Review Summary: What do you get, when you have a power metal band that wears corpse paint and sings about werewolves and vampires? Answer: A German/Romanian band that plays Castlevania metal.
Powerwolf is a rising force within the power metal scene, but yet there are more reasons why they separate themselves from other power metal bands. For instance, they do wear corpse paint, which is generally a clichÃ© in black metal, but it almost seems appropriate due to their lyrical themes of 19th century horror. They also have a classical trained singer that fuses church like vocals with a blend of traditional heavy metal singing, which is quite rare to find considering that he's probably one of the best in the business. Another blend in their music deals with the renaissance like pianos... they're probably not, but they give off that haunting renaissance vibe. Unlike other power metal bands, they incorporate lyrics about werewolves, and other crap like that, compared to it's rivalry bands who sing about World of Warcraft. But, with every release they seem to be getting better at what they're trying to do. You can mainly notice their improvement within the guitar's musical compositions (i.e. more solos, and melodic riffs). Now, I don't know exactly why I would describe this band as Castlevania metal. You can really only know what I'm talking about if you've played the game, and then listen to Powerwolf.
Blood of the Saints
kicks off with an intro that lasts about fifty seconds or so, that mainly focuses on a haunting atmosphere. Right when it kicks into Sanctified with Dynamite
, it starts off with something of what I was talking about earlier with the use of church like vocals. But it doesn't take long for the song to kick you in the face with a powerful verse, and one of the most catchiest choruses off the entire album. The song also features a solo as well but it really isn't all that great; it fits the song, but for what it's worth, it's fine at best. Thankfully, the other parts of the song, mainly the vocals, make up for the okay solo, and the make the song so much more worth the listen. And that practically happens to Powerwolf throughout the entire album - with the formula of awesome vocals, but decent solos at best. Don't get me wrong or anything they do have good solos in songs like Night of the Werewolves
, but lets not kid ourselves, we've all heard better. Even the next song We Drink your Blood
, which is the lead single, also follows the same formula as the previous song with blazing verses, and then a catchy chorus, with pretty good melodic rhythm sections, and this time an absence of a solo. But it falls short for many reasons; it's a good song, but you have to listen to it understand why it falls short.
The Anthem of the album follows right in line after the lead single entitled, Murder at Midnight
. The song is filled with an energetic verse, and then a catchy chorus that should solidify any sort of curiosity about looking further into the album/band. Surprisingly enough, it has a great solo that reminds me of Iron Maiden, so I guess that makes it a promising effort from their guitarist. Another song comes to mind is, Son of a Wolf
. I wanna say it's Murder at Midnight's
sister song, but it's totally different, yet almost runs in the same vein as each other in both musical formula and by being catchy. For the last real promising effort that's featured on Blood of the Saints
, is Night of the Werewolves
. It also has some of the best vocals and guitars off the entire album, and should enter plenty of playlists for that matter.
For the most part, the album is filled with songs that are catchy, but really only a handful of songs stick out. Which is probably a factor that holds them back from being recognized as a top tier power metal band in their future. I'm not saying that they suck or anything. They have plenty of potential to sit right alongside with the big dogs of the power metal genre. They just haven't found that click yet, but they are getting extremely close. Personally, I think they should start shifting their focus on the guitars or pianos to have more of a melodic edge to their music, rather than relying on vocal duties to do that job. Overall, Blood of the Saints
is just another catchy, cheesy, energetic, and fun to listen to when playing Castlevania.
Murder at Midnight
Sanctified with Dynamite
Son of a Wolf
Night of the Werewolves