Powerwolf – Call of the Wild (Album Review)

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Powerwolf returns with new scriptures under their habit to preach them to their loyal horde of followers. The content of their latest psalms leads them to continue expanding their take on lycanthrope lore, folkloric terror, and blasphemous rants, which have been compiled under the name “Call of the Wild” and will be addressed to the masses from July 16, 2021.

The profane liturgy is communicated with the aid of the unmistakable power metal sound that the High Priests of Heavy Metal have mastered through the years. Such sound is created through epic orchestration, catchy choruses, and the organ-oriented atmosphere that helps to combine thunderous riffs with a profoundly melodic soundscape brilliantly. It also uses Latin lines that only increase the mysticism and theatricality that Powerwolf constantly seeks to display. From the first track, the listener is greeted to such lines that will frequently appear throughout the album, eerily waiting to explode in the wolfpack’s throats.

“Call of the Wild” also shows how leading writer and guitarist Matthew Greywolf makes the songs outflow brightly. Thanks to the tracks’ dynamism, that with the presence of several elements that serve as counterpoints and other times as complements of each other, keeps them intriguing, vigorous, and engaging. 

The symphonic elements and the use of grandiloquent orchestration and choirs have been gaining more relevance with every release, and this time, the German band takes it to another level by adorning every song with the nuances that those symphonic components provide.

With the opening track “Faster Than The Flame”, the Wolves show their skill in creating vivid operatic and dramatic passages that, in this case, serves as an intro to a potent, memorable, and most probably a future fan-favorite track. It quickly turns into a banger that will seize the listener’s heartbeat and make it rumble at the rhythm of its frantic pace. 

Other tracks keep expanding the terrifying mythos upon which Powerwolf has reached a vast congregation. With “Beast of Gévaudan” and “Varcolac” the band adds new legendary creatures that musically are at the height of the most loved beasts by the band’s devotees. The first one includes several hooks reaching their highest point with the chorus that threatens to be instantly recorded inside the listener’s head. The fantastic backing choir endows the song with great depth. At the same time, the organ delights in creating beautiful lines on which the guitar succeeds in managing to keep the balance between the hardness aspect and the harmonious atmosphere made. 

“Call of the Wild” Album Artwork

Every Powerwolf adept should already know by now the extent of vocalist Atilla Dorn’s vocal prowess. Through the rare and poignant slow tempo “Alive Or Undead”, we are gifted with one of the most heartfelt and beautiful interpretations that the vocalist has ever pulled out. All the musical layers focus on enhancing the unique voice of Atilla, and the listener has no option left but to rejoice in the wonder that comes out of his vocal cords. 

Being that “Alive Or Undead” is just the second ballad that the lycanthropes have created, it accentuates the novelties that “Call of the Wild” encloses. While it is true that Powerwolf resorts to hitting familiar keys for their latest sermon, it is also true that they introduce new elements to the mix, as in the case of “Blood for Blood (Faoladh)”. We encounter a new creature from Ireland in such track, so a bagpipe permeates the atmosphere with a Celtic aurora and introduces us to a new folkloric territory and sound. 

Despite the new sonic elements that join the Wolve’s (un)holy scriptures, of course, we can still find the cheeky and traditional heresy, this time in the form of the improper track “Undress to Confess”. Organist Falk Maria Schlegel performs splendidly throughout the entire record by making his instrument a vital element to the band’s overall sound, and in this song, his chops act as the primary way we know this peculiar way of receiving the sacrament of confession, allowing the band to reach harmonious registers that merge pleasantly with the heavy aspects. 

Overall, “Call of the Wild” retakes the characteristic elements of the Heavy Metal Mass and preaches them in a better, wilder, and more epic way. While introducing some surprises, the listener will maintain attentive to the sermon’s message, a homily full of memorable choruses, countless melodic hooks, and ferocious riffs that will haunt the thirsty hordes around the world for more Powerwolf

Released by: Napalm Records
Released Date: July 16th, 2021
Genre: Power Metal

 Musicians:

  • Attila Dorn / Vocals
  • Matthew Greywolf / Guitar
  • Charles Greywolf / Guitar
  • Falk Maria Schlegel / Organ
  • Roel van Helden / Drums

“Call of the Wild” track-listing:

  1. Faster Than the Flame
  2. Beast of Gévaudan
  3. Dancing with the Dead
  4. Varcolac
  5. Alive or Undead
  6.  Blood for Blood (Faoladh)
  7.  Glaubenskraft
  8. Call of the Wild
  9.  Sermon of Swords
  10.  Undress to Confess
  11. Reverent of Rats 

8.9 Excellent

With “Call Of The Wild”, Powerwolf keeps creating fantastic and memorable anthems with the correct dose of crushing elements that are brilliantly balanced with the melodic tonalities that the High Priests of Heavy Metal have mastered through the years. By replicating a familiar sound that includes some surprises, the Heavy Metal Mass has never sounded better. So rejoice, creatures of the night. The Wolves are back and ready to tear you apart!

  • Songwriting 8.5
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 9.5
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