Powerwolf return to bring sex to the church of power metal. So much sex! Was I too ignorant or too innocent to see this on their past albums? Sure, tracks like “Resurrection By Erection” from their 2009 masterpiece Bible Of The Beast were very much on the nose, but this time around the Germans conceal their innuendos in smart allegories which will bring the same dirty smirk to your face as the one probably found on this album’s “Stossgebet”‘s priest’s visage.
With Blessed & Possessed, 2015, and Preachers Of The Night, 2013, I had the feeling Powerwolf were losing some of their pizzazz. 2011’s Blood Of The Saints was still a great follow-up to Bible Of The Beast, but after that the band started suffering from Sabaton syndrome, which (according to me) defines a band performing the same recipe over and over again into boredom. While Powerwolf‘s polished image and marketing were upped by a million percent by their label to the point where they’re as mainstream metal as Sabaton (again), the music suffered. There’s only a few great tracks among the 2013 and 2015 albums, whereas on earlier releases every track was a smash hit.
While their Swedish companions in uniqueness/monotony Sabaton haven’t escaped their selfmade metal hell yet, there’s good news from the German front. The Sacrament Of Sin is a breath of fresh air for the stale Powerwolf recipe with almost every song being much better than the last two albums combined and some bold nouveau musical ideas.
Did I say new ideas? “Fire & Forgive”, the album’s opening track, definitely does not bother with fancy structures or progressive chords. This is some old school Powerwolf. Similar to live concerts, the band gets started going all out to get you pumped up. This is Powerwolf‘s seasoned formula, which got lost in mediocre songwriting and lackluster choruses recently, but this time they’re back with old strength.
There’s quite a few old-but-new songs on The Sacrament Of Sin, it is Powerwolf after all, and it is hard to sound much different when you have such a characteristic sound and expressive frontman with Attila Dorn and his sovereign vocals. This time around, all is well in Powerwolf land: “Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend” is the bands greatest ear worm since “Panic In The Pentagram”, “Nightside Of Siberia” revels in “Catholic In The Morning… Satanist At Night” vibes and the album’s title track is just another sex-positive track featuring catchy melodies akin to Helloween hits.
Fortunately, the band breaks up the old formula with some new additions. “Killers With The Cross”, maybe the best track on the album, presents some almost Manowar-like pounding beats with a chorus stuck in your head for weeks to come. This one may be less punchy than the ballsy-speedy songs, but the melodies and Attila’s sublime vocals make it all the more enjoyable.
While not my favorite, “Incense And Iron” brings some folk elements before unknown to Powerwolf to the table, creating a track which sounds Alestorm-y (the good, fun, energetic way, not the other one they are going today…) without being goofy. Another way different song is the mentioned “Stossgebet”. This one is out there, I’m telling you. Pseudo-latin dirty church language lyrics combining jesu and coitus presented in a prayer-like chant evolving into the hugest chorus found on The Sacrament Of Sin plus the pointed German vocals make this a novelty for Powerwolf, but the experiment is successful and results in the album’s most memorable track.
Maybe you noticed – I like the album. With great power metal tracks free from the before stale recipe, enormous choruses as heard last on Blood Of The Saints and some bold additions to the established Powerwolf sound, the Germans prove they have not lost their energy at all, releasing one of the genre’s best albums this year.