Hot off the Press

Mob Rules | Cannibal Nation

by Justin Gaines
– Senior Columnist —

Mob RulesVeteran German power metal band Mob Rules is back with a new album, their seventh overall, titled Cannibal Nation. A decade ago or so, back when they only had an album or two to their name, the prospect of a new Mob Rules album wouldn’t have excited too many people. Starting in 2004, however, the band has released a series of stunning melodic power metal albums, each one better than the last, and has become one of the best bands the scene has to offer. Needless to say, Cannibal Nation is a very highly anticipated release.

With Cannibal Nation, the band has stepped back from the more epic and conceptual elements of previous Mob Rules albums. You won’t find any multi-part epics about historical events here. Instead, the band seems to have circled back to the simpler, more straightforward power metal of Among the Gods and Hollowed Be Thy Name years. This is both good and potentially bad. It’s good because there really aren’t many bands that play melodic power metal as good as Mob Rules. It’s potentially bad because after watching the band challenge themselves and push the genre’s boundaries over the past few releases, this feels almost too “safe” a choice. Still, it’s hard to deny the power of songs like “Close My Eyes,” “Ice and Fire” and of course the headbanging powerhouse title track. Longtime members Matthias Mineur and Klaus Dirks really shine here with intricate guitar work and soaring, powerful vocals, respectively. Between the two of them, this album has some irresistible melodies, and the rest of the band turns in a first rate performance as well. The album closes on a tranquil note with the serene “Sunrise,” but the bonus (to both the limited digipack physical CD and the MP3 album) live performance of “Children of the Flames” taken from the 2011 ProgPower USA festival ends things on a high note.

While it doesn’t quite live up to the standards of Radical Peace and Among the Gods, Cannibal Nation is still a very strong power metal album from a band that does this kind of music very well. Besides, even an “average” Mob Rules album is going to be heads and shoulders above the rest of the pack. If you’re already a fan of Mob Rules, then by all means pick this album up. Give it a few spins if it doesn’t wow you at first, because it is a “grower.” If you’re new to the band though, your best bet is to start with an album like Among the Gods before circling back to Cannibal Nation.

Genre: Power Metal

Matthias Mineur (g)
Klaus Dirks (v)
Markus Brinkmann (b)
Sven Ludke (g)
Nikolas Fritz (d)
Jan Christian Halfbrodt (k)

Track Listing:
1. Close My Eyes
2. Lost
3. Tele Box Fool
4. Ice & Fire
5. Soldier of Fortune
6. The Sirens
7. Scream for the Sun (May 29th, 1953)
8. Cannibal Nation
9. Sunrise
10. Children of the Flames (live)

Label: AFM Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 8/10