Review: Powerwolf – The History of Heresy I (2004-2008)

Powerwolf - History of Heresy IOne of Germany’s biggest (or at least most successful) metal exports of recent years has been lupine-themed favourites Powerwolf. It’s surprising to think that they’ve been releasing material for 10 years now, and to celebrate it Metal Blade have put together an awesome “best of” package, with a fair few extras thrown in.

The box set contains:

  • Special sized embossed hardcover box, faint laminated.
  • 112-page hardcover book with liner notes, retrospective, tour and studio reports, all written by the band members. Loads of previously unpublished photos
  • Three cover sleeves
  • Lupus Dei CD including five live bonus tracks (actually, I have six on my copy…)
  • Return In Bloodred CD including three live bonus tracks
  • The Wacken Worship bonus DVD
  • Five photo cards with info on each band member

I’ve only got the music to review (boo) so I can’t comment on all the bumph, but I’m sure that it’ll be worth having for the completist. Given that the UK price is only £16.99, it’s definitely worth it for anyone who doesn’t already own the albums included. If you already own them it’s still not a ridiculous amount to “upgrade”.

Powerwolf’s most recent offering, Preachers of the Night, was one of my top albums last year. So how does the older material hold up to what was one of Metal Blade’s biggest releases of 2013?

Very well, in honesty. Return in Bloodred definitely has a more traditional, less “grand” sound to it than the band’s later releases. Listening to it, there’s no mistaking who it is predominantly due to Atilla/Karsten’s recognisable vocals. Certainly there’s the church-like tone to some of the songs, organ music being used to good effect and so forth. If anything, the musical style is a little more varied than what the band has settled on as time has gone on.

It’s good, and an impressive debut. While not up to the standard of later releases, I’m glad it did well enough for them to be created!

Lupus Dei kicks off in great style with crowd favourite “We Take it From the Living” (OK, not counting the intro track). Immediately, the sound is obviously a notch improved on the first album and what we now recognise as “the Powerwolf style” is firmly laid down. If you like their newer material, I’d be staggered if you didn’t like this one.

I’m not sure where the live material across both albums was recorded, but the quality is good as is the choice of tracks. Each collection (3 on the first album, six on the second) are songs which have their studio versions on the same LP.

There’s been no announcement yet, but it’s pretty obvious there’ll be a second set coming up sometime as well. I’m wondering what they’ll include in that extras-wise, but in the meantime this isn’t a bad price for what’s included. As I said, an excellent starting point for those who don’t own the albums already.

Release date is June 24th, but you can pre-order it via Metal Blade’s online stores (UK / EU)

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