4/16/2010 - Review by: Eric Compton
Germany is such a crowded metal joint, ranging from your three tier thrash pioneers and the followers to the more Teutonic flavors of the last fifteen years. Every year the country seems to accumulate more and more metallic followers with very few acts disappearing (most recently Running Wild). What is so great about that country is the individuality. Sure there is the Helloween clones, the Kreator worship and the multitude of Accept metal hearts and then there are acts like Mob Rules that really just carry their own torch. The band have been active for over fifteen years and now release their sixth studio effort and first for new home AFM Records.
"Radical Peace" follows in line with the previous releases, emphasizing mid-tempo blocks of textured riffs placed neatly in a progressive décor. The group certainly aren’t as complex as Dream Theater or Iron Maiden but still find a suitable middle ground for their sound. This album was produced by the band themselves and really finds a thick delivery punctuated by some frontal keyboards that permeate throughout.
The band collaborate on some really interesting ideas here ranging from the JFK assassination to Joseph Mengele. The album has some great heavy numbers like opener "Children Of The Flames" and its epic chorus (think "Vain Glory Opera" Edguy) or concrete "Trial By Fire". I love the melodic vocal lines in "Warchild" with its layered harmonies. Vocalist Klaus Dirks is the highlight here, combining on some soft spoken passages that build to higher crescendos of melody. "Astral Hand" is the band’s 'single' so to speak and is a very accessible tune that provides worthy fans a solid outing but also should invite new listeners. You might find it odd to see only seven cuts here however "The Oswald File" clocks in at eighteen minutes and is divided up into chapters (trademark of German native Rage).
Bottom Line - A unique listen that could fall well between Blind Guardian and Helloween fans but may be too orchestrated for fans of the more rigid Teutonic German sound.
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