Who’s up for a wolfnado? Hit play, go on I dare you. The wolf-pack’s back and as luck would have it, I freed up just in time to safely pry Preachers of the Night from Mr. Druhm’s steely, far too cynical grip! For those of you that don’t already know and love Powerwolf‘s brand of heavy power metal, they go for your throat with canines bared. Locking on with the speed and catchiness of HammerFall (Glory to the Brave era), with uncomplicated melodies, simple riffing and hugely delivered, shout-along choruses similar to those of Sabaton all the while capturing some of the atmosphere of King Diamond. For this their 5th full-length release, the wolves and the eagle unite, with Powerwolf moving away from Metal Blade to join the ranks of Napalm Records.
I first fell under front-man Attila’s charm in 2011 with the release of Blood of the Saints. The album spoke of werewolves and vampires straight from Romanian folklore and the ironically told tales of dark religion and corpse paint, fascinated me to the point where I had to seek out every single Powerwolf release. Needless to say when I heard rumors of Preachers of the Night being brought to life, my excitement reached the point of un-freaking-containable! The last eight years have seen some changes in Powerwolf‘s instrumental style. Return in Bloodred brimmed with stripped-down metal that overpowered you with Sabbath darkness, Death SS theatrics and tasty Mercyful Fate inspired riffs; Bible of the Beast went huge with fist pumping anthems choc-full of orchestrations and Blood of the Saints pulled back on the orchestrations achieving more of a balance between symphonics and heavy metal. Preachers of the Night continues on from where Blood of the Saints left off, but with more whirlwind “Amen & Attack“.
Although Powerwolf are by large a German band, they don’t sound like your run of the mill German power metal. This is mostly because of the huge vocal power of Attila Dorn. He has an impassioned, dramatic, theatrical approach that comes from his background singing and acting in the Romanian opera [i.e. he’s a big canned ham coated with cheese — Steel “Overly-Cynical” Druhm]. His forceful vocal style (reminding me at times of Sabaton‘s Joakim Brodén) gets your blood pumping and your head banging on tracks like “Secrets of the Sacristy”, “Coleus Sanctus”, “Nochnoi Dozor” and “Lust for Blood”. The lyrics on Preachers of the Night follow the same formula as Blood of the Saints, spiked with puns and cheese, they’re uncomplicated with repetitive choruses that are easy as pie to remember – go on, shout along at the top of your lungs, you know you want to!
Instrumentally these tracks play out more like an opera made for the stage. Falk Maria Schlegel takes you on a vivid, horror tinted, atmospheric journey with his keyboard contributions. They’re far less the focus here than on previous Powerwolf offerings, but still add that touch of 70s era church organ to Powerwolf‘s sound.
The Greywolf brothers have packed the album with fun, sweeping, flashy guitar riffs that gallop along. They’re not particularly original or complicated, sometimes they even feel re-used, but they’re upbeat, precise and well played. Check out the fur flying in tracks like “Amen & Attack”, “Coleus Sanctus”, “Nochnoi Dozor” and “Cardinal Sin”. The brothers fiery guitar work is only somewhat rivalled by the flamboyant attack of Roel van Helden’s brazenly heavy-handed drumming on tracks like “Extatum Et Oratum” and “Lust for Blood”. Best you prepare to have your hearing mauled by these wolves!
If you’re looking for a more stripped-down Powerwolf album that’s brimming with interesting, blood-drenched, dark riffs then hunt up Return in Bloodred (“The Evil Made Me Do It” and “Black Mass Hysteria”). With Blood of the Saints and now Preachers of the Night, Powerwolf have become more consistent in their sound and all that really differentiates the two albums is the hyped up speed on Preachers of the Night. It’s a welcome display of dark merriment that will satisfy die-hard fans like myself looking for a continuation of the grand Powerwolf adventure [Avoid if you have pork or dairy allergies — Steel Druhm].