Powerwolf - Blood of the Saints (Metal Blade/Riot)

Wolves, priests, phantoms, blood... this ain't no hip hop album!
Release Date: 
2 Aug 2011 (All day)

When the Gods made heavy metal, I’ve a fair idea that Blood of the Saints was the sort of thing they were thinking about. It’s such a perfect album – muscular, melodic – everything true heavy metal should be in fact- that you find yourself stopping every now and then and just checking that you haven’t been the victim of a cruel, metalhead-baiting hoax designed by hipsters to prove how stupidly easy it is to churn out stuff like this.

Every song is, not to put too fine a point on it, bloody brilliant, as the ‘Wolf hurtle headlong through a world where Manowar, Judas Priest and Accept are the law and woe betide any transgressors, or, perhaps more pertinently, unbelievers. Belief is a big ting in the Powerwolf universe - and if you as a listener don't have it (or at the very least if you can't suspend your disbelief) then there's not much point persevering with BOTS.

There’s a no-nonsense air about Powerwolf that ensures every song gets to its magnificent chorus as quickly as possible; the amazing thing is that atmosphere and dynamics are never sacrificed in this seemingly headlong rush to get songs done and dusted before the pubs shut. The one drawback of this modus operandi is that each song, though very different in itself, follows this same template – scene-setting opening bit, galloping verse, fist-punching chorus, solo is the order of the day on almost every song here, so maybe a bit of variety might be welcomed by sets of ears more picky than mine. The first time you notice that the band have deviated off plan is for the tremendous Night of the Werewolves, in which the band decide to stop ripping themselves off and have a go at Iron Maiden instead. But it’s such a well executed homage to late-first-Bruce-period Maiden that you can’t help but cheer the band on as you join in on another insanely catchy chorus.

Of course it’s ludicrous, but the whole thing is done so well that if you have even an ounce of love in your heart for heavy metal as it should be played then it’s hard to see how you won’t be smitten by this album from the first cheesily gothic organ chord to the last titanic bellow from the lungs of incendiary vocalist Attila (and of course why wouldn’t he be called Atilla?)Dorn. As soon as it ends you’ll be going back and listening to the whole thing over and over again, and if that’s not a recommendation to get out and buy this brilliant record I don’t know what is.