MobRulesFormed in 1994, Teutonic power metallers Mob Rules have been going strong for over twenty years. Up to their ninth studio album after one best of, making their album total at ten, the six piece have honed their chops over the years, touring with the likes of Overkill and are due to embark on a tour with Axel Rudi Pell in support of their latest offering, ‘Tales From Beyond’. Without further delay, let us hear the stories they have in store.

Opening up with “The Dykemaster’s Tale” (and getting a little immature giggle from me at the title for the other implied meaning of the word Dyke!) it sounds rather like Iron Maiden, specifically the Blaze Bailey years (the ones we pretend didn’t happen!). With its grandiose and epic story feel, it erupts into a Euro tinged NWOBHM styled track with a slight anthemic quality to it. Dramatic synths, intricate arrangements and soaring riffs with classic harmony laden riffs and some solid vocals in the vein of Dickinson and the late Ronnie James Dio, it tells a fantastic story. “Somerled” paints a tale of clan-era Scotland, complete with bagpipes and swirling wind samples to open it up and set a decent atmosphere. Once again, the powerful and melodic metal music paints a vivid picture and the massive sounding melodic choruses have a soaring feel to them in that Sonata Arctica type way.

From here, the album proceeds in similar fashion. “Signs” has a real pounding, heavy riff which oozes fists in the air and gratuitous headbanging whilst the synth and piano lines give it a real massive feel whilst “On The Edge” has some real pace in its hard hitting riffs and tight rhythm section keeping it all locked down, but the main focus of this album is the three part epic which makes up three of the final four tracks – ‘A Tale From Beyond’.

Titled ” Through The Eye Of The Storm”, “Part 2 – A Mirror Inside” and “Part 3 – Science Save Me”, it initially lays out an epic tale, something which is commonplace in Power Metal. The first part of this suite has a real hard hitting edge. Using the synths, massive vocal sections and heavy riffs, it is musically solid and the harmony line melodies add some flair to it. As it approaches the end, it cleans up, becoming more melancholic with an intricate clean arrangement under a sorrowful sounding lead. ” A Mirror Inside” slows it down a little. Samples and synths add an epic touch to it over the haunting clean line and the vocals are just as powerful and clear as before. With a theme of self reflection, it encourages thought and allows you to get lost in the music. Dramatically slow with massive sound, it could prove to be a live epic with its huge choruses and dramatic solo which paves the way for part 3. “Science Save Me” brings an intricate drum and guitar intro which returns the metal edge and the harmony melody line fits great with the synths backing it up. With the lyrics painting a picture of progression and self-rebirth, it does have that growing feel and a sense of enlightenment with it and this is reflected in the music as it goes through the verses into the melodic and hard hitting choruses. It is a good three part slice of power metal, covering a wide variety of styles and it does prove to be some of the album’s best moments, setting up for the heavy, fast paced Euro-Metal friendly “Outer Space” to wrap it up.

Overall, it’s a decent album. It’s not spectacular nor is it dire. It just sounds like a lot of power metal, having that dramatic impact initially and then becoming rather samey until the main focal tracks towards the end which lifts it back up. It is easy to listen to, but aside from those tracks highlighted, nothing really stands out as attention grabbing or superb. It’s worth a listen if you like this kind of music.

(6/10 Fraggle)