Back in 2007 I bought Powerwolf’s second album called “Lupus Dei” an unremarkable heavy cum power metal album that I listened to and largely ignored. Fast forward to 2013 and I decided to give them another try with “Preachers Of The Night” and couldn’t believe it was the same band and had me hooked immediately with its overt catchiness and flamboyant vocals courtesy of the inimitable Attila Dorn, a formidable vocalist with a vast range. Having shelled out for the vinyl of “Preachers” I went back through their discography to learn that there were three albums I had not heard with one predating my 2007 offering. Buying the two volumes of “The History Of Heresy” was a masterstroke as each contained two studio releases plus an EP in the second volume complete with full lyrics and pages and pages of explanation surrounding the albums in thick booklets that cost about £20 for each volume; definitely worth buying. The gradual change from heavy metal to full blown power metal can be discerned with ease as wolfish hordes of fans can get their mitts on the bands sixth album of pure untainted rousing power metal. With various versions being available to buy most labels are keen to part you of your cash offering limited editions, various vinyl colours though not as crazy as Nuclear Blast seem to do these days. The limited editions of this album will have a bonus CD called “Metallium Nostrum” which will feature ten cover songs of various familiar artists no doubt.
As ever the choral vocal style of Attila is massive his tone is rich, opulent and saturated in supremacy as the album opens with the title track. The pace has that ostentatious power metal bounce where the bass drums gallop like wild stallions especially during the rampantly addictive choruses which are terrifically memorable. Like Sweden’s Sabaton this German band knows exactly how to exercise the vocal chords of its listeners as the opener has some Stratovarius like harmonic vocal deliveries though this is much heavier. “Dead Until Dark” bestows vampiric calls to sonic bloodlust as the music hurtles along with the regal vocals yielding for a band chorus chant of the title. With an emphasis on writing ear friendly anthems Powerwolf are beastly masters of their art as the catchiness continues with “Army Of The Night” which is very like Sabaton for its stirring vocal line and thumping snare beat. Personal favourite is “Armata Strigoi” which possesses a neo-classical like guitar riff and harmony before switching guises for a more heavy metal like stance.
Every tune on this release is certifiably single material, except the closer, and especially “We Are The Wild” a song almost guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and sing-along; damn hope so as I’m seeing them at Wacken this year. The short duration of the tracks means the album flashes by as chorus after chorus is bellowed out. Slowing things down is “Sacramental Sister”, a bold fist to the air tune with Attila crooning his lustful heart out. The song is longer and whilst not ballad like it possesses a heart warming aura that enables this pack to show a benevolent side. Listening to this release a few times I can hear acts like Running Wild coursing through their lupine veins as on “All You Can Bleed” which like “Sacramental Sister” has a more purposeful ethos but is faster as the drum fills act more or less like a starting gun. Closing this incredibly addictive album is the epic “Let There Be Night” which begins with howls and effects, a church like keyboard and a stomping pace as the vocals are truly fantastic by Attila here, his emotional tone leaves you breathless as the tune takes on an old school heavy metal structure with the song gaining momentum, adding textural layers to it via the drums and guitar hooks and make the song a standout and I hope they add it to their live set. Segmenting the song with some symphonic like arrangements enables it to exhibit self assured power as the tune reaches its meridian before fading off to leave thunder noise, rain and church bells.
A release that will be hard to top by any of the genres major players of straight power metal this release is addictive and completely entertaining from start to finish.
(9/10 Martin Harris)