Iron Maiden were the first band I can remember making a big deal of reaching a decade with their The First Ten Years (EMI) boxset. Back in 1990 it was a big deal because Heavy Metal as we know and love it hadn’t been around long enough for multiple bands to reach such a landmark. Next up was Judas Priest’s Metalworks (Columbia) compilation in 1993, a 20 year retrospective.
Both of those bands are prevalent when discussing Powerwolf’s own ten year anniversary, being, along with The Misfits, chief amongst their influences. And to be fair, a deluxe double-CD with bonus tracks and live DVD box set, with 112 page hardback book all in a canvas bag (all for the incredible price of $30) is as good a way as any to celebrate such a key milestone in a career.
Comprising of their first two albums, Return In Bloodred and landmark release Lupus Dei, backed up with a smattering of live tracks from the time, along with a bonus DVD featuring their triumphant Wacken performance of 2008, The History Of Heresy I (2004 – 2008) (Metal Blade) is a great opportunity to pick up the earlier works of a band who seem to have blossomed in terms of output and popularity in the last few years.
Of the two albums on display, the development of the band is clear to see, from the more naïve and awkward, though still promising, debut to the confident and distinctive sophomore Lupus Dei. While …Bloodred may be a little uncertain and inconsistent in places, the core elements are in place, and in ‘Kiss Of The Cobra King’ possesses a genuine classic anthem.
There is a clear step up in class, consistency, swagger and delivery on Lupus Dei, though, with tracks like ‘Saturday Satan’, ‘Prayer In The Dark’ and the speed-camp Priest worship of ‘Behind The Leathermask’ possessing the tongue-in-cheek sing-a-long rocking Power Metal qualities Powerwolf have since refined to an art-form. The live tracks show Powerwolf in a good light, too, sounding tight and energetic and a nice little bonus set.
Considering what you get for the price, and bearing in mind the quality on Lupus Dei alone, it’s a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the fucking century and a great way to backfill and complete your Powerwolf collection.