'Tales From Beyond'
Release Date: 18th March 2016
The Germans seem to have a thing for Power Metal, melodic or otherwise, and Mob Rules have been part of the enjoyment since their formation in the mid 90s. This new album, their eighth studio effort 'Tales From Beyond', continues the traditional nod to Power Metal with aplomb, the British and Celtic influences coming through strongly.
Mob Rules were founded in 1994 by Van Blanc guitarist Matthias Mineur and bassist Thorsten Plorin. With vocalist Klaus Dirks and drummer Arved Mannott the band began gigging, and soon added second guitarist Oliver Fuhlhage.
Their debut, 1999's 'Savage Land', appeared on Limb Music after a self financed mini album. Reception across the Metal loving Germany was good and 'Temple Of Two Suns' soon followed before a deal with SPV for 2002's 'Hollowed Be Thy Name' brought them to wider acclaim.
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Although the band decamped to AFM for a few years, they are now back on SPV for a blistering album. Alongside Mineur and Mineur, are guitarist Sven Ludke, bassist Markus Bringman, drummer Nikolas Fritz and keyboard player Jan Christian Halfbrodt.
Beyond the dragons and monsters, lyrical themes take on many a legend, as the opener 'Dykemaster's Tale' proves. Taking the progressive Metal of recent Iron Maiden and Judas Priest to their own form, Mob Rules have come up with a cracker here. Progressive it is indeed and to the odd Maiden riff they've added some blistering and stunning solos and a lot of atmosphere.
'Somerled', opening with a very Celtic and atmospheric feel, is about a half Scot half Viking from 1150, which sets both the musical and lyrical themes. A hint of galloping Maiden, a hint of Gary Moore too, and the vocal harmonies nod to Freedom Call.
'Signs' opens with some nice mid paced chords which build to some solid Metal, the keyboards augmenting the crunchy guitars well. This track is more typically straight down the line melodic Power Metal.
A hint of marching drums with the intro to 'On The Edge' give way to a great riff; the rhythms stand out and the vocals match power and range. 'My Kingdom Come', the advance single, adds a more gothic feel, to the intro that also nods to 'Crusader'. The track builds to a solid riff and memorable singalong vocals.
'Dust Of Vengeance' is another stand out track, faster and heavier, and takes on Oldenburg author Florian Gerlach's ´Smogger Trilogy` about the sinister thoughts we all occasionally have but never act out. The title track closes, and comes in three parts totalling 15 minutes, a lyrical and musical journey I'll let you enjoy if you get the album. Which overall is pretty damn good.
Depending which version you go for, there's also the bonus 'Outer Space', a reworking of one of their own earlier numbers that fans will know.
There's more than enough of their own Mob Rules in this to avoid being derivative but the British influences are obvious, and thoroughly enjoyable throughout. There's plenty of power, extra dimensions, and if you like a Power Metal vocal harmony or blistering guitar solo, this is your place.