Mob Rules – Among The Gods
Among The Gods
Reviewed by Arno Callens
By Poseidon’s scraggly beard, if Mob Rules is going to throne themselves Among The Gods, they’d better learn spelling English words in Greek letters is not actually Greek. Minor pet peeve of mine, taunting me from the corner of the otherwise glorious clockwork album art. That being said, the Germans’ self-declared divine ascension is well deserved, as their fourth work is once more Herculean in its scope and magnitude.
Eager followers of my reviews – to whom I extend my eternal gratitude and slight befuddlement – are aware that Mob Rules has a flair for the dramatic, and on Among The Gods they discover myriads (well, tens, anyways) of ways to shape the same clay into a different sculpture. As on Hollowed Be Thy Name, Mob Rules doesn’t gallop out the gate, but imposes on the listener a feeling of majesty and dread. “Black Rain” has fallen on earth, the first part of the “Götterdammerung”-trilogy unleashed, and the opener leaves its distinct footprints in the mud. Further tracking the pattern of the predecessor, “Hydrophobia” stands as the equivalent of “The Speed Of Life”, a quickfire melodic romp illustrating the band’s excellent use of keys. More such examples are found in the lightweight “Ship Of Fools” and the joyous “Meet You In Heaven”.
While I’m not particularly adept at classic dance, I’d deem “The Miracle Dancer” to be “waltzy”, although I might just settle for “dreamy” instead. A soft-spoken song, weaving delicious harmonies until you sweetly drift off into Morpheus’ embrace. The contrast with the vicious title track – part two of “Götterdammerung” – could not be more pronounced, as “Among The Gods” is about as dark as Mob Rules gets. Ominous and brooding, about faith and falling from it, one could argue it hardly belongs on a record of this sort. Yet we could care less, if but for sheer surprise and the latching tentacles of the refrain.
Bands rehashing tracks are generally met with my trademark skeptic and disapproving frown, but “New World Symphony” is a healthy exception. Infusing the classic “Rain Song” with orchestra and pomp, it is a welcome reimagining, and luckily not milked beyond its limits. “Seven Seas” is then a heartfelt odyssey across so many oceans, and “Arabia” sizzles with oriental mystery, finishing the “Götterdammerung”-suite with sandswept style. Quite a journey for a band fond of journeying, and much more mileage lies ahead. Among The Gods for one is a trip worth doing over again and again, from a formation in his finest power metal form, until new heights they would seek to achieve.
4.25 // 5