Album review: POWERWOLF – Preachers Of The Night

Napalm Records – Out Now.

Fans of Heavy Metal have understood the importance of and pledged their allegiance towards the mighty riff since guitar wizard Tony Iommi first began to perfect his power chords back in the late 60s. But even he, the man who is responsible by many for single-handedly bringing our beloved musical genre to life, understood the importance of image in the overall game.

Many decades and zillions of bands later, through an array of impressive albums, Power/Heavy Metal combo Powerwolf have managed to stand out from the crowd and have made a career for themselves by doing this very same thing – combining catchy riffs and powerful falsetto-style vocals with a unique atmospheric/gothic, wolf-infused image.

Having fulfilled their contractual obligations towards Brian Slagel’s Metal Blade records, the predominantly German quintet has become part of the impressive and ever-increasing roster of the Austrian label Napalm Records through which they are set to release their fifth studio album, “Preachers Of The Night”.

In many ways, and perhaps quite understandably, Powerwolf have decided to start this new collaboration by releasing an album that plays to the band’s strengths, rather than seeking to push musical boundaries, but this is no bad thing in this case. Though slightly less flamboyant and consistent when compared with albums like “Lupus Dei” (2007) & “Bible Of The Beast” (2009), this brand new eleven track album features enough catchy riffs and pompous sing-along choruses to keep your interest and support towards this band fairly intact.

The album shows its true colours quite early on, as the opening track “Amen & Attack” features tons of organ-infused atmospheric passages and dynamic sing along melodies – all powered by Attila’s commanding falsetto-style vocals. Without taking anything away from the remaining members of the band, it is really Attila’s contribution that provides this album with much flair and high energy, elevating, in the process, songs like “Coleus Sanctus” & “Cardinal Sin” to the status of newly-born classics.

Even when the band seems to be going through the motions, like in the Helloween-influenced “Secrets Of The Sacristy” or the simple-riffed “In The Name Of God (Deus Vult)”, you are still guaranteed to find a short vocal theme or an atmospheric organ-led part that is hugely catchy and this is something that not many similar albums can boast of.

With an average length of four minutes, these eleven compositions are memorable, direct and audience-friendly – the kind of songs that the band’s loyal fans will have no problem whatsoever singing along to during the upcoming tour.

An impressive studio album is the kind of ‘weapon’ that every band wishes to possess at the beginning of a new business collaboration. Though not the strongest addition to the band’s musical arsenal, I am sure that the executive managers of Napalm Records see “Preachers of the Night” as evidence that they made the right decision when offering a contract to this unique band.

With much of their strength to be found in their live performances, Powerwolf are set to hit the road this autumn in support of their latest offering – all you have to do is to get your tickets in time as this, I am sure, will once again be a spectacle not to be missed.

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

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