REVIEW: POWERWOLF – “Call Of The Wild”
It’s only a few short nights before Call of the Wild by Germany’s POWERWOLF gets dropped and fans of Power Metal have a heck of a lot to be excited about! There’s a lot in the way of technical prowess and production value though anyone who has heard their last couple of albums may not be particularly interested in the (amazing) technical aspects of the record. To be quite honest, a lot of the songs and sounds seem like they would fit in right at home with some of their previous releases though if you’re looking for a continuation of the POWERWOLF party with more tales of mythical creatures and tongue in cheek humor then Call of the Wild is the album to crank.
Anyone into the technical side of things will find extremely enthusiastic performances, fantastic composition, and a beautifully theatrical sound stage. It’s the kind of album where even if Power Metal isn’t exactly your bag (for example, it’s not really mine), you still can’t help but appreciate and get into the spirit of the songs and become struck with the dynamic nature of how the songs have been written that mix predictable elements with unexpected twists, stabs and crescendos that are instantly uplifting.
In some ways, especially on tracks like “Varcolac” and “Glaubenskraft”, I get Danny Elfman movie soundtrack vibes. In other areas, you get their signature humor such as in the track “Undress and Confess” which juxtaposes the ballad “Alive or Undead” and the sing-along “Blood for Blood”.
An impressive element of the album is the production as a whole! There is ALWAYS a lot going on at any given time with guitars, organs, fast drum patterns, and kicks, layered vocals, and choirs but the mix never seems to peak out or run out of space. The sound of every instrument is exceedingly clear and present which I guess is to be expected from Jens Bogren. Thanks also goes to Joost Van Der Broek and the band for producing the album in such a way that there are a lot of intelligent decisions made with the sound design. The sounds and instruments tie in together to create something much bigger than the sum of their parts in such a way that it resonates less like a band of people playing instruments and more like a force of a perpetual explosion.
So far I’ve sung praises for the album and the following critique also describes the strength of the album. Call of the Wild stays firmly in its lane without trying to be anything more than what the band is known for already yet at the same time no less clever, imaginative, or well presented. If you have heard any of their previous material, you’ll know exactly what to expect. If not then you can safely deduce it from the cover artwork. While it’s not exactly the type of album that might push the genre further, it’s the type of album that can take a casual Power Metal listener and entertain or perhaps even inspire.
That’s certainly what I walked away from this album with. Speaking of cardio, It’s, without doubt, a FANTASTIC listen to while going for a run or riding the family dog around the house with a sword-like object in hand. You must go into it with some suspension of disbelief or it’ll come off sounding overly cheesy and that frankly isn’t a problem with the band or the album.
Overall, Call of the Wild is an album full of bangers that doesn’t get old and spends far more time being fun than sniffing its own farts. POWERWOLF does what they do well on this release and it’s a welcome return from the three-year wait since The Sacrament of Sin. Listen to it once to get drawn in and a few more times to get rowdy!