|Review: Mob Rules - Radical Peace|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 23, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 4.21/5 (84.29%) (14 Votes)
Germany's Mob Rules are back with their 7th full-length release Radical Peace and I have to admit, you can color me impressed. I first encountered Mob Rules on LMP's Louder than the Dragon compilation through the song "Eyes of All Young" from the Temple of Two Suns CD. I thought I'd found another Sonata Arctica (having only recently "discovered" Ecliptica) and eagerly bought Temple anticipating another double-kick tour de force. While the album wasn't as consistently speedy as I'd hoped, I found it a great Power Metal release. I moved on to Among the Gods and the wheels came right off the wagon. Where was the speed? Bah! Keep the rest of your slow, moody metal, Mob Rules! Now, where is my Wizard CD?
To say I've sold Mob Rules short in the intervening years is a colossal understatement. Radical Peace IS a tour de force, evidence of a band at their creative peak. There is enough speed to satisfy Power Metal freaks like myself ("Waiting for the Sun" moves along at a pretty good clip), while most of the remaining songs are firmly mid-paced. But the real genius is in the songwriting. Mob Rules have crafted an album full of intricate yet accessible, mature yet insanely catchy tunes that I have been singing non-stop, including in my sleep. This album is in my head. Songs like the opener "Children of the Flames," "Astral Hand" and the aforementioned "speedster" "Waiting for the Sun" balance heavy riffs with solos that are just the right length for the songs. Keyboards support everything beautifully and never overshadow the rest of the instruments. The rhythm section is solid throughout. Everything is in near perfect balance, each performance complementing all the others like fine wine.
And then there is "The Oswald Files," an 18 minute retelling of the John F. Kennedy assassination through the eyes of his assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald (if you subscribe to the "theory" of the lone gunman, conspiracy theorists might argue). This song is epic, plain and simple. The subject matter (and it always impresses me how people from different countries and different generations are still moved by this story), the music, the time changes, right down to the inclusion of actual recordings of the news reports of the day, make this song awesome. It sweeps you up and carries you along for the entire duration of the song, never getting tedious as some long songs do, and puts you down 18 minutes later wanting desperately to get back on the ride for another go round. I never found myself wondering when it would end. I was usually disappointed when it did.
The only downside to Radical Peace is the song "Warchild." It is slower that the rest of the album, but not really a ballad. However, it just plods along and is the weakest track.
Radical Peace is an excellent Heavy/Power Metal album that shows the band moving beyond the confines of simple Power without abandoning their roots. Go out and buy this and prepare to find yourself singing Mob Rules choruses for weeks. Highly Recommended.
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