Since 2003 Powerwolf has been cranking out album after album of epic, gothic, bombastic, and catchy as hell power metal with tongues planted firmly in cheek with satirical lyrics about religion, werewolves, and other dark themes. The German bands sixth offering Blessed & Possessed stays true to this formula, after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The band has amassed a huge following in Europe with their trademark corpse paint, huge riffs, church organs, and massive anthemic choruses, the band has yet to test the waters in the U.S. markets, choosing instead to play it safe by building upon their success overseas playing to massive crowds both at their own shows and at metal festivals like Wacken Open Air.
Led by Charles and Matthew Greywolf, classically trained vocalist Attila Dorn, organ player Falk Maria Schlegel, and drummer Roel van Helden, the band launches into the title track with a majestic orchestral intro vocal from Dorn complete with chanting in latin praising “Halleluiahs”, power chords, and church organs and kicks into a fast and furious power metal anthem. The pace quickens on Dead Until Dark with thunderous double bass drums and razor sharp riffs and chugging rhythms, and Attila’s charismatic and powerful vocal melodies.
The Wolves keep the anthems rolling with Army of the Night, another speedy power metal staple in the tradition of other Powerwolf songs like We Drink Your Blood (from 2011’s Blood of the Saints) or Coleus Sanctus (from Preachers of the Night).
The mid-tempo guitar harmonies of Armata Strigoi combined with the haunting organ melodies and Attila’s aggressive vocal attack are reminiscent of a German version of Sabaton. In fact if I were to describe the overall Powerwolf sound I would say it is a combination of Sabaton and a dash of fellow power metallers Dream Evil.
The fist-pumping We Are The Wild, the speed metal of Higher Than Heaven and Christ and Combat are all songs that are tailor-made for a live setting. There are elements of classic Helloween embedded within the harmony guitar passages that pay homage to their German metal forefathers.
Sanctus Dominus is another song filled with religious imagery and sung in Latin, not one of the albums stronger songs, but you’ll still be singing along each time Attila bellows “Halleluiah”! (Seriously, there are enough Halleluiahs on this album to make you think you’re at Midnight Mass!)
The band pays homage to another of their heavy metal forefathers; the mighty Iron Maiden on the Hallowed Be Thy Name inspired Sacramental Sister with it’s galloping rhythms and instrumental passages.
The album comes to a close with another heavy metal rocker All You Can Bleed and the albums longest and most gothic sounding track Let There Be Night, a dark, haunting song that is filled with atmospheric dark imagery that builds slowly until a final crescendo of powerful chanting vocals and church organs ringing out to end the album.
For those who are familiar with Powerwolf’s brand of metal, no new territory is explored here, but if you’re a fan, you already know what to expect and in that regard you will not be disappointed! Powerwolf is not a band that is going to change the world of metal, but they are entertaining, write ridiculously catchy power metal songs, and incite furious headbanging with each and every album that they release. The Wolves have so far resisted all attempts to bring their Metal Mass Celebration to the U.S. but is only a matter of time before they seek to conquer North America through Christ and Combat!