Rock royalty Kevin Shirley has agreed to produce the new album by resurgent hair metal heroes Europe.

The deal was struck in Stockholm last week and work will begin on the follow-up to smash hit Last Look At Eden this autumn. The new record is slated for release in April 2012 and follows Shirley’s work with blues rock super group Black Country Communion, guitar hero Joe Bonamassa and AOR legends Journey. 

No stranger to the crème de la crème of iconic rock records, Shirley’s produced albums for Iron Maiden, and Black Stone Cherry in recent years. And his decision to direct Europe’s next opus is a massive coup for the ambitious Swedes.

“We still feel we have one hell of a rock record to make” said singer Joey Tempest. “Kevin’s the man for the job. We love his work with Bonamassa, Black Country Communion, and Black Stone Cherry. He’s the real deal. We’re ready to do some serious damage.”

Last week Europe met up with Shirley in Stockholm to discuss the direction of the next album. Based on reactions from the fans and media, Europe’s 2009 album Last Look at Eden proved to be the band’s most important record since The Final Countdown.

“I’ve been a big fan of Europe’s work for many years,” says Shirley. “The band is influential and highly underrated. I can’t wait to make the upcoming album their most explosive to date.”

After summer 2011, Europe will finish the promotion of the Last Look at Eden tour and will start to focus their energy on the next album produced by Shirley.  “We’ve toured for one and a half years,” added Tempest. “It’s time to write and record some new songs and get back on the road again in 2012.”

The new material suggests a more straightforward rock approach evident in Doghouse – a new song Europe performed on their recent UK tour. The song is also featured on Europe’s upcoming Europe: Live at Shepherd’s Bush DVD, released August 2011 on earMUSIC CDs and DVDs.

earMUSIC is also about to release a limited deluxe book with pictures be Denis O’Regan. Live Look At Eden features exclusive live audio and the stunning performance at last year’s iTunes Festival in London. Recording for Europe’s new album begins in Stockholm on October 3.