Reviewed: August, 2021
Released: July 16, 2021, Napalm Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Powerwolf are one of my favorite bands and have been since I heard 2007’s LUPUS DEI. That album is mounds of cheese wrapped in some of the most fun and entertaining power metal to come along. Atilla Dorn’s vocals add that atmosphere and the rest of the band are incredibly capable. Huge riffs, keyboard driven symphonics, along with the soaring solos actually gives them the right to a certain amount of cheese….and they use it wisely. CALL OF THE WILD is their tenth full length album and it is pretty much what you would expect from Powerwolf….which is not a bad thing at all.
One thing I did notice with this album is it is a bit more keyboard and symphonics driven than some of their previous works. They’ve always used the keys to create an atmosphere but it was more in the line of the pipe organ sound with the symphonics sitting further in the back. This time it is more upfront and it can take away from some of the killer riffs that grace this album. The album opener, “Faster Than the Blade,” is pure Powerwolf. It’s fast and riff laden with great hooks and a killer solo. The keys do drive the song but they do not overpower the riffs. The chorus is catchy as one would expect from this band. Atilla’s soring vocals always set a great atmosphere and this song was no exception. Following the opener were the two videos that were released previous to the album, “Beast of Gévaudan” and “Dance with the Dead.” Both are examples of everything that is great about Powerwolf and as well as examples of taking a good thing a bit too far. Both have such catchy choruses and the songs themselves are written well but the execution is hit or miss because of the overuse of the symphonics. There’s some great fret work going on but you only hear the solo because of the keys.
Now, there are times where over the top symphonics work. “Glaubenskraft” is the perfect example of how the heavy symphonics work. This song is driven by the keys and symphonics but it works to enhance the song. This song is about four minutes long but they have the ability to make it huge and grandiose in the execution. Immediately following is the title track, which is the complete opposite of the previous. This is a straight ahead guitar driven metal anthem where the keys take a bit of a back seat and let the riffs do the talking. The chorus is a bit more keyboard driven but that is to be expected. The closer, “Reverent of Rats” is the same as the title track as in being more straight ahead rocker. At less than three minutes running time they pack a whole lot of power in a little bit of time. Once again the melodies are infectious the chorus is so catchy. A great song to round out the album.
All in all this is more of the same from Powerwolf. While fun, cheesy, and melodic I did find some of it inconsistent and the track order left me feeling the album was a bit disjointed. That does not take away from the musicianship of this album. Powerwolf are masters of their craft and they are incapable of releasing a truly bad album. Yes they are an acquired taste and some may not like their gimmick or their over the top image; but underneath all of that they are incredible musicians and they are much more than just their image.