Powerwolf: Blessed & Possessed

Power metal braves race to the front of the pack

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This kind of heavy metal record is the easiest to fuck up.

Everything has to be right, or it’s at best middling, at worst unlistenable, and every chorus has to be big enough to get new fans singing along on first listen.

So it’s astonishing that Germany’s Powerwolf have, yet again, got it so right. Blessed & Possessed is a ludicrous, over-the-top, fun and enthusiastic strain of catchy, full-throated, red-blooded metal, done absolutely right. Bombastic in the extreme, funny, but not disposable or farcical, Powerwolf have that rare skill to ram an album full of songs that make you sing totally ridiculous lyrics, loudly, and without feeling self-conscious. This is a shining example, ambiguous biblical references and all. And while it perhaps isn’t quite as wall-to-wall full of instant ear-worms as their last two (the delirious pairing of Armata Strigoi and Higher Than Heaven aside), there are more songs that stick in your brain after three listens than before, with later songs like Sanctus Dominus and All You Can Bleed only making you realise how good they are after a few spins. Whoever said the Devil has all the best tunes might change his mind after hearing what the werewolves have here.