What, this is the fourth album of MOB RULES already? Wow, it almost feels as if the debut “Savage Land” only had been released last month! But I do not really care, because ever since their 1999 debut the outputs of the gentlemen from northern Germany are very much to my liking, as they nicely differ from the usual sounds and quite successfully walk their way.
The sextet, which by the way never had to see a line-up change per se, but only added members twice, does not stop with this on “Among The Gods”, quite the contrary, they continue, where they had left off with “Hollowed Be Thy Name”, just not via LMP anymore, but a bit further south, via Steamhammer Records. So what are the reasons, why MOB RULES sound different? Well, there are several.
One of them definitely is singer Klaus Dirks, who has a quite own, high voice, with which he manages to characterise the songs, giving them expression. Add to that a very good hand for epics, dramatics and bombast, but without sounding like the other bands out there that use this, too. Does this make any sense? Well, I just say yes!
With “Black Rain“ the album starts out in slow to mid-tempo, with a very catchy chorus including some keyboards, but never getting shallow, quite the contrary, the melodies and arrangements sound simply mature and strong. Of course they are not a revelation in terms of uniqueness, but the quality is just outstanding and even when they switch into double-bass mode, as on the following “Hydrophobia”, everything sounds damn strong and also with the certain bit of originality, thanks to the voice and the hooklines are just great!
“Invitation Time“ then is the living proof that there are bands that can use a lot of keyboards without losing any kind of heaviness of class, especially, if the guitars still have such a strong standing and the melodies just grip you right away, great song, one of the best of this kind that I have heard this year so far, no kidding! Just like the title track that starts out very epic and also stays majestic throughout. “New World Symphony” is a greatly un-kitschy ballad, “Ship Of Fools” a very catchy Melodic Metal track, while “Seven Seas” is another song in wide screen format and a big chorus.
Four times MOB RULES now have set out and for the fourth time they have reaped rich harvest. If it will be enough to convert large crowds, I do not know, but every fan of very well done Melodic/Power Metal should be more than satisfied with the clear and powerful “Among The Gods”, a very strong album of a strong band, period! (Online August 27, 2004)