Mob Rules - Among the Gods - 2004 Steamhammer/SPV Reviewed by: Jonah Haze
1. Black Rain 2. Hydrophobia 3. Invitation Time 4. The Miracle Dancer 5. Among the Gods 6. New World Symphony 7. Ship of Fools 8. Seven Seas 9. Meet You in Heaven 10. Arabia
I was first introduced to this German power/symphonic classically influenced melodic meeting of madmen during their first release for Limb--1999's Savage Land. Immediately I rejected them based on their name alone questioning everything about them for a very non-original decision. Of course, upon closer inspection, and repeated spins of their first single, "Hold Back the Light" on HardRadio.com, I decided I should pay a little closer attention. There were two misperceptions that were quickly cleared up for me after throwing down the ducats for the full length.
Firstly, their horrible choice for a band name had absolutely nothing to do with their sound and delivery. Secondly, I was concerned after the first single had an unnerving Queensryche quality about it that this was going to be the direction. I couldn't have been more wrong about everything as this band has made its way to the top of my list of new favorites. Four solid, brilliant albums and going strong with some of the highest quality musicians inside the whole lot of Europe's seemingly prodigenous boom.
Recently, one of my most trusted brethren in metal and I were agreeing on how the first three albums were so great that it's brought upon anxiety in wonder of how this band could release such an elegantly superior fourth album. "Ralph", as we shall call him, referred to Mob Rules as "the new Iron Maiden", not necessarily in influence yet rather in inspiration. The double guitar threat is not only relegated to either band of course and neither are any other obvious similarites in attack like high emotional vocals or a radical rhythm section, but here it is the musicallity and sonic command which singularize their inspiration. Thinking progressively (not to be confused with the "progressive" bands) as a unit and as a passionate concept this is a musicians' band that transcendes and translates easily still within an overwhelmed European metal audience.
No direct comparisons to the Scorpions or Accept or Sinner or Gravedigger or any other Teutonica tunesters can be made. In fact Dream Evil and Sonata Arctica sound more German but let's stay on track. I guess what I am just figuring out right now is that it is hard to categorize a sound based on geographica and I hope I have illustrated that pointless point to all of you.
Nevertheless, this is a band that has worked very hard to not repeat themselves or others and utilizes the best of technology and innate musical genius to continually paint futuristic yet familiar metal landscapes. Lost inside a world only owned by what my ears tell my bamaged drain to process, I gravitate without shelter into the soaken streets under "Black Rain" and fight the idea that I am only fooling myself. It falls without any solution for its damage other than to finish off what survived by inflicting "Hydrophobia". Drowning in my own self pity the soundtrack of beautifully sad and passionate melodies stirs at my conscience and remarkably lucid I rise for "Invitaion Time" to witness the gift of the "Miracle Dancer". She brings me to my senses, so I think, as I look back in anger I witness my self preparing for a time of judgement "Among the Gods". The sweet sounds of the "New World Symphony" remind us that the "Rain Song" from 99's Savage Land is not over. Water has now replaced the ground below my feet as I hitch a ride on the Blackmore influenced "Ship of Fools" to provide safe passage across the "Seven Seas" of which by now I have given my life to. Being thrown back to the shore like Jonah in the Whale, love and mortality cross paths as we stray into the uncomfortably overpopulated kingdom of Helloween in "Meet you in Heaven". Bringing our journey of land, sea and sky to an end our destination orchestrates itself into "Arabia" and we melt into a familiar mid tempo soundscape and join the eastern sunrise.
I give this album 10 Sour Krauts out of 10
Link: www.mobrules.de, www.spv.de
--Jonah Haze 08.11.04
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