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Album Review: POWERWOLF Interludium

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What's all this, then? While a record being released featuring just over an EP's worth of new music might raise some eyebrows if done without some sort of clarification, Powerwolf have stuck the clue right in the name; Interludium. A special album that's half-and-half new music and rarities/B-sides, plus two bonus albums of orchestral compilations and covers by bands including Electric Callboy and Korpiklaani, it never pretends to be anything other than the name suggests.

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This makes it an entirely gratifying sensation when it starts out in full-throttle Powerwolf style. "Wolves of War" embodies small stirrings of the more folky elements of 2021s Call of the Wild before hosing it down with the patented "no small songs allowed" Powerwolf formula, meaning big effervescent riffs and frontman Attila Dorn's patented growl-by-wail on full display. After that, there was no way that Powerwolf weren't going to pay the cheese tax; "Sainted by the Storm" is a rollicking, Sabaton-style fist pumper that revels in all manner of gloriously hammy sea-faring motifs, perfect for swashbuckling or a particularly adventurous bath time.

From there the punchy earworms keep coming. "No Prayer At Midnight" will have you slamming the table along to the immensely chantable chorus, even if the rest of the track feels a little cowed by the larger than life pieces surrounding it. It does pay testament to how good follower "My Will Be Done" is, though, a thundering beast of a track that showcases Dorn's showstopping range once more, whether it's belting out choice Latin phrases or powering an infectious chorus right into the deepest part of your brain.

"Altars on Fire" treads a little too closely to previously released track "Incense and Iron" from 2018s Sacrament of Sin for it to go without being noticed; when there are only six new songs on offer it does get noticed. Thankfully, "Wolfborn" raises the stakes again at the end, a zippy number that opens up into a huge, organ-driven bridge that is equal parts ostentatious and well-crafted.

The four additional tracks are scattered pieces from the Powerwolf back catalogue that, while they do literally make up the numbers, are still interesting deep cuts worth the listen if you haven't stumbled across them before. Stylistically, they're a little jarring, given the decade span of their original release dates following on from brand new songs, but "Midnight Madonna" and "Living on a Nightmare" are just as excellent now as they were then.

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Filled with the usual blend of infectious hooks and big werewolf energy that epitomise Powerwolf, it's almost impossible to listen along to Interludium without a big smile on your face. It takes full ownership of its status and delivers some meaty chunks of Powerwolf good stuff that will thrill those who know exactly what they're getting into here. This is undoubtedly a release for the fans, but the fans are going to absolutely love this.

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