Powerwolf - The Sacrament Of Sin review


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Band: Powerwolf
Album: The Sacrament Of Sin
Release date: July 2018

01. Fire & Forgive
02. Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend
03. Killers With The Cross
04. Incense And Iron
05. Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone
06. Stossgebet
07. Nightside Of Siberia
08. The Sacrament Of Sin
09. Venom Of Venus
10. Nighttime Rebel
11. Fist By Fist (Sacralize Or Strike)
12. Midnight Madonna [bonus version]

Powerwolf's lupo-hagio-crypto-satano-sacro-groovy power metal of the night has carved a fun niche for the band. The "German Catholic werewolves thing," as a friend of mine describes it, has a pleasingly dramatic flair, with all its organ-scored singalongs and Attila Dorn's stunning, operatic charisma. That wasn't enough to stop Powerwolf from dipping into realms below their potential on recent releases, but The Sacrament Of Sin pulls them back to a level more befitting their talents.

Powerwolf's songwriting has at last recovered the strength of Bible Of The Beast; The Sacrament Of Sin takes a great leap forward from Blessed And Possessed and Preachers Of The Night, which diluted the formula nearly into the prosaic. To be specific, I think it was around the second half of Blood Of The Saints that Powerwolf sloughed off some of its momentum; even here, the weaker material, including, in a puzzling twist, the single and the title track, reflects an unwillingness to search beyond the nearest and stalest hooks at hand (it seems the band was playing a game of "fire & forgive" with their writing in at least one other way). More often than not, however, The Sacrament Of Sin finds Powerwolf rediscovering their ghoulish spirit, stretching out to try some new flavors; if only brief and cosmetic, a few dashes of new sounds give the improved writing a little extra boost off the ground.

I'd always thought of Powerwolf as being Sabaton with a Ghostly twist, and "Killers With The Cross," "Incense And Iron," and "Nighttime Rebel" cement this opinion as fact. The blueprint-faithful, keyboard-laden, anthem-style heavy/power and at least tangentially historical aesthetic have few more direct analogues - but the comparison stems not purely from aural impressions. Powerwolf mirrors its Swedish contemporaries in creative aims as well. These songs are not going to appease any listeners who roll their eyes at Powerwolf's Nocturnal Papist Eurovision Metal and refuse to bow before the catchy hooks of "Moscow After Dark" and "Sanctified With Dynamite," but "Stossgebet," "Killers With The Cross," and "Fire & Forgive" are the next round of rarefied lupine hymns that staunch fans have likely been waiting to hear for a few years. As an introduction to Powerwolf, new listeners could ask for little better, and for returning fans, this is a stronger and hookier Powerwolf than we've heard in a few albums.

If the last ten years are anything on which to base a wager, I'd say we won't see much more variation in style or quality from Powerwolf in the years to come. In the interest of not settling for less, I'll still hold out hope for another release on par with this one, or perhaps the genre-breaking classic that I know Powerwolf to be capable of, but the band could do a lot worse than to appease fans continuously with slight variations on a winning formula. Aside from Sabaton, and perhaps Battle Beast In Black, I couldn't name any bands that pull off the power-pop metal sound so successfully, and Powerwolf is still distinct enough within this grouping to fill a bit of a void. I know I, for one, will continue to need a Powerwolf in my life.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 17.07.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 15 users
10.01.2019 - 23:55
I despise power metal, and the often compared Sabaton, but for some reason I really dig a bunch of tracks from this album! 'Killers With the Cross' and 'Incense & Iron' are definitely the stand out tracks for me.

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