Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin (Napalm Records)Sunday, 22nd July 2018
Excelling at striking imagery in a tightly packaged power metal style, Powerwolf have ascended to one of the top draws in Europe these days – beyond chart topping activity through their last effort Blessed & Possessed. Choosing to switch things up a bit in terms of producer (Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios versus their long history with Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman) helps this seventh studio platter The Sacrament of Sin become more of an enhanced expansion into the diversity Powerwolf can deliver. You can expect eleven anthems of varying tempos and atmosphere – all aligning to the call to arms spirit of heavy metal that Powerwolf embrace, as bombastic and OTT as hoped for from the quintet.
There are the speedier, heavier numbers with churning double bass and harmony accents such as opener “Fire & Forgive”, the steady crunchy affairs that feel like you are attending a mega-service based on the bigger choir elements for “Nightside of Siberia”, or the natural commanding classic chorus-oriented arrangements where the music and words become melodic companions to arise the masses during “Venom of Venus”. Where the band choose to take a left-field curve ball for the first time in their career – recording a ballad with “Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone”, using Falk’s keyboard/organ orchestration and tender piano skills to set this haunting body as Attila Dorn’s lower to upper semi-operatic delivery works like a charm. 15 years together as a band, Powerwolf understand the need to keep the hooks strong and sing-a-long factor top of mind – and there are plenty of numbers this time around that fit the bill like “Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend” as well as the folkish-tinged “Incense & Iron” (proper bagpipes an additional dynamic to the latter).
The Sacrament of Sin keeps Powerwolf at the top of the power metal brigade – delivering what the converts desire, and taking them along a ride that’s entertaining continuously. Suspend reality, consume yourself in the horror-filled darkness of werewolves and religious lyrical themes with irony and humorous wordplay and it will be easy to understand why they’re not ready to relinquish their throne held high.