I’ll be the first to admit that Powerwolf is a slightly underwhelming band for me. On the one hand, they make really fun music. It isn’t exactly thought-provoking, or even all that original at times, but it rocks hard and is filled with interesting melodies and riffs. Despite their lack of originality, nobody sounds quite like them. In many respects, the band is quite similar to Sabaton, who shares these characteristics. Where the bands differ, however, is that Powerwolf’s music doesn’t have much to bring you back. They have a number of great tracks (“We Drink Your Blood” and “Murder At Midnight” come to mind), but overall, it feels like the band has thoroughly explored everything their sound has to offer.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that I’ve only heard one of their other records, and yet it feels like I’ve heard half of the melodies on this album before. One example is “Dead Until Dark”, which has an intro that is almost identical to one of the main melodies in “Son of a Wolf”. Even if the general sound of the album is the same, that’s ok, but it’s a little too close for comfort many times on this album. These similarities are unfortunate because “Blessed & Possessed” is a very competent album.
The primary element that makes Powerwolf incredibly compelling is the lead vocals of Attila Dorn. His voice is similar to what you’d expect a possessed metal preacher to sound like, and quite often he is backed up by an equally grandiose choir. This album does its best to be epic at every single moment, and it usually achieves that, even on a softer track like “Let There Be Night”. Most of the time, however, the band is pounding away, offering up a litany of heavy riffs that are complemented by melodic leads that avoid sounding cheesy.
Powerwolf excels when they’re playing fast and hitting hard. The best example of this is “Higher Than Heaven”, which is far and away the speediest track on the record. It offers up more aggression than you might expect from the band (particularly in the vocals), and is a welcome surprise to their sound. Most of the songs on this album are likewise upbeat, but none can match “Higher Than Heaven” in terms of intensity.
On the whole, it would be unfair to say “Blessed & Possessed” is a bad effort. In fact, it has a lot to like. I struggled with the fact that it’s pretty much identical to “Blood of the Saints”, which is the only other Powerwolf album I’ve heard. The only difference is that their earlier effort is better. For newcomers to the band, this album is going to be a wild and fun ride. For casual fans such as myself, it likely won’t be something you’ll come back to. The hardcore fans, however, will love it as it does great justice to the band’s sound!
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"Blessed & Possessed"
"Higher Than Heaven"
3.6/5 or 72%.
Written by Scott