Mob Rules – “Beast Reborn” (Steamhammer / SPV)
These German metal-edged hard rockers have been in the game for close to a quarter of a century, establishing themselves in Continental Europe as a name as well as on the summer festival circuit. Founded by vocalist Klaus Dirks, who’s always managed to pull hugely talented musicians into his fold, “Beast Reborn” is the band’s 9th album and doesn’t hold back in delivering the goods once again across 11 stellar tracks. Heavy enough to incorporate double bass drumming, not to mention being speedy when they want to, Mob Rules are equally placed to deliver massive melodies that also incorporate prog majesty showing their Maiden inspiration, along with hugely epic passion that makes them highly reminiscent of Kamelot. Dirks’ soaring soul more than makes the heart flutter while being no less dramatic, while the twin guitars of Sven Lüdke and protégé Sönke Janssen heap on torrents of fluid soloing matched by plenty of fiery fretboard burning, not forgetting the moving keyboards of Jan Christian Halfbrodt. Reflective of their maturity, as well as their virtuoso musicianship, the material here amply exhibits a very classy performance with plenty of depth throughout, so don’t be expecting anything cheesy as the band pull out all the stops, right down to their best album cover ever and superb mastering by Jens Bogren (Kreator, Amorphis)! Employing the same acclaimed ‘direct’ style of its fine 2016 predecessor “Tales From Beyond”, “Beast Reborn” exudes power melodies, memorable choruses and tons of expressive emotion on songs like ‘The Explorer’ that literally grabs you through its pulsating energy as Dirks’ epic vocals dance in perfect harmony with the bountiful folk melodies from the twin guitars, not forgetting the heavy backdrop before the firey soloing ignites your soul! Delivering equally on their lengthier songs, ‘Traveller In Time’ at over 6 minutes loses none of its passionate energy despite its mystique, pumping and galloping to its double bass drumming while slowing for the impressive harmonious chorus that rings out thanks to all the band singing it out. Indeed, if there’s a secret to “Beast Reborn” then it has to be the ultra tight collaborations both in the compositions as well as on the performances, such is the tremendous vibe here! Impressing me throughout, ‘Sinister Light’ stood out thanks to its bountiful passion from the majestic guitar melodies and crunching riffs rocking away oh so gracefully to the powerful drums, all of which culminated in yet another massively memorable chorus that just blew me away completely. “Beast Reborn” reflects a new band indeed who’ve never sounded better on what must be their finest moment!