Interview with Powerwolf guitarist Matthew Greywolf | Photo By Tim Tronckoe
In a sort of neo-classical, post-thrash, “Phantom of the Opera” meets power metal dimensional cube from some European fantasy land, Germany’s vibrant lords of the folklore, Powerwolf, make sure to fill every crevice of their widening form with bewilderment and brawn. To be sure, the band’s totality is large: in sound, in attitude, and in symphonic spirituality. Bringing the thunder to the wanting masses since 2003, Powerwolf are somewhat of a cultish force, with rabid fans headbanging to every Hammerfall-meets-Andrea Bocelli number in dizzying loyalty. The band’s newest package, The Metal Mass – Live—out July 22 on Napalm Records—contains three live shows in DVD/Blu-ray and CD format. The massive release will have said fans—and not-yet-but-soon fans—raging defiantly hard to what the Wolf does best: howling to the heavy metal moon gods in striking fever.
“All three of the live performances were picked because they were special for us in a number of ways,” guitarist Matthew Greywolf explains. “Masters Of Rock Festival was the first time we played the songs from our latest studio album, Blessed & Possessed, live. Summer Breeze was a memorable moment for us, since we played our very first show at Summer Breeze 2005; back then, opening up the main stage at 10 in the morning. Now, 10 years later, we returned as one of the headlining bands at prime time, and that was a truly special moment in our career that deserved being recorded.”
With their trademark corpse paint, medieval clergy garb, and religious and fantasy themed jaunts, the band definitely stand out among a sea of symphonic and power metal bands, running headfirst in a direction dictated by curiosity, passion, and a sort of tongue in cheek tonality. The riffs are for real, as is the immensity and lack of care for definition. Powerwolf do their own thing. “We don’t care about labels, such as power metal or whatever. We are a band that plays heavy metal, period,” Greywolf emphatically notes. “I’ve grown up listening to bands such as Iron maiden, Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate, and Savatage; I never wondered how to label those bands, since they were just great heavy metal bands for me, and I still see it that way.”
Live, the band glisten in their full element, able to forge their visual and auditory tendencies into a quickening cement of bristling medieval madness. It’s a spectacle—and it rips hard. “I love bands who deliver a great visual show on top of the music,” Greywolf says. “To make that point clear, it’s the music that matters most and comes first. We are a metal band, not a theater group. But, if you take a look at those great shows, like what Iron Maiden delivered in the ‘80s and still deliver, it’s obvious that a great metal shows needs to be supported by great visuals.”
Add to those booming sights a plethora of fun, headbanging, and operatic numbers that will have you hooked and solid—and you’ve got the real deal. Powerwolf get dark, progressive, comical, and straight-up thrashing just as often as they get symphonic and theatrical. You’ll be whipping your head to songs like “Werewolves of Armenia,” “We Drink Your Blood,” and “Sanctified with Dynamite” at a rapid pace throughout The Metal Mass – Live, plunging headfirst into the fantastic dimension that is Powerwolf.