POWERWOLF - The Sacrament Of Sin
July 21, 2018, 11 months ago
Seventh missal to their congregation, from the religion bedecked Germans. Tongue firmly planted in the cheek, there's all the trapping of Christianity, with none of the piety (just the opposite, in fact, fancying themselves werewolves). Apart from the outfits and liturgical organ, the corpse-painted Powerwolf write infectious power metal anthems, built for their vibrant concert performances. Rather than Ghost (the Teutonic terror's debut predates the initial Ghost 3-song EP by half a decade, although they've yet to set foot in North America) think a sacrilegious Sabaton, constructing similarly catchy, pumped up sing-alongs. First single, "Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend" has elements of the newly Cardinal Copia led Swedes, as well as the forbidden fruit sensuality. Cute double meaning to marching cadence "Killers With The Cross", be it vampire hunters or the hypocrisy of the Crusades. Over time, Romanian born frontman Attila Dorn's command of English, and more importantly, his enunciation (not Annunciation!) has improved greatly. Here, he's prominent in the mix and easy to understand.
While already a fan, especially of the rousing live set, there's more sophistication this time around, less pure gut emotion heavy metal: success and big budgets (15 years into one's career) will do that. Hints of symphonic music and different melodies (Russian ditty for "Nightside of Siberia", Scottish Highland/Irish jig to commence "Incense And Iron", piano laden "Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone" ballad) are more evident within eleven compositions. That said the opening "Fire & Forgive" and closing ""Fist By Fist (Sacralize Or Strike)" are strong bookends, in a lesson on how to make the beginning/end of an album memorable. "Stoßgebet" (German, for a quick, hurried prayer) seems to be Latin verse intermixed with a military stomp.
The speedy title track, with its easy-to-retain titular chorus, should slot nicely next to previous fan approved offerings like "Blessed & Possessed", "Resurrection By Erection" and "Sanctified With Dynamite". Good stuff! In addition to providing a slogan that will surely adorn the back of future t-shirts, "Nighttime Rebel" is a poppy call/response destined to win new converts. Bow down.