Mob Rules – Cannibal Nation
It seems to take Mob Rules at least a few albums to make a new significant step in their evolution. After career highpoint Radical Peace, pushing the band in a new more progressive direction, you can only expect them to rest on their laurels for a bit. Therefore Cannibal Nation doesn’t strive to outdo or undo that album, but rather acts like a sequel to it. Welcome to Radical Peace 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Mob Rules likes to open with a huge song, and after the likes of “Black Rain” and “Children Of The Flames” a more intimate tune as “Close My Eyes” comes as a surprise. Together with follow-up “Lost” it sets a moody tone, unlike the usual grandeur. Yet the minimalist guitar riffs and leads almost approach a modern day Iron Maiden-sound, meaning the build-up is slow, but the payoff is big. Never shy of a soaring chorus, Mob Rules still delivers on the sing-along. Klaus Dirks grows into a more powerful singer with each record, mixing theatricality with aggression in a way Batman would be jealous of.
The satirical “Tele Box Fool” only strengthens the Maiden-esque impression, its melodies nearly straight out of The Final Frontier. With first single “Ice And Fire” we are back in familiar territory, with its pulsating tempo and rapturous refrain. Fans yearning for the fastness of “Speed Of Life”, “Hydrophobia” or “Trial By Fire” will be satisfied with what comes next. “Soldiers Of Fortune” is impossible to sit still to, and almost tramples everything that preceded it. And then “The Sirens” boasts the album’s best climax, with Dirks wailing like the mythological creature of the title. “Scream For The Sun” takes us back to NWOBHM, and resembles a mini epic from Brave New World. Unfortunately Cannibal Nation trails off from there, with a title track partially reusing the hook from “Soldiers Of Fortune”, and “Sunrise” failing to match the level of the previous solar song.
A slight damper on an otherwise excellent album, but far from a complete spoiler. Cannibal Nation is Mob Rules resting comfortably on the legacy of Radical Peace, with a slight increase in the Iron Maiden-influences. Considering I haven’t mentioned “power metal” at all during this review, I can only conclude Mob Rules has grown into a genre-crossing monolith and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Arno’s rating: 4.0 out of 5