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Powerwolf - "Blood of the Saints" (CD)

Powerwolf - "Blood of the Saints" CD cover image

"Blood of the Saints" track listing:

1. Agnus dei (Intro) (0:48)
2. Sanctified with Dynamite (4:24)
3. We Drink Your Blood (3:42)
4. Murder At Midnight (4:45)
5. All We Need Is Blood (3:35)
6. Dead Boys Don't Cry (3:23)
7. Son of a Wolf (3:58)
8. Night of the Werewolves (4:28)
9. Phantom of the Funeral (3:07)
10. Die, Die, Crucified (2:58)
11. Ira Sancti (When the Saints Are Going Wild) (6:25)

Reviewed by on August 3, 2011

"Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing 'We drink your blood!' or 'Sanctified with dynamite!' at random times after listening through the album, just be sure to try to keep it to a minimum around your boss or people with small children."

Power metal is a genre that is already prone to going over the top and ending up in a place that can become unfortunately silly, and Powerwolf hams it up with the best of them. But weirdly, “Blood of the Saints” somehow manages to be catchy, musically interesting, and insanely metal all at once. The individual components of image, atmosphere, and repeating hooks all combine to become something greater than the sum of its parts. Simply put, Powerwolf’s new album is balls-to-the-wall awesome power metal for people who don’t normally care about power metal.

Almost every song on “Blood of the Saints” is single-worthy and has a catchy hook that easily gets stuck in the head. That shouldn’t be a deterrent for fans of more extreme or a-melodic music, however, as the combination of wild guitar work and blasphemous themes maintain a high level of appeal for fans of nearly any metal style. Any given song always finds a way to keep up the image of a gothic church with massive pipe organs where the priests are all really wolves in sheep’s clothing. The repeating choruses remain amusing or headbangable enough throughout the entire album to avoid getting old, although they can become a little overbearing after having heard the whole thing five or six times. If there is a single misstep in this department, it’s on the overly long and much slower album ender “When the Saints are Going Wild.” Lacking the energy of the rest of the tracks, the final song is a little limp in comparison, although some respite from the onslaught isn’t an entirely bad thing.

Vocalist Attila Dorn takes his pipes nearly all the way to the top, just barely reigning it in before getting cheesy, and he uses his accent to full effect, giving the word “blood” an appropriately gothic and theatric makeover. Knowing that there can be too much of a good thing, Powerwolf does shift gears for a few songs and either tones it down a notch for tracks like “Murder at Midnight,” or changes up the lyrical theme and overall atmosphere with “Night of the Werewolves.” These are welcome changes of pace among all the tales of flowing blood and crucified saviors, and keep the album fantastically fresh.

Repeating catchy choruses aren’t normally the proper domain of heavy metal, but Powerwolf pulls it off nearly flawlessly, and the mixture of style with substance is incredibly satisfying. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing “We drink your blood!” or “Sanctified with dynamite!” at random times after listening through the album, just be sure to try to keep it to a minimum around your boss or people with small children.

Highs: Blasphemous and fantastically amusing choruses that are inredibly catchy, and lots of great gothic atmosphere.

Lows: The final track is a bit too long and repetitive, and the repeating hooks can get a bit stale over time.

Bottom line: Fantastically over the top power metal with catchy choruses and great atmosphere.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)