THE SACRAMENT OF SIN
Released: July 20, 2018
Theatrical as always and catchy as ever before, “The Sacrament of Sin” is Powerwolf’s 7th release in their 15-year long career. Founded in 2003 by Charles and Matthew Greywolf, the band is widely known for their gothic themes and images, both musically and lyrically, which includes the usage of corpse paint, references to various mythical creatures such as werewolves, vampires and even a strigoi (an archaic Romanian word for poltergeist), but also religious tales. The type of music they create, combined with Atilla Dorn’s inclination for such a mystic subject matter, make for an original presentation as well as a definite opposition to traditional power metal music. “The Sacrament of Sin” is out now, on Napalm Records.
Commenting on the album, Matthew Greywolf stated:
“I would say the approach was to expand the territory a bit, I think ‘The Sacrament of Sin’ has become the most diverse Powerwolf album with the most variation in the music and a lot of new
elements in our sound. At the same time, I think it’s become a pretty typical Powerwolf album in terms of atmosphere and power and character.”
Fire & forgive
Demons are a girl’s best friend
Killers with the cross
Incense and iron
Where the wild wolves have gone
Nightside of Siberia
The sacrament of sin
Venom of Venus
Fist by fist (Sacralize or strike)
Indeed, the follow-up to 2015’s “Blessed and Possessed” sees the band furthering their craft and creating more melodic and diverse sing-along tunes on top of a very bombastic and quite heavy soundscape. And first single “Demons are a girl’s best friend” is probably the catchiest and most dance friendly track the band has ever created (I really enjoy the synchronized dancing routine from the video), while the subsequent singles “Fire & Forgive” and “Incense & Iron” take the band’s signature sound to the next level. Musically, it’s quite a versatile offering, with many over the top guitar solos and riffs (as on “Nightside of Siberia”), incredible vocal hooks (“Killers with the cross”), and even some 80’s throwback moments (“Nighttime Rebel”). It’s a collection of anthemic, up-beat songs that would work extremely well live, as they pack a lot of punch and energy. I mean, this is Powerwolf we are talking about here, we weren’t expecting anything less.
What has always fascinated me about Powerwolf is the way they combine certain words together, turn things upside-down (I mean, how can sin be a sacrament?), and create such infectious vocal lines that stick with you long after the song is over, probably their greatest strength. It’s next to impossible to keep from headbanging, or simply moving along to the rhythm, while listening to their music. And this album is no exception as you feel engaged from the symphonic infused opener “Fire & Forgive” until the energetic “Fist by fist (Sacralize or strike)” closes this unholy mass. There are some churchy aspects to this album that truly drive the sound home, as the organ melodies that add an extra layer of harmonies to title track “The sacrament of sin” and to “Demons are a girl’s best friend”, as well as the Latin introduction to and the prayer-like delivery of “Stossgebet” (minus the chorus), or the church bells used in “Killers with the cross”. Not to mention the lyrical content of the majority of songs which talks about sin from various perspectives.
In this mass of killer tracks, two songs stood out to me. The first one is the aforementioned “Stossgebet”, as it is sung entirely in German, and as a Rammstein fan I can’t help but love this, and the second is the power ballad “Where the wild wolves have gone” because of its 80’s vibes, beautiful piano intro, and Attila’s soulful vocals.
Bottom line, if I were to describe this album in a few words, I would say it’s epic, majestic and thoroughly rocking. And that is putting it mildly, as all the usual elements are there, from the cinematic intros, to the groovy keyboard melodies, to the vocal lines, to the words and storytelling, to the stellar guitar work, to the way everything is wrapped up in power metal extravaganza, making this beast of an album.
Rating: 9 / 10
Attila Dorn – vocals
Matthew Greywolf – lead and rhythm guitar
Charles Greywolf – lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar
Roel van Helden – drums, percussion
Falk Maria Schlegel – organ, keyboards