Cheesy to some, undeniable fun to others – whatever the case, Powerwolf are a happening band with their cool canine camp opera – Shan Siva joins Matthew Greywolf in barking at the moon!

1.Firstly can I say what an immense pleasure Powerwolf have been to me right from when I first heard “Lupus Dei” to seeing you guys at the Rock Tower Festival in Lubeck last year as you guys rocked that little Triebsand place!!

Thanx, though I remember this show as none of our better ones to be honest! A quite a small stage, we had to drop most of our stage decorations and could hardly move on stage. Well, maybe that makes this show a very basic and in a way intense one then LOL!!

2. Do you feel you have the same thing in common with bands like Lordi and Alestorm who also seem to have a slightly cheesy look but have cool singalong songs and are interested in giving the crowd a good show that worrying about their image?

No, I don’t feel like we have much in common with the mentioned bands. But of course you got a point there with the image thing though we don’t worry about it not because we don’t care about the cheesiness, but because we simply love doing that! A good metal show should be maximum entertainment, we love to deliver that and so we do.

3. The sound of the band seems to be a mixture of heavy metal (specifically Iron Maiden) mixed in with opera and a horror theme so is that how you guys see Powerwolf and was that something that you decided when you formed the band?

I actually don’t really remember what we had in mind when we started, but since we never had drastic changes in our sound and image I guess we unconsciously had exactly this in mind, though we never plan anything. I think the sound is a result of the people involved. Attila’s style of singing brings in that dramatic, operatic element, then there’s this obvious obsession about Iron maiden like songwriting, the church organ, all of this contributes to the sound of Powerwolf, we don’t have to follow any masterplan to achieve this, it just happens.

4. Speaking of when you started, is it true that you formed it in a bar when you met your Romanian vocalist Attila Dorn – how many beers did it take?!

Yeah, we were kind of intoxicated when we agreed to give this idea a try, ha ha don’t remember how many beers it took, but I take this as a hint it must have been quite some LOL. Well, it was just that strange idea that night. We actually felt like founding the band after Attila joined us for a session which was pure magic.

5. Is Powerwolf your first band or have you guys been around the block in other German groups?

We all have been around in other projects for many years, but none of which is in any relation to what we do with Powerwolf.

6. I heard also that Attila is an opera singer or at least classically trained so did he even listen to heavy metal before joining the band?!

The only metal album he knew back then was some Iron Maiden ‘best of’ compilation that made him want to sing in that style one day. In the mean time of course he has discovered a lot, but when we wrote our first album it was quite a strange thing talking about music with Attila since he didn’t know any of the stuff we knew. Which then again is a real gift when writing songs, as he wasn’t even able to think in these typical categories like ‘does this sound metal?’, ‘does this remind too much of any other band?’, as he simply didn’t know ha ha!

7. Where does the obsession with wolves come from? I’m guessing it’s from movies where in Western European culture it is beast of horror to be killed but I would also say having traveled personally to Turkey and Mongolia that the wolf is something different and can be a spiritual creature and also symbolize freedom, national pride and independence?

Absolutely. For me the wolf is the perfect symbol for heavy metal: a wolf is a mystic animal, wild, feared but also admired. A proud and independent creature. And there’s these wolf and werewolf myths in many cultures like u say…

8. There also seems to be an underlying theme of religion (or anti religion?) that goes beyond the bibles, organs, choirs and lyrics so is that true and can you expand on this a little please?

We all read a lot about religious topics. Not because of our image, but because we all have been fascinated by this long before we founded this band. Therefore it is in a way obvious for us to write lyrics on that matter. I would neither call it religious nor anti religious. We don’t judge, we just describe, and whenever it demands it we describe with tongue in cheek.

9. How was your show at Bloodstock? I think it’s the first time Powerwolf has played the UK so was it quite an honor to headline the Sophie Lancaster Stage?

The Bloodstock show was awesome and we never expected that, which makes it one of my personal highlights of the shows we played for “Bible of the beast”. It was our very first show in the UK and all we expected was that it would become hard to get people in front of stage and somehow convince them to stay there. We never expected so many dedicated fans there and such an enthusiastic crowd!

10. What are your future plans for Powerwolf? Whatever your ambitions I hope you will always be the same fun guys that have me so many people happy!

Well, I guess so, that’s who we are and what we do. Even if we’d try to, we couldn’t do anything else I guess about our plans: in ten days we’ll embark on the “Power of metal tour”, together with Sabaton, Grave digger and Skullfist, which is a great line up I think and will become a lot of fun. After that we will probably play more tours but one of our plans is to return to the UK as soon as possible!!!!

Charred Walls Of The Damned – “Cold Winds On Timeless Days”

Charred Walls Of The Damned
“Cold Winds On Timeless Days”
(Metal Blade Records)

These guys are probably my fave band (or mebbe I should say supergroup) right now! From the affable, multi talented Richard Christy to legendary Steve DiGiorgio and famous Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, this melting pot of talent have it all – incredible melodies, brutal riffola, double bass drumming par excellence and epic vocals conspire to carry on in fine style the standard set by their amazing self titled debut! Less well known is Jason Suecof, who plays guitar, produced and even wrote additional music on this second album, but he truly is a dark horse, superbly interpreting the styles of his more prominent peers and giving life to songs like ‘The Beast Outside My Window’ or ‘Admire The Heroes’. What makes CWOTD special is that all its members gel perfectly in style as well as to the material and production – that’s damn near the perfect combo! Add in the conviction and enthusiasm so that when they’re playing ‘Forever Marching On’, it’s clear everyone in this band truly believes in it – what more can you ask for….?

Glyder – “Backroads To Byzantium”

“Backroads To Byzantium”
(SPV / Steamhammer)

A lot has happened to these Irish lads since the release of their last album “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” – despite being well received and on the verge of success, vox / bassist Tony Cullen and drummer Davy Ryan quit the band. Three new members have joined: Jackie Robinson, Graham McClatchie and Des McEvoy and it’s also a heralded a change in the band’s sound, that while still melodic hard rock, is very much more American in style like on ‘Fade To Dust’ than their prior Thin Lizzy influenced approach. Personally I feel it’s a touch for the better, showing a band that have confidently found their sound like on ‘End Of The Line’ that while hard hitting isn’t afraid to show melodic choruses. Whatever future direction Glyder take, as long as their roots are with them they will never stray and it’s none clearer than on the poignant ‘Don’t Make Their Mistakes’ which is about the troubles and of a personal nature given Jackie Robinson lives in Ulster and was therefore unable to practically rehearse when putting this album together. Still, the band used technology and moreover showed their ability to overcome even in the face of adversity – and that’s the true fighting spirit of the Irish!

As You Drown – “Rat King”

As You Drown
“Rat King”
(Metal Blade Records)

On the face of it the town of Boras in Sweden might represent an idyllic one: rich in culture, natural beauty and happy folk. But there are exceptions. As You Drown clearly represent the alternative: heavily tattooed morose lads with plenty of angst in their faces. And “Rat King” sez it all – modern death core is probably how best I’d describe songs like ‘Conqueror’, ‘Rabid Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing’ and ‘Slaves to the Kingdom of Fear’. Although influenced in part by the Swe-deth scene, this lot owe more to the likes of Vader and even US bands, with hoarse, bellowing vocals, whirring, squeaking guitars and relentless double bass drumming – no death n roll here baby – the 9 tracks herein are so belligerent and ugly if they weren’t so well executed in their precision delivery I’d prob have scant regard for them, having seen it all before. Fear the children indeed….

Almah – “Motion”

(AFM Records)

Well, with reference to their biblical name, they ain’t no virgins LOL! Fronted by none other than Angra’s vocalist Edu Falschi, this is the next Brazilian metal monster to be unleashed and what a chundering beast it is too – at times the riffs are on par with Sepultura!! Given the number of high quality musicians that have guested with Edu, I often wondered where he would take this solo project. Now it seems he has been blessed with the right permanent line up in fellow Angra bud Felipe Andreoli (bass), Berkley-graduated guitar wiz Marcelo Barbosa, powerhouse drummer Marcelo Moreira and a master of fast solos and heaviest riffs, Paulo Schroeber, who can play everything from thrash metal to jazz and fusion! It’s a fantastic combination of talent that gives excitement and life in songs like ‘Late Night In ’85’, ‘Zombies Dictator’ and the aptly titled ‘Days Of The New’ although it’s important to bear in mind that those expecting a mere (?) Angra copycat are likely to be in for a pleasant surprise, as Almah offer a whole lot more as gifted by the talent!!

Gary John Barden – “Eleventh Hour”

Gary John Barden
“Eleventh Hour”
(Escape Music)

Legend. Gary Barden was – and still is – the voice of MSG (Michael Schenker Group). I shall never forget him for saving in my opinion their Reading Festival performance in 1982 following Graham Bonnet’s sacking, who in turn had replaced him! Much more than that though, he almost symbolized the definitive voice and persona of British hard rock: a down to earth lad with a rough n ready voice, he was almost one of us in the crowd, not some fuckin pretentious rock god y’know? Over the years he’s done merry go round stints in Statetrooper, Company Of Snakes, Silver (the band he founded with Michael Voss and Bernie Tormé), a solo career and even returning to MSG in 2007! With “Eleventh Hour” he’s returned with long time buddy Voss to give us a respectable hard rock album and considering he’s approaching 60, he doesn’t sound too bad either! Touching the full hard rock spectrum, from the driving guitar melodies of ‘Fallen By The Wayside’ to the ballad pop of ‘Shine A Light On Me’ to the straight up meat n potatoes ‘Don’t Take Me For A Loser’, Gary once again shows his vocal versatility to deliver fine performances. However, none of the material is anywhere near the level of the classics he did with MSG and whilst I appreciate that times move on, I honestly feel that is where he has always done well and if anything, the “Eleventh Hour” proves that he still has the ability to maintain that legacy as that band’s classic vocalist.

3 – “The Ghost You Gave to Me”

“The Ghost You Gave to Me”
(Metal Blade Records)

It seems almost fitting that 3 were formed in Woodstock back in the 90s. In so many ways they encompass the hippy offshoots of rock from prog to psychedelia to power pop to modern alternative rock – hell, I’m sure I also heard some Spanish guitar chucked in there somewhere too LOL! However, in all cases their material is superbly written, structured and executed. And its effective is quite mesmerizing: uplifting thru its Jellyfish like harmonies like on ‘React’, yet punchy like early Rush bass n synth rhythms on ‘It’s Alive’ and thumping power rock of ‘Numbers’ – no featherlight touch coming from heavyweight drummer Gartdrumm (yep, thas his name folks)! I guess if I were to sum up 3, it would be their incredible array of styles and sounds that can be found in the 12 tracks making up “The Ghost You Gave to Me”, although there is a natural dynamic inherent in each of them, leaving an uncontrived yet memorable impression every time.