Blessed & Possessed (Napalm) the sixth studio album by German band Powerwolf opens with a majestically bombastic title-track that is everything you could hope for in a Powerwolfalbum as the choral vocals just add that extra classical touch to the power metal onslaught. And yes, the melodies are super catchy, like the genre requires. But Powerwolf is not all symphonic bombast; ‘Army of the Night’ really sounds like Sabaton’s combat style, reminding of ‘Ghost Division’, but with far better vocals than Joakim Brodén was then capable of. It is effective in raising both spirits and your heartrate!
On ‘Armata Strigoi’ the riffs are incredibly tight, the melodies have just enough cheese to make this incredibly enjoyable to listen to, and the guitar solo is effective and varied. ‘We are the Wild’ is a Power Metal anthem, as the chorus is perfectly suited to chanting along from the audience. It also features a really nice orchestral break before the solo.
‘Higher than Heaven’ is an up-tempo and highly energetic piece – I couldn’t help but grin madly during this song as the contrast between the fast-paced singing, smooth vocal melody, and pacey music is just immensely pleasing – the slower break does not lose any of the power, but gathers it for the final chorus.
The vocal talents of Attila Dorn are well showcased, in the more battle-oriented songs they sound like a cross between Joakim Brodén and Hansi Kursch, in others, like ‘Let There Be Night’, his voice takes on a very classical quality, with great clarity and vibrato. However, the best parts are the combination of rough and classical, which lends great power to the music and the lyrics.
In case you hadn’t realised yet from the other songs, ‘Christ & Combat’ should make it abundantly clear what the theme of the album is: religion and war, and the lyrics seem to describe some sort of Christian Valhalla. It also has features some excellent bass lines.
While I really love ‘Sanctus Dominus’ for its choral bombast with Latin lyrics and the customary clipped pronunciation, by the time I get to ‘Sacramental Sister’ the religious themes become tiresome with an entire album on the subject hard to swallow
However, the music is fun, the sound is good, and I heartily recommend it to people who love cheesy power metal and have no aversion to the glorification of holy wars and religiousness.