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Tales From Beyond
Released: 2016, Steamhammer
In my mind there are many parallels between the two German Power Metal bands, Human Fortress and Mob Rules. Both started in the second big wave of the global Power Metal resurgence in the late 90’s spearheaded by Hammerfall. Both had a pair of excellent albums to launch their career. Then both bands had some big line-up changes. Then, perhaps because of those line-up changes, they had a bit of a lull with stylistic changes that were not as well received by the Power Metal community. And lastly, both bands have clawed their way back with a few decent albums. The new Mob Rules album TALES FROM BEYOND is very decent and continues the momentum recaptured with CANNIBAL NATION.
The band line-up is stable but the band made the jump from AFM records back to Steamhammer, which is still a good fit. It is not often that you see a band leave a record label then return to it, as Mob Rules did by going to AFM for a pair of records and retuning home to SPV. I don’t know why but the album title reminds me of a mash-up of Blind Guardian album titles, (TALES FROM THE TWILIGHT WORLD, TOKYO TALES, FORGOTTEN TALES, SOMEWHERE FAR BEYOND, BEYOND THE RED MIRROR) and there are several albums called TALES FROM BEYOND and there is a band called TALES FROM BEYOND! The album title is just a bit uninspired. Thankfully the music is very inspired!
TALES FROM BEYOND is the best Mob Rules album in many years. They bravely start with an ambitious epic song called ‘Dykemaster’s Tale’ running almost nine minutes long with some very nice Maiden-esque acoustic guitar work. Next cut ‘Somerled’ picks up the pace quite a bit with a more traditional Power Metal songs but I can hear bits of orchestral components and even a bit of what might be bagpipes and tiny Celtic lilt to part of the guitar solo. What follows is a song simply called ‘Signs’; that would make Savatage proud with some acoustic piano and a subdued, but still powerful vocal performance by Klaus Dirks. I won’t do a song-by-song analysis of the whole album but suffice to say three songs in the band is showing an expansion of their dynamic range and more power and energy than they have in a long time. The title track is a mega-epic running 16 minutes, the second longest epic they have done, a hair shorter than ‘The Oswald File’ from RADICAL PIECE. With a myriad of moods and tempos it is a tour de force maybe even reminiscent of Avantasia in it’s epic qualities. Elsewhere on the more streamlined songs, there are good crunchy guitars, catchy choruses and a good driving pace.
As I said in my review of CANNIBAL NATION a couple of years ago, I felt Mob Rules was on the right track again and TALES FROM BEYOND is a real return to form. Well done!
1. Dykemaster's Tale
4. On the Edge
5. My Kingdom Come
6. The Healer
7. Dust of Vengeance
8. A Tale from Beyond (Part 1: Through the Eye of the Storm)
9. A Tale from Beyond (Part 2: A Mirror Inside)
10. A Tale from Beyond (Part 3: Science Save Me!)
11. Outer Space
Klaus Dirks Vocals
Matthias Mineur Guitar
Sven Lüdke Guitar
Markus Brinkmann Bass
Jan Christian Halfbrodt Keyboards
Nikolas Fritz Drums
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