Powerwolf – “Call Of The Wild” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Power metal’s best-known werewolves are back! From their usual tongue-in-cheek heresy to their inexplicably catchy music, Powerwolf have ascended the metal mountain to release 2 gold albums and a platinum single in ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’. Now onto their 8th release in “Call Of The Wild”, the time has come to stretch their wings are little further and on this 11-track album, they show some diversity – although nothing veering too far away from their trademark style – while still keeping it all within the central concept of lycanthropy. From the somewhat commercial hard rock of ‘Dancing With The Dead’ along the lines of Lordi to a power ballad in ‘Alive Or Undead’ with its moving piano and church organs lending their grace to Attila Dorn’s superb soaring vocals, Powerwolf prove they are no longer just masters of salacious rhyming cheese as in ‘Undress To Confess’, but capable of more, much more in fact. Indeed, on ‘Blood For Blood (Faoladh)’, which tells of an Irish moon worshipping shapeshifter, they add in a Celtic touch to give the song a folky knees up complete with a catchy singalong chorus – well, in Powerwolf’s case it’s always catchy ha ha! Elsewhere, Falk Maria Schlegel’s massive organs and Teutonic choral bombast in the overflowing heresy of ‘Glaubenskraft’ show that the band haven’t forgotten their lyrical roots while the fiery opener ‘Faster Than The Flame’ follows in the tradition of ‘Amen & Attack’ and ‘Fire & Forgive’ with rhyming ultra-catchy melodies, wailing solos from the Greywolf brothers, double bass drumming and of course, Dorn’s soprano wails. Adding a dance punch into their symphony, ‘Beast Of Gévaudan’ races back to 18th century France as werewolf fear and terror are brought to life through soaring keyboards, screaming guitars and gothic choirs on what must be the album’s heaviest number while the emotional uplift on ‘Sermon Of Swords’ is unbelievable as every voice and instrument is pushed to breaking point – just as you’d witness at a Powerwolf gig. So, something for old fans and new on “Call Of The Wild”, although little need to be choosy given all the songs rock with the unmistakable catchiness that’s made this band deservedly so famous!