Powerwolf - Blessed & Possessed - (9/10)
Published on June 30, 2015
In nomine patris…
Powerwolf are, well, Powerwolf. Having found their formula a couple of albums ago, their sixth effort Blessed and Possessed technically follows down the same road and to some their image with the ghostlike makeup, religion-laced lyrics and pseudonyms may seem overblown, but despite the corniness of their lyrics and relative predictability of their music, Powerwolf’s formula simply works and it works well.
Having long eclipsed the success of the Greywolf “brothers”’ original band Flowing Tears, Powerwolf’s brand of epic, bombastic, yet still heavy power metal works hand in hand with said image and say what you may, these Germans just have a knack of finding the right balance between catchy melodies, the right amount of grit and heaviness, an unholy atmosphere and Attila Dorn’s trademark voice with just enough divergence from the standard vocal melodies and lines to set them apart and give them this distinct Powerwolf touch.
And without giving the listener much time to get settled in, the title track blasts out of the speakers and will do to Blessed and Possessed what “Amen and Attack” had done to Preachers of the Night, and either reel in or repel the expecting metalhead, with dynamics and energy it leads into an epic/atmospheric bridge to culminate in a very catchy chorus that you will be able to at least hum along after the first listen. And with that they kick loose a whole string of highly catchy, but never shallow songs, be it speedy “Dead Until Dark” (maybe the best track of the bunch), compact “Army of the Night”, stomping “Armata Strigoi” (Romanian for “Undead Army”) and they kind of continue the pattern of fast, mid-paced and varying degrees of dark atmosphere throughout the remainder of the album, with only rockier “Sacramental Sister” falling off a bit, the rest, though, shows high quality throughout.
As formulaic as the above now may sound, it is what it is, high class power metal that is original (as in instantly verifiable as Powerwolf) and just has the right qualities in the right areas to stand out from the rest of the power metal pack. And as mentioned above, as corny as the lyrics and image are, if combined with the music and the atmosphere, everything just makes sense and makes the German band one of today’s top addresses in the genre. And while corny, they still avoid a lot of the standard cliches that many people hold against power metal bands, since they are neither happy, nor regurgitating melodies heard a million times.
What is power metal supposed to be? Powerful? Check. Melodic? Check. Epic? Check. Heavy? Check. Original? Check. While not fully reaching Preachers of the Night, Blessed and Possessed still is a genre highlight of the year!