As one of the most emphatically wonderful power-metal statements of 2011, Powerwolf’s fourth album, Blood Of The Saints, saw the German, Dutch and Romanian band stepping into the big league, even claiming a spot in Germany’s domestic Top 30. With hooks to complement their ripping lead solos, horror-soundtrack pipe organ and mirthsome comic-book lyrics, crossover success appeared wholly justified.
Two years later, the quintet are back on a new label following a switch from Metal Blade. The biography talks of “surprising the fans” with something “more bombastic and atmospheric than the last album”. Sure enough, while there are still quite a few of those catchy choruses, a first couple of spins fails to repeat the knockout punch.
It’s only a question of degree, mind, for once again Powerwolf strike gold with the likes of Amen & Attack, Lust For Blood and the chorally embellished Coleus Sanctus, which take root in the memory banks for days. Preachers… is almost certainly a grower, but it appears the band haven’t quite equalled their previous work of near genius.