• It has its charm - A review of Powerwolf's "The Metal Mass - Live"

    Powerwolf - The Metal Mass - Live (2016)

    Powerwolf are quite a phenomenon in Germany and have conquered the charts numerous times. The band plays a style which is often called true metal but actually a mixture of heavy and power metal. Musically, lyrically and even concerning their image, expect a mixture of HammerFall, Manowar and Sabaton.

    The band's songs are catchy and engaging but also highly predictable. What we get here is a collection of short and sweet mid-tempo heavy and power metal foundations with some sacral organ sounds and quite addictive choruses that you will still remember and sing along to after consuming a case of beer because of their simplicity and almost childish rhymes. Lines such as ''Die, die, dynamite!'' and ''Halleluja, amen!'' ''Resurrection by erection!'' aren't very clever but work quite well in concert and you can see the entire crowd sing along. That being said, the powerful baritone vocals, along with the epic organ passages, are probably the most charismatic element about this band. Bass, drums and guitars play metal by the numbers without any ups or downs which can either be seen as a proof of consistency or as the band's most obvious weakness. The lyrics mostly deal with fantasy topics and especially with wolves, vampires and religious characters from cardinals to crusaders which isn't anything new but still surprisingly popular among metal fans.

    Singer Attila Dorn is a gifted entertainer because he doesn't take himself and his band too seriously. Some of his anecdotes about penis surgeries and similar things are weird but that only makes them more memorable. He might exaggerate when he asks the crowd about a dozen times whether they want to celebrate a heavy metal mass with the band but you should take it as a running gag and the singer even has to laugh about himself from time to time and occasionally stops playing the character he incarnates on stage to act normally. In addition to the unique but at times annoying front man, the band knows how to put up a visually stunning show with majestic backdrops that make the stage look like an old cathedral, lots of face paint to evoke similarities to vampires and werewolves and a quite stunning light show. Powerwolf might not be among the most original bands but they surely are among the most entertaining ones if you are willing to open up to their concept.

    This already leads me to my final verdict. Powerwolf are a party band that is best enjoyed in concert or while hanging around at a party with some friends. My tastes have evolved over the past few years but if I had discovered the band a decade ago, I would have appreciated it as much as HammerFall, Manowar and Sabaton. Powerwolf are a great band to get into metal in the first place. This massive live set serves both as a greatest hits collection and a proof that Powerwolf is one of the most entertaining live bands around. If you had only one Powerwolf record to buy, it should be this one.

    Final rating: 70%

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