Label: AFM Records
Release Date: November 13, 2012 (US)
German power metal merchants, Mob Rules, dropped their seventh studio effort this week. The band has long had a gift for mixing progressive and classic elements into its signature, and Cannibal Nation is no different. From the opening track “Close My Eyes” the band sets a tone for the entire album: Strong melodic lines, deft fretwork, and soaring vocals, all layered over a thick rhythm section. The sound is mélange of atmospheric, spiraling, and at times epic music.
All of these nuances can be found woven throughout the album’s first single, “Ice and Fire”. Building a sonic tapestry of keyboards, guitars, vocals and steady skin work, the song peaks into a massive chorus.
Throughout the record, Klaus Dirks’ vocals are as crisp and inspired as ever, while Matthias Mineur and Sven Lüdke makes their guitars sing like beckoning sirens. Keyboardist Jan Christian Halfbrodt maintains a dynamic undercurrent and bassist Markus Brinkmann keeps his bass at a rumbling groove. All of this is propelled by drummer Nikolas Fritz. The album was recorded in the band’s new studio located in the home of Lüdke.
The title track kicks off with a great swinging riff and has some mammoth and exciting solo work from Mineur and Lüdke helping make it one of the album’s stand out tracks, along with “Tele Box Fools”. The aforementioned prog elements stand out most strongly on the album opener and the track, “Sirens”.
Every track on Cannibal Nation has something to offer, and are all worthy of listening. You can put this record on and enjoy every moment. Where Cannibal Nation comes up a bit short is there is little here to set it apart from the band’s previous efforts or even other bands of the same style. The songs are well-crafted, but none of them are particularly memorable musically. The lyrical content is often intriguing and engaging, however, if the music does not stick with you, the lyrics become moot.
Mob Rules have built another beast of a record; full of hooks, excellent production, strong vocals, melody, wicked guitar work, and plenty of energy. It is an album that fans are sure to embrace, but outside of its own fan base, the band is not apt to open new ears with this effort. A solid, if unremarkable, performance.
Secret weapon: Halfbrodt’s keyboards, especially the use of the Hammond organ really add something special to most every track on this record.