Here is Powerwolf, once more repeating a formula they’ve since long adapted, and which can only be called theirs. With the blend of cheeky old school power metal and (early) Sabaton-esque fleshiness, tossed with the sacramental wine that are their tongue in cheek lyrics. The Sacrament of Sin is their seventh full length, and their first not to come within two years of its predecessor. Does this mean Powerwolf have invested that extra year in developing their sound and hitting new lengths of delivering the metal mass to the, well, masses? Nope. Not even a little. With Powerwolf, you get Powerwolf, and that’s honestly mostly good enough. Opening track Fire & Forgive is ridiculous and while tossing in a freshly squeezed idea or two is nothing new to Powerwolf, but by Attila Dorn’s beard, when that “we bring fire, sing fire, scream fire and forgive!” hits you will be converted.
The downside of the album is that it remains fairly shallow, with short songs and themes that don’t go deeper than a few deftly written verses. In this respect, they have not matched Lupus Dei (2007) - and likely never will - which had all that tongue in cheek lightheartedness while being almost sinister in darkness at times. The Sacrament of Sin instead follows that profitable track of high powered anthemic power metal with the explosive choruses that came on subsequent albums (and they do those damn well, mind you). They do step outside the already trodden path atimes and weave in different influences on The Sacrament Of Sin, while deftly incorporating the Powerwolf style born on the Bible Of The Beast (2009) album and developed further since. Lead single Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend has poppy undertones and is mostly wholly lead by Falk Maria Schlegel’s keys and organs to set a light mood. Killers With The Cross then seems almost old school heavy metal in comparison with cheeky riffs from the Greywolf “brothers”.
After the first four tracks, we come to Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone. This is an over the top cheesy semi ballad. That stuff has never been Powerwolf’s thing, and still isn’t - that just fails in about every aspect. The melodies are over the top, it’s too slow and never engages. Then comes Stossgebet, a mid album track with little to remember; wholly forgettable. This is, however, not unexpected. Every Powerwolf album so far has had a quality dip in the middle. Unfortunately, most have risen higher towards the end, delivering some of the finest moments on their respective albums (*cough* Night of the Werewolves *cough*), and while the album certainly rises with Nightside of Siberia and the title track and certainly gives plenty of fun power metal antics toward the latter half, it fails to come back to the initial dynamite that is Fire & Forgive and the following three tracks (which mostly is just an indication of the quality of those four songs).
Still, despite all this griping, The Sacrament Of Sin is an over the top love affair with the ridiculous stylings that Powerwolf have become so known for. The sound remains theirs, and except for the ballad and Stossgebet, every song has its own little twist to keep you entertained. While the Greywolfs never really get to shine there are still some incredibly festive guitar antics to be found, like the intro solo on the title track or the obvious fun as fuck riffing on Killers With the Cross. The guys are having fun and it shows, and even with the lesser tracks you still get higher than average quality power metal. Dorn’s vocals are as massive as ever, his impressive range shining strong on several tracks, from the epics of Fire & Forgive to the subdued mysticism of Nightside of Siberia, while the orchestral style of Schlegel’s keys keep feeling fresh and unique within the genre, even when taking the foreground. The Sacrament of Sin isn’t their best effort, but it matches what we’ve come to expect from Powerwolf since the past five or so years.
Standout tracks: Fire & Forgive, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend, Killers With the Cross