Powerwolf: A Heavy Metal Mass On Holy Grounds

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Some bands spend their careers sculpting a masterpiece, an album that shapes a genre for years to come. Others will spearhead entire scenes, creating a cultural shift from their style. And some are simply destined to spend their lives playing concerts that kick ass every single time. Following in festival-headlining, arena-touring pals SABATON’s footsteps, POWERWOLF are fast becoming one of Europe’s most electrifying live acts. With 2021’s Call Of The Wild added to their armoury, and this year’s livestream album The Monumental Mass: A Cinematic Metal Event acting as stopgaps, what was it like returning to the UK for the first time in three years at Download Festival?

“We had a wonderful time!” Beams drummer Roel van Helden, seeking shade from an unusual amount of sun backstage at the festival. “The crowd was there, because we played pretty early and we’re not used to that, we were afraid that people might still be in their tents sleeping – but they were all there!”

All there they were, witnessing a heavy metal mass of biblical proportions on the Apex Stage. Whilst their early afternoon slot meant their pyromania displays were kept in storage, POWERWOLF more than made up for it with a set that could shake stadiums, getting the crowd to sing all manner of mad sounds. To be in a POWERWOLF crowd is to be part of a community.

“For us, we want to entertain our audience, and when we achieve that the audience entertains the band, and they’re the best interactions. We always try to do that, and at this festival we did it,” says keyboardist Falk Maria Schlegel, as Roel adds “It’s a back and forth, we give energy, they give energy back.”

Energy is the key ingredient to every show POWERWOLF play. Without it, they feel like they’ve let themselves and the fans down – so they treat every set like they’re going to war. Especially when they hit up festivals, where the crowds aren’t necessarily their own. “Normally you love POWERWOLF or you hate POWERWOLF, no one ever says we’re a nice band, it’s more like a love or hate thing,” claims Falk. “We come to festivals and there’s people that first of all are not convinced, and after the show, they’re always clapping hands.”

“Sometimes at festivals like these, you see people standing in the front row, obviously waiting for the headliner, just standing there waiting, and we look them in the eye and say ‘come on, work with me here!’ and we always convince them by the end, and they have a great time” adds Roel. “They see that it’s no gimmick, they see we’re having a good time on stage and that it’s real. We’re not actors, we’re just entertainers trying to give them the best show we can provide.”

Whilst POWERWOLF are no strangers to entertaining on our shores, from countrywide tours to sub-headlining for SABATON at Bloodstock Festival in 2019, but they’ve never played Download Festival before. How does it feel to have the chance to do their thing on the main stage of the UK’s premier rock and metal festival? “It’s a holy ground! IRON MAIDEN just played here last night, but they did some legendary shows here, so for us it’s an honour to be here” Roel says with pride.

“When I was a shy 14 year old, I watched The Headbangers Ball and all the MTV stuff, and there was Monsters of Rock here at Donington – THE ALMIGHTY was playing, SKID ROW was playing, and IRON MAIDEN were playing and I watched it again and again” adds Falk Maria Schlegel. “It was my ‘oh my god’ moment, I couldn’t wait to play there one day, I didn’t have a band then but that was always my dream to play at this holy ground of Donington Park and today we did!”

Download Festival is where dreams come true for so many bands. But the bucket list doesn’t stop there for POWERWOLF. With their biggest UK headliner to date taking place at Camden’s historic Roundhouse in November, the power metal warriors continue their ascent to becoming one of metal’s most sought-after live acts.

The Monumental Mass: A Cinematic Metal Event is out now via Napalm Records.

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The post Powerwolf: A Heavy Metal Mass On Holy Grounds appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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