Reviews roundup – Mob Rules vs. The Resistance vs. Molly Anna Band vs. Wojciech Hoffmann vs. Section IV
Tales From Beyond
Steamhammer / SPV
Hurrah! Time for a new album from German melodic power metal outfit, Mob Rules. Hot(tish) on the heels of their monumental box set “Timekeeper”, they’ve whipped out another excellent set of, um, melodic power metal.
There is no point messing up a successful formula, and I’m glad that they’ve not done a Goan trance release. No, it’s still a record chock full of fine riffs, sweeping musical passages and none more heavy metal.
Granted, they’ve strayed into Avantasia territory with the three part ‘A Tale From Beyond’. But they’ll get no argument from me on that score. So, it’s another winner from Mob Rules. However, die hard fans will not be delighted to learn that “Tales From Beyond” is out as a DigiPak CD (containing a bonus track + poster), double gatefold white vinyl (with printed inner sleeves + CD in paper sleeve) and digital download; there will be an extra itunes version including an additional exclusive newly recorded bonus track, ‘Ghost Town’. Phew.
Coup de Grace
It was back in January 2013 that I said post “Rise And Treason”, that I was looking forward to their debut album. Well, I was wrong. I didn’t like it at all. Too much hardcore, not enough metal. So I filed them away in the ignore pile.
So, three years later, the second album arrives, and what do you know? It’s ten times better than the debut, and a real metal treat. Sometimes, it’s nice to be wrong. Now, I understand why the former members of In Flames, Grave and The Haunted would want to do something different. It was just too different. But this release sees them merging the assorted styles into a powerful whole. Well done, chaps.
To be fair, there isn’t a lot here that Entombed didn’t do in the past, but it’s hard, brutal and old school, with beasts like ‘I Welcome Death’, ‘Violator’ and ‘Enslavement’ something all metalheads should listen to.
MOLLY ANNA BAND
The Molly Anna Band are Molly Anna and Mike Hukins. Which is a shame for Mike Hukins, but I suppose Molly Anna is a bit catchier. This is their debut EP, following on from an earlier single, and it’s like All About Eve all over again.
Yes, they’re looking back to the days of introspective goth, with a few nu-metal lite grooves thrown in for good measure. It shouldn’t really work, but it does. They’re going for the whole hypnotic feel, and they’ve certainly got a handle on it with ‘Til You Collapse’, the centrepiece of an interesting release.
It doesn’t all come together, but that song, and the previously mentioned single, Villian’, shows that they’ve got a wlot going for them in the songwriting department. Apparently, it’s also a concept EP, so ya boo sucks to folk that don’t swing that way. As an opening salvo, this is more than enough to make the Molly Anna Band a name to keep an eye on in the future.
Behind The Windows
Never heard of him. But turns out thatg Mr Hoffman is a bit of an institution over in Poland, having spent forty years as a musician, primarily with Polish heavy metal outfit Turbo.
However, this is only his second solo album, with the first, “Trees”, having come out twelve years back. Now this isn’t metal, as it’s really a showcase for his instrumental prowess. With some vocals and a few progressive rock flourishes for good measure.
And there is no doubting his ability, as all these years have not gone to waste. He kicks off with a tribute to Gary Moore, before heading off into prog metal teritory with ‘The Birth’, some more seventies guitar rock on ‘Carefree Fields, then back into Dream Theater territory on ‘Journey To The End’. It’s a real treat for guitar aficionados, so hopefully they’ll get a chance to hear it.
Time for what would have been neo-prog, had it been released twenty years ago. So, it’s a wee bit late to the party, but that doesn’t stop it being an engaging listen.
It’s the kind of thing that bands like Pendragon and Arena were doing, marrying melodic prog rock to more mainstream rhythms, and this album certainly succeeds in doing that. Even if they do kick off with a 12 minute track, which certainly proves their prog credentials.
There is some great keyboard work, and some instantly accessible tunes like ‘Guiding Light’ which will certainly win them some fans. They’re prog enough for those who like musical dexterity, but they never forget that there are people out there who still like a bit of a tune to hum along to. The various members have been round the block a few times, but it looks like they’ve finally ended up where they should be.