Mob Rules – Ethnolution A.D.
Reviewed by Arno Callens
Rage’s Peavy Wagner joined Mob Rules on Hollowed Be Thy Name for a cover version of “How The Gypsy Was Born”, and it appears that some of that veteran’s influence has seeped into the younglings. Just as Rage did on Speak Of The Dead – as you can check in Dan’s rewind (which is currently scheduled to end around the next ice age) – the first half of Ethnolution A.D. is occupied with the titular six-track suite. Consequently, the rest of the album seems something of an afterthought, which is more the result of structuring than the inherent quality of the songs themselves.
The good first. Grand and dark, “Unholy War” unfolds its wings from a mesmerizing lead into a keyboard-layered monster riff. “Ashes To Ashes” is more intimate, its chorus a whisper before the madness bursts forth anew with the snarling “Fuel To The Fire”, Mob Rules’ heaviest tune to date. After the interlude “Veil Of Death”, the suite calls the curtain with the massive “The Last Farewell”, hooks clawing like a hawk’s talons on its prey. Fade to black, applause.
Alas, it isn’t so. As fantastic as “Ethnolution A.D.” is as a unit, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better if they had sprinkled the suite in between the regular songs, as they did with “Götterdammerung” on Among The Gods. “The Last Farewell” would have been an epic closer, but now “Day And A Lifetime” feels like a second act that doesn’t really fit. A tender piano-driven tune, it is sweet enough, but light when balanced with what came before. An application appropriate for the rest of the album, where only the adventurous “New Horizon” and melancholy “With Sparrows” rear their heads, but still a cut below the clouds of “Ethnolution”.
With a track record such as theirs, Mob Rules can afford a slip-up and for the suite alone I reward this the score as seen below. Knowing the band would follow this one up with the pinnacle of their career, we shall call this one the calm before the storm, with a hurricane of its own in “Ethnolution A.D.”. A subtitle that would be reused for the upcoming eighteen-minute behemoth “The Oswald File” – quite possibly Mob Rules’ crowning composition. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
4.0 // 5