Mob Rules - Radical Peace
AFM Records
Melodic Progressive Power Metal
12 songs (52'27)
Release year: 2009
Mob Rules, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
Throughout the course of their 10 year career, Germany's Mob Rules has always been heralded as one of the better "underground" power metal bands. With a sound that borrows from Helloween, Freedom Call as well as the more progressive elements of Queensryche and Stratovarius, Mob Rules has never really enjoyed the type of success as others in the genre depite a string of very solid releases. Their first 2 albums Savage Land and Temple of Two Suns were a refreshingly new approach to power metal with soaring melodies and a more symphonic sound yet in my opinion, the band seemed to simply coast through subsequent albums like Hallowed Be Thy Name and Among the Gods; with nothing really new in their sound. With their fifth album Ethnolution A.D., the band adopted a more epic, orchestrated and progressive approach as well as being more conceptual in focus for the subject matter of their songs. That album, although I found a little disjointed, seemed to rekindle long time fans interest in the band. It's been three years since the release of that album and now we are presented with their new album Radical Peace. This new piece of work sees the band continuing with longer conceptual multipart songs, all with a very majestic and orchestrated sound consisting of soaring vocal melodies and catchy choruses yet keeping their brand of thick, heavy power chord laden metal firmly in place.

The production of this album is simply huge and is by far the best sounding album that this band has ever done. The guitars are thick, the drums heavy and pounding and the use of layered keyboard orchestrations on most tracks really thickens up the melodies and sets the tone for many of the songs by quickly introducing a main recurring melodic "theme". The first two tracks Children of the Flames and Trial By Fire offer excellent examples of this. Both tracks are epic, use huge Savatage style octave riffs and have amazing "get-stuck-in-your-head" choruses. The melodic sense of this band's sound has been amped up more than a couple of notches with some of the most melodic, yet still very heavy material that they have ever done. Warchild also sees dramatic and orchestrated Savatage style riffs with more of the dramatic sense as supplied by the layered keyboard orchestrations. An emotional yet heavy power ballad, this tracks takes a look at the one thing that always bears the brunt of any conflict in the history of man...the children of this world. Astral Hand continues with more soaring and thematic riffing, awesome melodies and another huge chorus section.

The assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas Texas in 1963 is the theme behind the over 18 minute conceptual piece The Oswald File (Ethnolution II: A Matter of Unnecessary Doubt). This six-part track looks at the whole series of events leading up to the murder of JFK as well as the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald; the man who was accused of killing JFK. This track sees Mob Rules pulling out all the stops with a prog metal masterpiece that fans of Dream Theater would certainly enjoy. This also reminds me of another recent prog metal gem, Beyond Twilight's For The Love Of Art and the Making, released a few years back. The album finishes with Waiting For The Sun and The Glance Of Fame with Waiting For The Sun being one of the speedier tracks on the album. Still epic and heavy as the rest of the album, the use of harmony thirds for the main guitar riffs really kicks things into gear. The Glance Of Fame features more of a mid-tempo Queensryche influence with excellent melodies and solid heaviness throughout.

I've been slowly losing interest in the melodic power metal genre over the last couple of years. There's been a few really good releases yet a whole slew of average ones; even by some of the bigger bands in the genre. It seems that most bands were not going to offer up anything new and just simply follow the trends that were set in place in the mid to late 90's. Like I stated earlier in this review, the first two Mob Rules albums were an interesting twist in the power metal genre but they really didn't change their sound much until Ethnolution A.D. With Radical Peace, they have continued with the groundwork of a more conceptual and progressive approach laid down with Ethnolution A.D. yet the soaring melodies and heaviness of the earlier albums has returned. The result is an album that is simply the band's best work to date. By modernizing the orchestrated heavy metal approach that Savatage took with albums like Gutter Ballet, Dead Winter Dead and The Wake Of Magellan, Mob Rules is a new and exciting evolution in the power metal genre. The combination of heaviness, thematic orchestrations, soaring vocals and rich, catchy choruses comes together in near perfection with this album. Its been quite a while since I've been this excited about melodic power metal...and it feels pretty good....

Killing Songs :
Children of the Flames, Trial By Fire, Warchild, Astral Hand and The Oswald File (Ethnolution II : A Matter of Unncecessary Doubt)
Marty quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Mob Rules that we have reviewed:
Mob Rules - Ethnolution A.D. reviewed by Marty and quoted 72 / 100
Mob Rules - Among the Gods reviewed by Jason and quoted 85 /100
Mob Rules - Hollowed Be Thy Name reviewed by Mike and quoted 93 / 100
Mob Rules - Temple Of Two Suns reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
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