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Powerwolf - "Blessed & Possessed" (CD)

Powerwolf - "Blessed & Possessed" CD cover image

"Blessed & Possessed" track listing:

1. Blessed & Possessed
2. Dead Until Dark
3. Army of the Night
4. Armata Strigoi
5. We are the Wild
6. Higher than Heaven
7. Christ & Combat
8. Sanctus Dominus
9. Sacramental Sister
10. All You Can Bleed
11. Let There Be Night

Reviewed by on May 15, 2015

"Sifting through a Powerwolf album, you know exactly what you are going to get: church organs, awesome riffs, and Attila Dorn belting out a whole lot of 'Hallelujah’s.'"

Back with “Blessed & Possessed” is Powerwolf – the supercharged Germanic vampiric werewolf cult - with another album packed full of religious clichés and ridiculously catchy, over the top, and tight power metal. If you haven’t caught on with the trend over the first five albums – especially the last three – the chances of Powerwolf suddenly shifting into a new realm or progressing within a subgenre are as slim as one understanding how a vampire werewolf hybrid is possible amid such a bitter rivalry.

I’ve spent a great deal of time among the wolf clan and attended enough gothic related events to have a general understanding of vampires….and one thing is certain – those two hate each other. Perhaps a new found accord with a common enemy – religion – is the reason. I suggest you just go with it, as werewolves aren’t too keen on giving up any information. “Blessed & Possessed” is precisely what fans have come to expect and love at the same time offending most progressive metal fans bent on turning music into a math lab.

Much like “Preachers of the Night” and “Blood of the Saints” before it, Powerwolf has the uncanny knack of creating brilliant power metal with ultra-fetching riffs and over the top choruses that leave you chanting whether voluntary or not – mostly at a hyper quick pace. If you enjoyed the heck out of “Amen & Attack” or “Coleus Sanctus” or “We Drink Your Blood” or “Sanctified With Dynamite,” then “Blessed & Possessed” is a no brainer. With the same top notch production team from "Preachers of the Night," including guitarist/bassist/producer Charles Greywolf, the sound just doesn’t get much better. If you’ve never heard Powerwolf…think of the band as a German werewolf version of Sabaton, where tanks are replaced by crosses and religious sarcasm.

However, if you find the formula tired, old and worn out – absent any progression or variation – then you need to steer clear. Lately, there is a growing nostalgia for the sound of old U.S. metal scene from the 80’s going around (including a ton of reunions, mostly stemming from a huge interest in Germany and small pockets of the United States) – utilizing terms like “natural drum sound,” “raw old school power,” and “scaled back production,” which has spawned a shit ton of classic era sounding acts. If you fall in that category, I’m sure the “Euro-trigger” drumming and "dreaded overproduction” found here isn’t for you. However, it suits this author just fine.

Sifting through a Powerwolf album, you know exactly what you are going to get: church organs, awesome riffs, and Attila Dorn belting out a whole lot of “Hallelujah’s.” Meanwhile, the uncontrollable urge to headbang is irresistible. The challenge here isn’t so much about which songs are the best, but which one grabs you the most. The quicker tunes, where the choruses command the tune right from the onset, are led by “Army of the Night,” “Christ & Combat” and “Higher Than Heaven.” Powerwolf isn’t all about speed, with the mid-paced tunes normally exceeding swifter counterparts – here expertly crafted via “We Are the Wild,” “Armata Strigoli” (wins for riff of the album) and the brilliant closer “Let There Be Night.”

What you can take away from “Blessed & Possessed” is that if it ain’t broke….don‘t fix it! Powerwolf has an established sound that will likely never change. If part of your musical enjoyment is to allow for massively addicting and repetitive choruses, fun and uptempo riffs, then it really gets no better. If you view music as an exploration that needs to constantly grow, show variety and extend over boundaries, then you can skip over “Blessed & Possessed.” If you like both, then you are in a class of fans that music needs the most: the “blessed and possessed.” For this author, music is much about the former, with the flavor of fantasy and witty sarcasm acting as icing on the cake.

Highs: Massively addicting choruses and religious sarcastic wit.

Lows: Precisely the same formula as the first five albums.

Bottom line: With Powerwolf, you either love them or hate them...or in proper terms you are "blessed or possessed."

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)