These are good days for metal fans with a catholic edge. Sweden’s Ghost have just revealed their “new singer” Papa Emeritus III for their next album and German power metal band Powerwolf released their sixth full album ‘Blessed And Possessed’. So get prepared for some fast yet melodic riffing with operatic vocals and lots of Latin chants.
In promoting an upcoming album, the Germans don’t need any lessons. The last months, they released a four-part making of-story and meanwhile they even found the time to record and release some covers that can also be found on the bonus cd ‘Metallum Nostrum’. But let’s get the focus on the main album now. Starting off with the title track. The first thing that’s immediately noticeable, is that Powerwolf still sounds pretty much exactly how they used to. Energetic guitar riffing and drumming, lots of organ sounds supporting the overal bombast and Attila Dorn’s operatic voice blowing all the rest away. Too many voids being filled with a simple “hallellujah”. Great dual guitar solo by the Greywolf brothers though.
The already released single Army Of The Night thrives on a pumping groove, at a certain point interrupted by some violins for creating a resting point. The song that probably comes closest to the more entertaining live songs such as Amen & Attack or Werewolves Of Armenia would be Armata Strigoi (which is Romanian for “Army Of The Undead”, thank you google translante!) with some shout-along pieces. The more hard rocky sounding We Are The Wild would probably do pretty well live as well. It has a little less of that latin-church-song-feel and that makes it somewhat easier to digest. At least it gives us somewhat of a break from that fast, powerful organ-driven sound.
With the following Higher Than Heaven, that ball immediately starts rolling again. If a couple of songs later you might start wondering where all the latin chants went, don’t worry, Sanctus Dominus is coming with lots of new hallellujahs for you to enjoy. personally, I’d rather have Attila sing in plain English, the hallellujahs sometimes feel like overkill to me.
To close the album with a blast, there’s still Let There Be Night, with the seven and a half minute stretch coming in sight, lasting almost twice as long as the average other song on the album. Although it needs to be mentioned that the actual song lasts about five minutes before being terminated pretty abruptly, leaving the other two and a half minutes a rain-and-background-noise-fade out. Feels like a shame to me, because I definitely sense lots of possibilities for it to be a great long epic. Speedwise, it’s also a lot slower.
So, do I like the new Powerwolf album? I absolutely do, although it can hardly still be called innovative. They do pretty much still sound the same as ten years ago, although I think there might be some more guitar soloing here. And those solos never feel stale or unnecessary. Songs like Sacramental Sister, All You Can Bleed or the title track get somewhat elevated by the melodic and high speed Greywolf soloing. So at Alcatraz in a couple of weeks and at Trix on november first -what better day than all saints to go see Powerwolf-, you’ll know what to expect when they announce a new song, although otherwise you probably wouldn’t even notice.