Most fans’ relationship with their favourite bands extends no further than hanging around after gigs for an autograph and a quick selfie. There may be gifts. Occasionally a hand-made stuffed toy may be involved.
But the acolytes of Powerwolf aren’t like regular fans. And one devotee has gone above and beyond the call of duty in her worship the German power metal kings by dedicating a large chunk of her life to making stained glass windows in their honour.
The Metal Nun – she’s keeping schtum about her real name – works as a glass painter in an atelier in Luxembourg, but she learned her craft by creating glassworks based on her favourite band (and especially keyboard player and “master of madness” Falk Maria Schlegel). If that wasn’t dedicated enough, she’s been attending Powerwolf gigs in full nun-ish regalia since 2012 – more than 70 in total.
“For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than Powerwolf,” she says. “To my ears, their music is perfection.”
Why do you call yourself The Metal Nun? Are you actually a nun?
Since a nun is a woman, who devotes all her life and her love to God and her belief, I’m not that far from a real nun – except the difference is that I devote all my energy and a great part of my life and my heart to another divine being: Powerwolf. But I’m not an actual Catholic nun living in a convent, no.
When I was younger there was a time I wanted to join an order of nuns, because I admire people with such a great dedication to their belief. Since I fell madly in love with my husband, it was no longer an option for me to join a convent, so being “The Metal Nun” was the only option for me to fulfil my goal. And the decision to become the Metal Nun was, of course, also inspired by Powerwolf’s topics like church and religion. So it was some kind of destiny I guess.
How did you get into making stained glass windows?
Did you know that monks in monasteries in the Romanesque and early Gothic period were the first to make stained glass windows? So there’s a connection…
I always loved churches because of their artworks, their atmosphere, and the masses. For me the most impressing view is if the sunlight hits a stained glass window and you can see its beautiful colourful reflections on the arcs or the floor of a church. Since my grades where not good enough to study medicine, I decided to change direction to my other passion: art.
By coincidence I learned that near to where I’m living there was a school which teaches stained glass. I immediately fell in love with the idea of learning how to make those beautiful artworks. So I took four years of apprenticeship as a glass painter and glazier and finished my master craftsman class in 2020.
Why did you decide to make pieces inspired by Powerwolf?
Those pieces I made and which are inspired by Powerwolf where created during my apprenticeship period where I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to paint and built. I wanted to use this freedom to give my love for Powerwolf a canvas so I could make my excitement about them and their music visible.
Can you give us an example of some of the Powerwolf-related pieces you've made, and what the specific inspirations are behind them?
This [photo below] is my glazier journeyman’s piece. It is inspired by the moment on stage when Powerwolf plays Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone, for which Falk always comes down on stage and sits on an old Mannborg reed organ. It is always a magical but somehow a sad and dramatic moment because everyone in the venue gets quiet for a second and there is time to focus on the moment and the music. I also wanted to depict how I see this moment and to underline the passion of Falk Maria Schlegel while he’s performing. I used a photo from Christian Ripkens from a concert of the 2018 Wolfsnächte to make a silk screen printing on true antique sheet glass and combine it with more traditional painting methods.
Do you listen to Powerwolf while you're making them?
Well, of course I do! It’s like a mantra to listen to Lupus Daemonis and remembering all the happy experiences with them – I can put this energy into my work very well. Sometimes if I’m too deep into my memories then I need to focus a little bit more on my work but most of the time it’s like a meditation that helps keeping focused.
What's the piece that's been the hardest to make?
This was my glasspainter journeyman’s piece I called Veni Sancte Lupus (“Come, Holy Wolf”). It combined almost every technique I learned during my apprenticeship and so it was tricky and risky to create in a determined time slot. There was a lot of etching with hydrofluoric acid and the glass which needs to be etched had a real thick external layer of coloured glass so it took a huge amount of time and sadly one of the pieces broke so I had to redo it again.
And what's the one you're proudest of making?
One of my stained-glass creations was exhibited in Hut Frantisek in Sázava in the Czech Republic and is now displayed in my art school’s history exhibition. This is really an honour to me because it was my first original design and I really put a lot of love and effort into it. And of course, it shows Powerwolf’s ‘Master of Madness’ Falk…
Do you make these pieces to sell, or do you make them purely for yourself?
All pieces inspired by Powerwolf were made for fun and experience. Most of them decorate my home now. I think I would not be able to sell any of these pieces because of the memories attached. They show a lot of what I learned and a lot of what I feel about the band, so they are very personal.
Have you met the band? Have you given any pieces to them?
I’ve met the band a couple of times. One time, for his birthday, I presented Falk a little stained-glass piece and he liked it. In 2013 I also built a processional cross for Attila he could carry onto stage after he broke the one you can see on the promo pictures for Blood Of The Saints. It was mind-blowing to see your stuff on stage – I still am very grateful for that.
Which other bands do you listen to other than Powerwolf?
I love medieval rock like In Extremo. I also enjoy bands like Behemoth, Nanowar of Steel. Heilung, Wardruna and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Organ works, but I fear in the end, there is nothing more enjoyable then Powerwolf.
If I had a band and I wanted you to make a stained glass piece for me, would you do it? Or do you only do it for Powerwolf?
You would need to ask my boss if the company is interested in the commission. In my spare time I fear I have no opportunity to do it because as you know, ‘Metal Is Religion” – and as a well-behaved Metal Nun, I have to evangelize, visit the holy Metal-Mass and make new designs for other Powerwolf related projects.
What's your favourite Powerwolf song, and why?
That’s not a question I can answer easily. You could compare it to prayers: there are so many of them, for every occasion. But if I had to say one, it would be Lupus Dei. Attila once describes the whole of the Lupus Dei album as a catharsis – a purification. And this is what it feels like for me when I hear that specific song. It is something special.
Powerwolf's new album Call Of The Wild is out now via Napalm.