Released: 2004, SPV
The last time I heard Mob Rules was on their 1999 debut, SAVAGE LAND. Since then they released 2 albums which I unfortunately missed - TEMPLE OF TWO SUNS (2000), and HOLLOWED BE THY NAME (2002). From their first album I had the band pegged as a second tier German power metal band that didn’t really stand out that much from the throngs of other power metal bands that emerged in the very late 90’s. However, that has changed…not drastically, but it’s noticeable.
On my first few spins of this CD I was struck with how much this is not like what I’d call power metal. There are some similarities, but this is not powerful (as in heavy or aggressive) music. This is melodic metal with most songs being played at mid-tempo speed. The 2 main comparisons I would make are to Savatage and mid-paced Edguy material. If you cross that together you will have a very good idea about what Mob Rules sound like on this album. One of the strongest Edguy moments on the CD would be “Ship of Fools”. Another stand out track on here sounds like very polished 80’s metal is in the form of “Meet You In Heaven”. The chorus brings to mind a certain band that has been hiding in the fog of memory since I first heard it but I’ve yet to recollect who I’m reminded of (and it’s driving me mad!). Sometimes the happiness of the material can be too much like on the song “Hydrophobia” but there is still enough metal in here to keep me listening.
I’ve found this a harder than usual CD to review since depending on what mood I’m in, I either love it, or can’t stand to hear it. This is caused by the extremely polished sound, style, and overly melodic approach. If you think Edguy are a tad heavy, then you should check this out. Fans of well written melodic metal would do well to check out this album. For me, I think they could use a bit more aggression, but I guess we can’t have every band sounding the same. In this way Mob Rules have managed to differentiate themselves from many other bands. In so doing they might not appease fans of more aggressive power metal bands, but if you like melodic metal and even some of melodic hard rock you’ll probably love Mob Rules.