In the part of classic power metal secluded from mainstream fame artists like Sabaton or Powerwolf, Signs Of The Time Live is known as one of the most thrilling live experiences delivered on recording, but with 14 years gone by and five new albums between then and 2019, Mob Rules‘ testament for rousing live shows from 2005 got long in the tooth. Following their 2018 record Beast Reborn and the appertaining Beast Over Europe tour with Brainstorm the German band decided to update and upgrade their live album catalogue with a new 14-track offering recorded during mentioned tour including plenty of more recent tracks. But can Beast Over Europe relieve Signs Of The Time Live of its paragon duties?
Mob Rules fans both old and new will come upon their favorite tracks of the band’s 25 year history throughout this record, new hits such as energetic speed metal opener “Ghost Of A Chance” or epic Iron Maiden tribute “Dykemaster’s Tale” alternate with classic Mob Rules tunes like “Black Rain”, “The Last Farewell” and “In The Land Of Wind And Rain”. The track list is clearly weighted towards the band’s more modern material though, which only makes sense as the last two records Tales From Beyond and Beast Reborn received positive reception by fans and press thanks to their serious, grown-up tone and ambitious songwriting off the beaten power metal path.
Fortunately for this live record, the recording and production sound matches the requirements of Mob Rules‘ music: the heavy, warm and earthy sounds of the band’s classic heavy metal mixture are delivered perfectly on Beast Over Europe, singer Klaus Dirk’s vocals are clear as day while the pounding drums and driving bass lines in conjuncture with the serrating riff work establish a solid foundation for audience-thrilling melodies.
Seemingly, the songs were recorded during different shows, noticeable through inconvenient track breaks filled with silence as if listening to a studio record. This, at times, spoils the great live atmosphere and could have been easily solved by blending the live audiences together, a notable example is Avantasia‘s live album The Flying Opera which inconspicuously alternated between a Wacken and a Masters Of Rock recording.
This is a slight oversight for Beast Over Europe and criticism on a high level which still does not change the fact that Mob Rules are one of the best live bands in the extended melodic metal genre and Beast Over Europe is one of the most entertaining live records released this year not only due to Klaus Dirks’ sportive and characteristic announcements but also an all-around consummate performance by all personell involved.