Mob Rules – Beast Over Europe (Steamhammer/SPV)Friday, 6th September 2019
In the metal landscape, we all have our favorite styles – and sometimes, even within those specific sub-genres, there can be acts that fall into that ‘cult’ or underrated status. Place Mob Rules here for this scribe. Originally more of a standard up-tempo power metal unit in their early days with albums like Savage Land and Temple of Two Suns, they expanded their influence horizons into older Queensrÿche and Savatage-like strains by the follow-up Hollowed By Thy Name, and have charted their own melodic heavy/power metal course ever since. In support of their latest studio album Beast Reborn, the band felt it was time to record and release a live album with Beast Over Europe – delivering thirteen songs + intro over their vast discography.
The band aren’t the flashiest or most stunning when it comes to their songwriting or performances – they excel at concentrating on solid hooks, impressive melodies, and appropriate support when it comes to the instrumental breaks. It’s why songs like “Black Rain” or even the current album’s “Children’s Crusade” stand out – the latter containing some older late 80’s Iron Maiden-esque guitar melodies that stay cemented in the brain as easily as the vocal choruses of Klaus Dirks. A longer setlist allows Mob Rules to break out an epic such as “Dykemaster’s Tale” – a nine-minute plus number that the audience can clap in unison during specific passages and appreciate the dramatic atmospheric shifts between power and progressive riffs, the multi-layered keyboard/guitar sequences and a killer lead break from Sven Lüdke. It’s great that the band reach back to 2002’s Hollowed Be Thy Name for a couple of songs like “In the Land of Wind and Rain” plus the title track, as you know that there will be a fair amount of songs from the latest record like “Ghost of a Chance” and “Sinister Light”. Recording shows across multiple venues allows them to gain the best performances from those nights – but you can tell there is a home crowd fervor when the German audiences chant and sing along with the material.
If you haven’t checked into Mob Rules, Beast Over Europe is an excellent primer into their diverse catalog and intelligent approach to the melodic heavy metal genre.