The Foo Fighters have been one of the most commercially successful and recognizable hard rock bands of the last decade and a half. However, despite all their success in the mainstream world, they are still well respected by critics and serious music fans alike. The band holds just as much clout in underground communities as they do among the casual music listener. Forming right after the untimely passing of Kurt Cobain and the dissolution of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and company are one of the few bands who have been able to evolve over the years and be able to continue their success after the grunge explosion in the ’90s. The key to their sound has always been their ability to seamlessly meld hard rock agression with big, arena-ready hooks. And here at OurStage we have a similar group that strives to continue this aesthetic, Europa.
The Foo Fighters comparison is easily heard on Europa’s track “Same Old Song.” The first thing you will notice when listening to this song is that Europa’s lead singer Ryan Valiente’s voice shares an uncanny similarity to that of Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl. Take a listen to Foo Fighters’ song “No Way Back” and then listen to “Same Old Song” right after. If you didn’t know which song belonged to which band, it would honestly be difficult to differentiate between the two singers. Not only are both these songs really similar vocally, but they also share many similarities in more subtle areas; both songs share similar tempos, guitar tones, styles of riffs and drum patterns.
“Can You Believe” is another song that shows how well Europa can write memorable and catchy hard rock songs. Beginning with a soft, ominous guitar part and delicate vocals, the song quickly picks up momentum during the first verse with the entrance of drums and some chunky, palm muted guitar. The chorus of the song is where it really gets rocking though, with loud guitars, big cymbal crashes and a vocal melody that really sounds huge. It’s catchy and simple enough that anyone can sing along with it, and it isn’t hard to imagine this song being played in a huge stadium with everyone singing the lyrics back at the band. During the bridge, the band also get to show off their technical ability with some impressive fretwork.
While they certainly have a flair for the epic and dramatic, Europa are not afraid to branch off into the experimental. “Filthy Feathers” is a song that begins with an instrumental section based around a repeated bass line. While this bass line loops itself, distorted guitars are used to create feedback over it. A short verse leads into a high octane chorus with pounding drums and shredding guitars. The song ends in a wash of shouted vocals and distorted guitars, evoking the memories of bands like Nirvana or Pixies. “Butcher” is an instrumental track in a similar vein with aggressive drumming, feed-backing guitars and tenacious riffs.
Europa continue to prove that great songs don’t need polished production or Autotune, and that alternative rock can be catchy but still retain its aggressive roots.
You can buy Europa’s album Weapons here.