Powerwolf – The Monumental Mass: A Cinematic Metal Event

The Monumental Mass A Cinematic Metal Event Album Cover Art

Powerwolf – The Monumental Mass: A Cinematic Metal Event
Napalm Records
Release Date: 08/07/22
Running Time: 01:17:00
Review by Simon Black

I’ve really blown hot and cold over the whole live stream phenomena in the last three years. At the time I was happy to grab at them eagerly, since getting to an actual gig seemed an unlikely event for a while and even as things have improved, I have still had to remain cautious with regard to live events, having family members working in health care settings to be mindful of. As time has passed and I’ve crept out to the real thing occasionally, my attitude has become less supportive, albeit appreciative for the fact they kept us sane during that period, but if I never saw one again (in normal circumstances at least) I would not be too sad. I’ve also got a little annoyed that bands have been releasing the recordings of these as a cheap catch-up release, given that many of them don’t really translate well from their original setting and that the recordings are usually as flat as a pancake compared to most live events, given that they’ve been recorded on sound stages that lack the natural acoustics and anergy of a crowd for the band to fire off of. That means that no matter how well the sound is captured, or how good the performances of the players, that they usually leave one wanting a lot more.

So now I have to eat my words…because this beauty throws everything I have just said out of the window.

Powerwolf released what is probably their biggest and best album “Call of the Wild” in the middle of the pandemic with no opportunity to tour it, so a live stream made sense – but this one is very, very different from most. For a start it was quite late on in the pandemic, but then a quick look online at the snippets that are available on YouTube instantly shows why, this is so much more than five guys effectively recording a rehearsal. The norm is to pop the band in a sound stage with the cameras up close and let the music do the talking, occasional bum notes and all, but Powerwolf never do things by half and this release is no exception. For a start, it’s more like a full form music video than a live stream show. Although the band are playing and recorded as live, there’s an awful lot of staging, effects, theatrics and props, with the band going full out to put the kind of show that you expect when their headlining a decent size arena, which let’s face it they would probably have been doing had the pandemic not screwed things up. This goes some way to explaining why this came out so late in the pandemic when originally available as an online event, given the amount of time and effort that must have gone into it.

With seventeen tracks divided into five acts, allowing for a lot of juggling of props and scenery, the band crank their way through an hour and twenty minutes of their finest material. What you do get here, which may well not have happened with a tour is that the material from “Call of the Wild” gets a thoroughly good airing with four tracks from that album (plus ‘Demons Are A girl’s Best Friend’), but then although this is quite hard to discern from an audio only recording, the band had weaved all this material into a semi-coherent story, although I guess this is more obvious with the visuals. 

I guess you really need to watch rather than just listen, but this still manages to surprise as it’s Powerwolf turning everything up to eleven again, despite the constraints of the format. What for me makes it work, is that unlike nearly every other pandemic filler, this sounds large, expansive and, yes, cinematic. The sound on most live streams is normally dreadfully flat, but this sounds as rich, fat and dripping with reverb as their studio albums or live shows and consequently takes you shamelessly into their arms and the time just passes. I started listening with pencils sharpened, but now have found totally enjoying this piece, and yes, wondering where I can get my hands on a Blu-Ray version.

‘Venom Of Venus’ Official Video


Chapter I – Temptation
01. Prologue / Monumental Mass Theme
02. Faster Than the Flame
03. Venom Of Venus
04. Stossgebet
05. Demons Are A Girl‘s Best Friend

Chapter II – Sin 
06. Dancing with the Dead
07. Cardinal Sin
08. Resurrection By Erection
09. We Drink Your Blood
10. Glaubenskraft

Chapter III – Confession
11. Fire & Forgive
12. Beast of Gévaudan
13. Incense & Iron
14. Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone

Chapter IV – Forgiveness
15. Amen & Attack
16. Army of the Night
17. Blood for Blood (Faoladh)
18. Armata Strigoi
19. Epilogue / Monumental Mass Theme

Charles Greywolf – Bass, Guitars
Matthew Greywolf – Guitars
Falk Maria Schlegel – Keyboards
Attila Dorn – Vocals
Roel van Helden – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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