Walk The Earth, Europe's 11th studio album overall, comes out Oct. 20 and is the follow-up to 2015's War Of Kings. It found the quintet working again with producer Dave Cobb -- who "acts like a sixth member of the band," according to Tempest -- and recording at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London. "Everyone got excited; Even Dave and his engineer were like, 'We'll come over from Nashville and do it in London!,' Tempest recalls. "In Abbey Road we knew they had all the old gear, the stuff Pink Floyd used and the Beatles, but at the same time they're cutting edge, so it was marrying two worlds, the vintage feel with modern punch, which is what we wanted to do. It was a very intense two weeks."
The resulting 10-track set, according to Tempest, is "very much classic rock. It's warm. It's flowing. You've got some more peaks. It's more striking. When we started the record I listened to a lot of prog music. In my iPhone I have the whole Rush catalog, old Yes or (Jethro) Tull, Opeth, Porcupine Tree. I think it's an interesting record. Probably more extraordinary than War Of Kings." Some of Walk The Earth's songs are also more pointed and topical than its predecessors have been.
"Before starting this record I was really interested in the path of democracy -- where does democracy coming from? What events propelled it forward?" Tempest explains. "I thought it could be a concept album. It didn't end up like that -- we're just a rock band, really -- but a few of the songs follow that theme. It's sort of a grown-up record for us, and interesting departure from what we've done before."
Europe will be supporting Deep Purple during a set of November dates in the U.K. followed by some of its own shows in December. Tempest predicts the group will be supporting Walk The Earth into 2019 with hopes of returning to North America, where the group's hit "The Final Countdown" is a sports anthem from coast to coast.
"Hopefully our (new) album will be well-received so we can do that," Tempest says. "('The Final Countdown') opened so many doors for us. We got to tour the U.S. like our heroes Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy, and we love playing it live as well. To us it was just one of our songs, but obviously it means a lot to a lot of people in different ways, and hopefully we'll get the chance to play it for them again."