In Paradise
08 – Bad Blood
09 – Homeland
10 – Got Your Mind In The Gutter
11 – ‘Til My Heart Beats Down Your Door
12 – Girl From Lebanon
13 – Break Free
14 – Yesterday’s News
Joey Tempest – vocals, rhythm guitar
Kee Marcello – lead guitar, background vocals
John Levén – bass
Mic Michaeli – keyboards, background vocals
Ian Haugland – drums
Nate Winger, Paul Winger – background vocals
BUY IT !