No doubt about it, this Saarbrücken based German Power Metal quintet (who can boast the feat of still having the same line-up as when they started out in 2003) has all the elements which will please the average (and still largest part) of the (mindless) masses into that kind of music: catchy melodies with singalong choruses, bombasticism in the form of an infusion of Classical elements, and lyrical topics (werewolves, vampires, and anti-religious themes – though the latter are meant to be ironical) which at the same time make the listener openly smile and secretly shiver. In fact, after a couple of years of making a name for themselves, the band made good in the German charts, rising to the #23 position and staying in the charts for 3 weeks. So, why do the reviewers at Concrete Web not share such a viewpoint?
I myself gave the band's 2005 debut album Return In Bloodred and the sophomore 2007 Lupus Dei a relatively good yet still luke-warm reception (reviews posted 28/04 and 03/05 of their release years respectively), and Death Metal specialist Ivan gave the third album Blood Of the Beast a definitively cold yet fair review (posted 20/07/2009). Finally, newer colleague Tim (whom is supposed to be into that type of music) gave the band's fourth album Blood Of the Saints a somewhat more enthused, yet not quite ecstatic, review and rating (posted 22/09/2011).
Since then, Powerwolf finished its contract with Metal Blade (German division) with the live album Alive In The Night, released with the April 2012 issue of the German edition of the Metal Hammer magazine...and not reviewed by this here website! Prior to that, the band self-released a 4-way split EP (sporting the previously released Powerwolf track “Living On A Nightmare”) with tour partners Mystic Prophecy, Stormwarrior and Lonewolf, which they originally made available only for ticket purchasers to the band's Wolfsnaechte Tour, but after the tour the band made the EP available from its webstore.
The band then signed to Napalm Records, and started work on its 5th album, precursors for which were already released during June 2013, in the form of the EP The Rockhard Sacrament (a 6-track EP sporting the new album's opening track “Amen & Attack” in regular and orchestral version, as well as the album version of “In The Name Of God”, plus – the guys must really lóve that song - “Living On A Nightmare”, and covers of Black Sabbath's “Headless Cross” and Judas Priest's “Nightcrawler”), and the single Amen & Attack (b-side again “Living On A Nightmare”).
So, what are the “special” features of the new Powerwolf album? There's the use of Latin in a couple of songs (“Coleus Sanctus”, “Kreuzfeuer”, “Extatum Et Oratum”), of Rumanian (? - mùst be, seen the lead singer's classical training at Bucharest's music academy; in the songs “Nochnoi Dozor” and “Last Of The Living Dead”), and eventually there's also a song for which the basic language is German (“Kreuzfeuer” also sporting some Latin, remember!?). For the rest, we've heard it all before (colleague Ivan most certainly made a just synopsis by stating that Powerwolf brings “...a symbiosis of Hammerfall, Dream Evil or Firewind, mixed with elements from Manowar, Sacred Steel or Sabaton...”)...but cannot stop ourselves from being occasionally impressed.