Powerwolf: Preachers of the Night

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Powerwolf: Preachers of the Night
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Powerwolf: Preachers of the Night
Power Metal
Napalm Records
July 19th, 2013 / August 6th, 2013 (US)
Release length: 45:32
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Germany’s five-piece Power Metal group Powerwolf is back with their fifth full-length album of energetic choir-driven material. Titled Preachers of the Night, the werewolf and dark-mythology driven Horror based band continues to wow fans and critics alike despite some bumps in the road here and there. In late June, the lead single “Amen & Attack” was issued from their latest opus, but largely fell on deaf ears, only peaking the interest of their devoted fans, which seems largely due to lack of exposure, though the hype for the full-length can’t be ignored. Is this truly an album of the year recording, or does Preachers of the Night fall short?

“Amen & Attack” kicks the effort off in a manner that shares cues of enthusiasm and powerful performances with bands like Rhaspsody and even Sabaton. The epic start from the keyboards and vocals pushes a glorious religious setting of an earlier age, when times were darker and burdened by fear. The main verses hold the music back slightly while the clean singing remains enthusiastic. The music picks up for the chorus, literally exploding near the end of it before going into a brief and commanding drum piece that feels like a march to war against something, or someone. “Sacred & Wild” is a commanding and upbeat performance thanks to the infectious galloping guitar work in the main verses. The chorus is much richer thanks to the larger keyboards that gives it an uplifting and powerful presence full of pride and singularity any metalhead will immediately pound their fists in the air to.

For the most part, Preachers of the Night is a pretty standard Power Metal effort with glorious rich choirs and subtle keyboard orchestrations that push the songs to a more epic level. “Coleus Sanctus” is a good example of this. It starts with the choir chanting that “Amen & Attack” used to kick things off, finding glorious guitar and keyboard builds that grow richer for the sake of tension. This is met with a mid-tempo chorus that isn’t too heavy, but has a catchy beat you’ll bob your head along to. The orchestral touch really does push this song past being just a traditional Power Metal performance, but doesn’t make it the most memorable of its kind. When you add a little more speed or intensity, the impact can greatly change. “Cardinal Sin” is a fun track overall thanks to both. The main verses are pretty heavy and come at you rather fast. The enthusiastic vocals work great, especially in the chorus when things get a little edgier, even showing some subtle early royalty classical elements buried deep within you might expect to hear at some kind of ball.

One thing that does start to grow old with this album is the choir chanting style at the start of nearly every song. It seems to litter nearly every track and only pushes the album to become a little on the predictable side. Each song starts this way, the chorus is always a little more explosive and grand, sometimes even uplifting, and the overall atmosphere is usually a bit dark with a slight Gothic era atmosphere from the keyboards. This does hurt going back for repeat spins, especially some of the more traditional Power Metal songs that aren’t that unique or memorable, but at least Powerwolf does take advantage of those elements and creates some great, catchy tunes that will almost always have you bobbing your head along to.

And that’s basically what Preachers of the Night boils down to: Great, catchy tunes with an over-the-top performance. Powerwolf pays homage to the Orchestral Power Metal style without really adding anything new to it. In fact, this release sounds like they more or less take away from some of the cliche’s of the style, and performing it with plenty of vigor. Preachers of the Night transport you back to the days where werewolves and Christianity ran rampant through mythology and folklore, leaving townsfolk too afraid to go out at night for fear of becoming a lycanthrope themselves, but weaving fun, often upbeat performances rich with enthusiasm and range to remind you why this epic, somewhat fantastical style of Metal composition is as strong as it was when it first entered the battlefield. While it may not be worth the high accolades many magazines or websites are givin it right now, it’s certainly an entertaining effort from start to finish, hindered only by repetitive staples and predictability, that is well worth checking out the first chance you get whether you’re into this sort of thing or not.

01. Amen & Attack – 3:54
02. Secrets of the Sacristy – 4:07
03. Coleus Sanctus – 3:45
04. Sacred & Wild – 3:40
05. Kreuzfeuer – 3:47
06. Cardinal Sin – 3:47
07. In the Name of God (Deus Vult) – 3:15
08. Nochnoi Dozor – 3:45
09. Lust for Blood – 3:54
10. Extatum Et Oratum – 3:56
11. Last of the Living Dead – 7:42
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

 (band)
Powerwolf

Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.