POWERWOLF – Welcome To Mass!
July 20, 2016, a year ago
German theatrical power metal band, Powerwolf, has chosen some quality material for their first proper live DVD/CD release, The Metal Mass — Live (released July 29th via Napalm Records). This massive audio and visual package contains three complete live shows on DVD/Blu-ray — Masters Of Rock, Summer Breeze and the Oberhausen gig from the Wolfsnächte tour — plus two documentaries, videoclips and a live CD from the Oberhausen show.
“Two of the shows had more or less been planned for this release,” guitarist Matthew Greywolf said. “Masters Of Rock was the first one recorded and it was quite sure that we would also include Summer Breeze. The idea to add a third show came later on when we were on tour after the summer festival (season). We just spontaneously felt like it would be great to have a show of the tour included in the DVD as well. An indoor show in a venue has different dynamics than an open air show. So we ended up with a three show package.”
The band’s previous live album, Alive In The Night, was actually not a proper release, but appeared in the April 2012 issue of German Metal Hammer Magazine. While the band obviously knew these shows were being recorded, the members weren’t overly focused on how the audio would turn out.
“We didn’t think too much about it,” Greywolf said. “We just played the show and enjoyed it. And that’s the only way to play a really good show. The moment you know you are recording the show, you make it worse! Just enjoy yourself, enjoy the show and don’t think about that it’s going to be recorded. I think that’s what we did. There were some extra challenges when we recorded Masters of Rock show because that was the very first show we played back then when our new album Blessed & Possessed came out. And it was the first show we played with our new stage setup. So this was a really challenging moment, but it made the show really special.”
Recording and mixing a live album can be very challenging, and the desire to do overdubs is very great. However, Greywolf assured me that there were only minor tweaks to these recordings.
“There are some overdubs, to be honest,” he said. “But we didn’t go into it with a perfectionist approach. We didn’t do overdubs to make everything perfect, we did some overdubs to erase obvious failures. Because as you can see in the pictures, we’re moving a lot on stage. I don’t really care if I play in a perfect way, I care about being a good entertainer and delivering a good live experience. But if I release something on a CD, the perspective of the listener is different. If you’re sitting at home and watching the DVD and listening to the audio, you will have a different perception than you have than when you’re at the show. We improved (the sound) when there was some kind of obvious failure. But we didn’t want to do some weird Pro Tools editing and put everything in the perfect groove, because that would have destroyed the live feeling of the songs.”
The overall crowd shots on the DVD’s were captured well, while the audience participation sounds very vibrant. On some live albums, the clapping and cheering sounds either fake or subdued. Greywolf explained that it was important to capture the explosive vibe from the audience on these recordings.
“It was very important because a Powerwolf show is more than just the music and the visuals on the stage,” he said. “A Powerwolf show is about the interaction between band and audience. A Powerwolf show would only be half as good if there wasn’t audience participation. Because of that it was very important for us to also in the audio mix to integrate the audience during the songs. Personally, I don’t like live albums where I only get to know it’s live because in between the songs there’s some applause. What we wanted to achieve when we mixed the audio tracks of the album was to really give the listener the feeling that he’s in the middle of the audience in the show.”
Each of the three recorded shows for the Blu-ray/DVD are somewhat similar in the track listing, yet different in performance, sound quality and crowd response. Although Greywolf enjoys all of the recorded shows, he was particularly fond of the Oberhausen show.
“I personally enjoyed most watching the club show,” he said. “The club show reminds me of the vibe we had on that tour. The tour was a dream come true because it was perfect in every way. Most of the tour was sold out and it was a great atmosphere among the bands and the crew. It’s like a souvenir of this perfect tour. I couldn’t tell if the performances were better or worse, but having your own tour turning out in such a perfect way was why I absolutely love those recordings. It’s very hard to choose between them.”
Since Blessed & Possessed was released just last year and the band is still touring on it, Powerwolf has no immediate plans to write and record a new album until after this tour cycle ends in early 2017.
“We are a band that never works on new songs while we are in live mode,” Greywolf stated. “Right now the festival season has started and we have a busy festival summer. After the summer there will be more touring coming up. We have a tour in autumn and there’s another European tour scheduled for January and February. Probably after that tour we will stop touring for Blessed & Possessed, and will start thinking about writing the next album. But not before.”
With the upward momentum the band has achieved over the past several years, it’s hard to believe Powerwolf has never toured the U.S. before.
“We first wanted to make our name in Europe, and we’re still all about extending our touring territories,” Greywolf concluded. “We did a lot of touring in Central Europe the past few years. We do our first headlining tour in Scandinavia; we’ve been touring Russia. We will extend our touring territories step by step. There are still no concrete plans to come to the U.S., but you never know what’s going to happen in the future.”