I first discovered MOB RULES in 2006 with the release of their Ethnolution A.D. album, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t too excited. I did go back and fall in love with the very excellent 1999 debut, Savage Land, but none of their other offerings ever really resonated with me – until now.
Tales From Beyond (out March 18 via Steamhammer/SPV Records) is an instant classic! The band goes beyond the prototypical sound of German power metal with a disc packed full of great riffs, some amazing vocal hooks, and insane guitar solos – I was a huge fan before I finished my first run through the album! If you aren’t familiar with the band, their musical style is power metal with a definite NWOBHM influence that comes directly from IRON MAIDEN, and that influence has never been so present and up front as with the new disc. The result? Great songwriting, lyrics that really tell a story, some excellently constructed face-melting guitar solos, and a fast paced album that doesn’t let up until you’ve reached the end.
One of the songs that really stands out is the opening track, and it opens the album perfectly. “The Dykemaster’s Tale” starts off with a slow, casually paced intro before launching into a gallop that is full-on IRON MAIDEN worship that blends with the traditional German power stylings perfectly and seamlessly, and it sets expectations for the hour-plus yet to come.
The centerpiece of the album is the sixteen minute long “A Tale From Beyond” suite. This is a beautiful arrangement of songs, and kicks off with the intense and somewhat proggy “Through The Eyes of the Storm”, before segueing into the only ballad on the disc in “A Mirror Inside”, which is one of my favorite songs on the whole thing. It’s slow, thoughtful, and really sucks you in and wrings you out. The band finishes out the suite with the driving and dark “Science Save Me!”, which really ties the whole thing together with a neat bow and brings the album proper to an end. There’s a bonus track on physical copies called “Outer Space”, which is pretty solid – straight ahead NWOBHM and not much power, but it’s a fun track and a nice little extra bonus.
Should you pick up Tales From Beyond? Some people won’t be able to get past the IRON MAIDEN sound to the music and singing, but I think that MOB RULES have reached a perfect blend of the two genres that just works, and it’s a wonderful return to form for them.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Dykemaster’s Tale”, “On the Edge”, “Dust of Vengeance”, “A Mirror Inside”, “Somerled”