Mob Rules – Celebration Day – 30 Years of Mob Rules (Steamhammer/SPV)

Wednesday, 1st May 2024
Rating: 9 / 10

Compilation albums used to serve two purposes in an artist’s career. First, to provide a welcome break in the normal record/tour/record cycle, and second, to get one record closer to finishing out a current label contract. These days the rules have slightly changed – often signifying special events, such as the 30th anniversary of being a band for the case of German act Mob Rules. The double CD track list for Celebration Day – 30 Years of Mob Rules contains 30 songs and over 150 minutes of music – a mixture of hand-picked favorites from the members themselves, previous digital-only offerings, as well as unreleased or re-recorded cuts to truly make this a special release.

The first CD opens with the magnificent “Way of the World” off 2002’s Hollowed By Thy Name record, an 8:26 arrangement showcasing the band’s dramatic melodic power metal abilities, including a special guitar break from ex-Helloween/Masterplan’s Roland Grapow. From there the records showcase the group dipping into the catalog from their first album Savage Land with “Rain Song” and “Hold Back the Light” as well as Temple of Two Suns for “Flag of Life” and “Evolution’s Falling” – beyond including a few tracks off the last studio record Beast Reborn from 2018 with the peppy “Ghost of a Chance” as well as Savatage-esque “Shores Ahead”. “Lord of Madness” receives the re-record treatment 21 years later after its original appearance – the makeover including a stronger guitar presence including some ripping arpeggio action that brings higher energy to this already captivating song. The sextet possess all the weapons to achieve a full, dynamic sound – between two guitarists, keyboardist, bass, and drums it’s easier to provide an all encompassing atmosphere that can be vibrant, microscopic as well as intense or serene from song to song, encouraging Klaus Dirks as a vocalist to stretch his multi-octave pipes across the board in the rock, classical, or metal landscapes.

Then we have a chance to look at the covers Mob Rules includes that range from normal metal terrain to beyond. Three of these tracks are previously unreleased, the heavier interpretation of Irene Cara’s “Fame” an immediate favorite – the shouted chorus and catchy main guitar/keyboard hook taken down a notch tempo-wise without sacrificing the passionate nature of the melodies everlasting. “Run to the Hills” and “Sacred Heart” seem like conventional picks, but on the fringe side of things Ghost and Amon Amarth are left-field choices that speak to the depth of appreciation the band members have towards all styles of music. “Square Hammer” has that floaty, gothic hard rock angle that works while “Raven’s Flight” tackles heavier, cultural terrain, offering more versatility from Klaus’ natural theatrical delivery, the band also including some darker background growls in spots.

In a just world, quality should supersede fashionable trends or quick fix popularity, even a long-running genre such as heavy metal. Celebration Day – 30 Years of Mob Rules gives all consumers a healthy understanding of what these melodic power metal veterans is all about, while whetting appetites in anticipation for the next proper Mob Rules studio record.

Mob Rules on Facebook

[fbcomments width="580"]