REVIEW: Powerwolf – Call of the Wild

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There are some bands that are so good at what they do that one can always look forward to their new albums despite knowing that they will get more or less the same thing as on previous releases. POWERWOLF is one such band as their brand of power metal paired with Gothic imagery and religious undertones is quite unique in the metal scene. Now, this pack of German wolves is back with their eighth album, “Call of the Wild,” to deliver more bangers that will stick in your mind like glue. The record will be out on July 16th, 2021, via Napalm Records.   

Remaining faithful to the usage of church organ to spice up their songs and give them that special POWERWOLF touch, “Call of the Wild” combines fast-paced guitars, massive drums, and powerful vocals with the sharper notes of the organ. However, it feels like this is a more guitar-driven and overall heavier album, with the church organ and religious themes employed to a lesser degree than what we heard on “The Sacrament of Sin.” Fear not, the vocal melodies are just as groovy as ever, the energy is kept at a high level throughout the record (except for the ballad, “Alive or Undead“), and the guitar lines and solos are just as great and memorable as before.   

And if their previous record presented many aspects related to the concept of sin, this one deals with various mythical beasts, thus furthering Attila Dorn’s fascination with these creatures of the night. For example, on the tracklist, there’s a song titled “Varcolac,” which in Romanian folklore is actually a werewolf, while “Blood for Blood (Faoladh)” is about an Irish monster associated with the moon worshiper (also known as a werewolf or a lycanthrope). Ballad “Alive or Undead” contemplates living the life of an immortal being, while lead single, “Beast of Gévaudan,” tells the story of a predator that caused havoc in southern France in the 18th century. Aptly titled “Call of the Wild,” this album presents quite a ghastly collection of legendary monsters.

From a stylistic point of view, the record pretty much falls in line with the rest of the band’s discography, which is both a strength and a weakness. We already know that POWERWOLF can deliver epic songs with infectious melodies, big arrangements, and excellent production value… and that is exactly the case with the songs on “Call of the Wild.” The songwriting is consistent throughout the album, as the tracks are really well crafted and delivered. However, on the downside, the music can get a bit repetitive and linear after a while. In other words, it is lacking diversity as it feels like listening to the same pattern over and over again. The album starts with power anthem “Faster Than the Flame” – which is a fast, hard-hitting number that will translate well into a live setting – after which it continues with the two super hooky singles released and upbeat number “Varcolac.” Music-wise, “Varcolac,” together with the “Glaubenskraft” (which means “Power of Faith” in German) are some of the most fun yet powerful tracks on the album that will definitely make you want to headbang or dance wildly around the room.

In true POWERWOLF fashion and following in the footsteps of “Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone,” the ballad of the album, “Alive or Undead,” is on the highest level of emotion and beauty and proves once and for all that Attila Dorn can croon just as well as Roy Khan or Fabio Lione. Since “Blood for Blood (Faoladh)” deals with an Irish creature, it is only natural that the song opens with some folky Irish melodies before diving into the usual fare of melodic guitar lines and big chorus sections. Feeling like a sequel to platinum hit single “Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend,“Undress and Confess” has the same playful vibe and lascivious nature to it coupled with some church organ sounds and Attila Dorn’s powerful vocals. The title track captures both the message and the sound of the album (“we bring the call of the wild,” states the chorus) being a fun and up-tempo song where energetic guitars and massive drums come together to create a big wall of sound. The up-tempo and speedy madness that is “Reverent of Rats” closes the album in the same powerful and dynamic way it started, thus coming full circle and, in the case of a replay, making for a smooth transition back into “Faster Than the Flame.”

Overall, “Call of the Wild” is a powerful, heavy, and melodic album that sees POWERWOLF playing on all the trademark elements that have worked so well for them over the years. I mean, if the formula still works, why change it… right? As I stated at the beginning of this review, POWERWOLF is a band that is so good at what it does, that I cannot possibly declare myself unhappy in any way with “Call of the Wild.” If you are an old fan of the band you will most certainly find a lot to love about this new album. However, if you were on the fence about POWERWOLF, this album won’t change your mind about them and their music.

Written by Andrea Crow

Tracklist

  • Faster Than the Flame
  • Beast of Gévaudan
  • Dancing with the Dead
  • Varcolac
  • Alive or Undead
  • Blood for Blood (Faoladh)
  • Glaubenskraft
  • Call of the Wild
  • Sermon of Swords
  • Undress to Confess
  • Reverent of Rats

Lineup

Attila Dorn – vocals
Falk Maria Schlegel – organ
Charles Greywolf – guitar
Matthew Greywolf – guitar
Roel van Helden – drums

Label

Napalm Records

Links

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