Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Powerwolf - Bible of the Beast (2009)

It's clear by now that Powerwolf are a somewhat silly band, parading about in their gothic makeup while they sing ridiculous gothic power metal songs about vampires, werewolves and the devil. These are adorned with all the pomp and circumstance once could imagine: organs, manly gang shouting where important, and lyrics that will literally break you down laughing.

The thing is, the band is really good at this, and more than a little self aware. Bible of the Beast pushes the envelope of absurdity just a bit farther than Lupus Dei lyrically, but the presentation is much the same. Attila Dorn's powerful register drives the simple and effective rhythms while Falk Maria Schlegel's organs and atmosphere bind the tracks into that very peculiar style which separates Powerwolf from the rest of the European power metal scene. They also like to give 'shout outs' in their music by writing various tracks about Eastern Eurasia (i.e. "Moscow After Dark" and "Werewolves of Armenia"). Although these are topical, they are also likely to create an added bond with the listenership. Some of the lyrics and song titles are pretty far out there this time, ranging from funny ("Raise Your Fist Evangelist" and "Catholic in the Morning...Satanist at Night") to just dumb ("Resurrection by Erection").

Just like its predecessors, Bible of the Beast sounds amazing. A bold and beautiful mix which highlights each individual piece of the puzzle, wisely leaving Dorn's vocals at the apex while the organ and synthesizers formulate lush gothic atmospheres that summon imagery of a not so olde world of gothic cathedrals and countryside, where Transylvanian terrors await in each shadow but the most frightening monster is the beast within. The album is pretty consistent in quality, though few of the tracks are as catchy as those on Lupus Dei. Rather than a step forward, this album seems more of a step sideways. Highlights for myself would be "Raise Your Fist Evangelist", "Midnight Messiah", "We Take the Church by Storm" and "Werewolves of Armenia" for its nice thrashing riff.

In the end, it's just another night at the opera for Powerwolf. If you enjoyed Return to Bloodred and Lupus Dei, then this is par for the course. There weren't any tracks which struck me quite as loudly as "When the Moon Shines Red" or "In Blood We Trust" from the previous album, but they're all fun, and this material should blend seamlessly into their live sets.

Verdict: Win [8/10]


1 comment:

Rhan said...

Yeah, this album is definitely par for the course. Then again, it doesn't really require massive innovation to do its job more than admirably.

Great stuff.