Hobbit - Two Feet Tall
Not content to merely sign high-quality power metal acts, Nightmare Records (www.nightmare-records.com) have dug up an old Texas legend, Hobbit's early '80s canon having literally been vaulted up until now. These tracks hail from '79 to '83 and run the gamut from '70s-style prog to early '80s-style pomp circa mid-years Saga and perhaps Triumph and the keyboard grind of hook-sweet Gillan. Other pop metalists like Styx, Journey and Toto (that evil triumvirate), come to mind but the cool and non-commercial fantasy keyboards make sure these guys would remain a moderate regional touring draw at most. Still, it's giddy snickery fun hearing all these poncy prancy pixies wave their wands at another more sincere and polite world where those two feet tall and under can exist in harmony. Conclusion: a rarified look at one of the very few progressive hard rock bands in existence that had it together, never got a deal, yet fortunate for us, put their material to tape.
Mob Rules - Temple Of Two Suns
Back quickly with part two of the band's future world saga, Mob Rules get right down to work making their presence felt, offering a stunning array of styles within a power metal framework, once again oddly more gothic-drenched than most of the band's competitors, more Yngwie and Dio than poncy speed. Fave of the bunch is the regal and driving Unknown Man, many vocal hues, while Hold On is a convincing piano ballad with rich co-vocal work from Klaus Dirks and guest songbird Susanne Mohle (Heavens Gate, Hyper Child). All in all, Mob Rules have created an album that is a mite more polished and keyboardy than the chomping debut, but the band's river deep, mountain high song skills keep the proceedings fanatically metallic and chest-thumping, even when those huge harmonies are cutting through like butta. I'm not sure you could ask for more from an album in this genre, as it seems each track is a little firestorm of intense thought and construction, especially in the second half.
Hard Reviews Page 4