Powerwolf: Blessed And Possessed

Powerwolf are nothing if not consistent.  Since the release of Bible Of The Beast in 2009, each subsequent album has raised their own absurd bar for grand, over-the-top, symphonic power metal.  The band has always brandished the Gothic themes and religious imagery on their sleeves and Blessed And Possessed is no different.  In many ways their latest record treads similar water when compared to Preachers Of The Night and Blood Of The Saints, but strength of songwriting and incredible production values help it stand as one of the best albums the band has released.

The biggest issue with every Powerwolf album following Bible Of The Beast is their sonic similarities across each subsequent release.  Many fans can pick or choose a favorite between their last four releases and none would be wrong, but the discerning ear can hear Powerwolf working hard to increase the stakes.  Blessed and Possessed falls into the trap of sounding much like their previous work, but unlike those albums the fat is trimmed, any extraneous elements are removed and weaker tracks were burned at the stake.  One major element that was a huge improvement on Preachers carries over to Blessed And Possessed, the incredible lead guitar work.   The Greywolf twins bring it big on this album and for once the riffs and solos shine along with the catchy lyrics and grand organ that permeates every track.  Songs like ‘Armata Strigoi’, ‘We Are The Wild’ and Christ and Combat are a blast to listen to, and will be having fans around the world headbanging like heavy metal werewolves.

Blessed and Possessed does become too formulaic at many points, with certain songs sounding so similar to past Powerwolf tracks that listeners may have to double take.  The mentions of Satan, blood, wolves, God, demons and various Latin phrasings are all here, and anyone who dared to play a word associated drinking game would be drunk by the first track.  The album ends on a slower, more atmospheric track much like the three preceding albums and Blessed And Possessed clips at a similar pace, clocking in around forty-five minutes.

What makes Blessed and Possessed great compared to previous Powerwolf Records is restraint, a word that is rarely used when talking about power metal in general.  Gone are the songs entirely in Latin, gone is the generic guitar tone and gone is any of the chaff.  Blessed and Possessed is Powerwolf at their most refined, it sounds frustratingly similar at times to previous records but the album is able to stand as a testament to how downright catchy and memorable a great Powerwolf track can be, and this album is full of them.  Blessed and Possessed may not be the bands magnum opus, but it is another achievement to add to their awesome catalog of epic, catchy power metal anthems.

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