…and sometimes, awesomeness just falls into your lap.
I stumbled across Powerwolf and their second album, Blood of the Saints, the way I found new albums way back in the 80s: the cover. Seriously, just look at that goddamn thing. That is one of the most metal fucking things I have ever seen in my life, and I’ve been listening to metal for 25 years.
I feel like I’m getting mercury/ lead poisoning just by looking at it.
But the cover is not the only awesomeness here. Powerwolf’s image, music, lyrical content… they all keep up with the cover.
Yes: they are that metal.
Their sound, nutshelled: melodic power metal, European variety (think Helloween or Symfonia), satanic/ werewolfy (lycanthropic?) lyrics with a sense of humor, liturgical costumes– basically, they’re Ghost (with Messiah Marcolin singing) if they dug power metal instead of 70s rock.
“Sanctified With Dynamite” is fucking awesome– a lyrically- and musically-vicious Manowar-ish stadium anthem. “We Drink Your Blood” is just as strong, for the same reasons.
“Murder at Midnight” falters the greatness a bit, and somehow reminds me of Grim Reaper’s “Night of the Vampire,” but isn’t as cool– no cool chorus riff. “All we need is blood” comes back with a semi-vengeance, a rousing-if-generic anthem, “Dead Boys Don’t Cry” falls back into generic melodic metal (still really fun, but not as stand-out as the initial two tracks); “Son of a Wolf,” with its “Can you hear me calling? Hallelujah!” chorus is, as Peter Griffin might say, freakin’ sweet, “Night of the Werewolves” starts like Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark,” quickly becoming much more cheesy/ metal and awesome…. “Phantom of the Funeral” sounds like the soundtrack to the Mel Gibson-directed apocalypse, “Die, Die Crucified,” and closer “Ira Sancti” close out the album in the best way possible here– grandiose and overdone.
For those of you raised Catholic or Episcopalian (i.e., “Catholic lite: less guilt, more fulfilling”), Powerwolf frequently quote the Holy Mass (Agnus Dei, Kyrie, etc) in the midst of their satanic werewolf vibe….
Okay, so. Maybe it’s not obvious yet.
Maybe you haven’t cottoned (that’s right, “cottoned”) onto how much Metal Fun this album is. Let me illustrate their awesomeness with a personal anecdote, if you’ll indulge me.
Where I live it’s disturbingly hot: temps around 95, humidity at or near 100%, vegetation dripping with moisture, mosquito gangs hanging out in willows, waiting to hold down passersby while their brothers suck them dry– you get the picture.
The a/c in my car doesn’t really function any more under these conditions, so normally I just keep the windows down. Unfortunately, as you all well know, summer and/or high temps are for blasting tunage. (That’s right, “tunage.”)
But Powerwolf are Epic Power Metal. That means if you try to play the tunes at less than volume 11, they refuse to work. True story.
So here’s my dilemma– I must crank that shit, but I’ll have to roll up the windows– because I will not be that guy, cranking his shit and not caring who he noise-pollutes. You know the type: the big truck cranking out Nickleback or Godsmack or some shit.
So: I drive across town, to my least favorite place in the world (this includes prison)– Wal Mart.
When I get out of the car (115, 120 degrees, easy)– I am so soaked with sweat that PEOPLE AT WAL MART stop and stare at me. If you can get Wal Mart customers (in the deep south, no less) to gawk at you, you are SPECIAL my friend.
I remember from somewhere an interview with Jack Black, trying to explain to some reporter about why he took “over the top” metal seriously. He said something like “to be allowed to laugh at it [unlike the reporter, who seemed to be smirking at the idea of metal], you have to love it and take it seriously.”
You will either think Powerwolf are a joke, or they are one of the greatest things in the world.
They’re probably both.