Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Powerwolf deliver a metal mass worthy of praise

GERMAN power metal band, Powerwolf have been together since 2003 and so 13 years later they deliver their second live album ‘The Metal Mass’. So is it a worthy offering for power metallers?

After listening to this whopping 16-track monster you will have no doubt this passionate offering from Powerwolf will more than sate the power metal gods thirst for anthemic melodies and theatrical presence in a world of darkness.

The first song ‘Blessed and Possessed’ powers you into the album like a modern homily to Carl Orff. It sets the gothic atmosphere for the whole experience and is wonderfully bursting at the fangs with 18th Century decadence. ‘Coleus Sanctus’ blasts into your face with an almost Gregorian outpouring within this deeply melodic song.

And with a baroque force of will to summon the forces to fight the vampire overlords the werewolves call their brothers to prayer before battle with the iconic ‘Amen and Attack’. Powerwolf turn their attention to ‘Cardinal Sin’ as they speed through the song at pounding pace with again such an anthemic vigour its really difficult to resist the pack and sing along.

Then comes the ‘Army of the Night’ painting a dark and shadowy picture where massed ranks of armoured and sword laden hairy hordes scuttle through the deep shadows drawn towards battle with their undeniable bloodlust. This will get your blood pumping. This leads into ‘Resurrection by erection’ a solid no nonsense rhythmic piece of organ laden rock. It’s another one that it’s really difficult not to want to sing back the chorus on.

The vampires finally land with ‘Armata Strigoi’, a piece that screams how Phantom of the Opera would sound if it accepted metal as the real music of gothic horror. This powered up melodic song just grabs your heart and squeezes it till it can’t pump anymore. It has an almost Freddie Mercury feel as Attila encourages the audience to sing along and really get into it. He doesn’t need to encourage them much.

Yet again we go fast and heavy one with ‘Dead Boys Don’t cry’ that leaves it easy, once more, for the audience to join along with the chorus with gleeful abandon. Next is ‘Let There Be Night’ a heavy operatic laden tight song that blasts its exhortations out with a military backbeat. Utterly superb, perfectly conjuring a beknighted wolfen warrior taking down his vampiric foes with every sweep of his zweihander. Pure artistry.

The theme takes an overtly hairy and snarly teethed turn as Attila begins singing the refrains of ‘Werewolves of Armenia’ a heavy headbanging melodically doom driven piece of perfection - pure theatre of the best metal kind along with its wonderfully eastern European feel.

This flows on into ‘In the Name of God’ which is just another perfect meld of opera and power metal. Attlia’s voice is mesmeric and powerful pushed on by the Greywolf guitars, the rolling beats of Roel van Helden and the ethereal keyboards of Falk Maria Schlegel. This is a battle hymn that delivers above and beyond.

All this power metal worship would give anyone a thirst, especially if you happen to be werewolf or undead, so ‘We Drink Your Blood’ hits the perfect spot. Powerwolf just keep on giving on this live album.

The werewolf connection continues with ‘Lupus Dei’ a very worship laden song that just echoes with the congregation singing along as they are led by Cardinal Attila in this homage to the big hairy beasts of legend as it pounds along to the end. The next song blasts out through the amps as we get ‘Sanctified by Dynamite’ a fantastic tough and weighty tune.

The penultimate song on this journey through a dark world of gothic horror is ‘Kreuizfeuer’ that just crescendos with heavy doom laden power, almost perfectly placed in the song list as it portends to the coming of the end.

Last but not least we hear from Powerwolf ‘All We Need is Blood’ a homily to the whole album and a fitting end to the experience. Harder, faster, heavier, powerful. A pumpingly good song that leads you right to the end of the album.

This live album will rip your throat out and drain every bit of blood you have and you will love every moment. The one reason metallers normally want to learn German is Rammstein. Contained in this album is now another reason to learn German, the friendly banter between performers and attendees.

Powerwolf are Baroque n’ Roll par excellence and this live album is an absolute must, if even you only want to dabble in power metal. If you have ever played in the World of Darkness by White Wolf, love werewolf or vampire movies, or enjoy gothicly infused music, this is for you.

Do not miss this album. You will regret it if you do.

“The Metal Mass Live” is not only a live album but you can also watch how Powerwolf have earned their reputation as one of the best, most captivating live bands ever on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Review by Ivor Whitten

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