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Dancing With The Dead And Other Stories: An Exclusive Interview With MATTHEW GREYWOLF Of POWERWOLF

By Wendy Jasper, Black Metal Aficionado
Friday, July 30, 2021 @ 9:58 AM

"All of us in the band have a fascination with the visuals in the Catholic church. We are not really religious but it is more about the aesthetics. I am really interested in the gothic architecture and the Catholic liturgy."

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German symphonic power metal maestros POWERWOLF are back with their latest opus Call of the Wild and it may be their most robust offering to date. In keeping with the religious historical themes of their previous work, guitarist Matthew Greywolf, guitarist Charles Greywolf, keyboardist Falk Maria Schlegel, vocalist Attila Dorn, and drummer Roel Van Helden, have created powerful visuals in their videos for “Beast of Gevaudan”, and “Dancing With the Dead”.

Matthew Greywolf cites their concept ideas as deeply researched and methodcial. “I think that this album has increased in style as compared to our albums from several years ago. We broadened our horizons a bit and have a varied concept of how the album should sound. While we still have that straight forward power metal sound that we are known for, we also tried variations of ballads and folk metal and I would say that it is more adventurous that our previous albums,” he said. The band’s album Sacrament of Sin was awarded “Best Album of the Year” in 2019 by Metal Hammer and the band has done as good or better a job on Call of The Wild.

The band has enjoyed success over the years with singles like “Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Killers With The Cross”. They have kept the religious ideology included in their thematic content but this album pushes ever forward with visual and lyrical content.

“The theatrical side of the band has existed since the early days and we haven’t changed that a lot, but it is rather like we are emboldened now, and we feel like we can go for anything we want too musically. In our previous album, Sacrament of Sin, those kinds of themes have been well received by our fans and songs like “Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend” became instant classics. We also were able to venture forth with our first ballad and these kinds of things have been pretty much out of the ordinary. That encouraged us to go even further on Call Of The Wild and be confident that it will still sound like POWERWOLF.”

The band has also worked with other artists on a catalog of bonus tracks with Doro Pesch and Alyssa White-Gluz leading the way in collaborating on updates of “Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone” and “Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend”.

The band’s creative aspect has attracted fans of all kinds and the band has experienced successful tours that not only have long term fans in the audience but there are many new faces and Greywolf touts the musical and visual growth of the band as factors.

“I think with the previous album our audience grew a lot. What we did in the past was extend ourselves and we did a lot of touring. Audiences have grown from tour to tour and it is great to see that. The videos are widely viewed and we think it is fantastic”, he said.

Touring was suspended during the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic but that did not stop many bands from using their time to write new music and make plans for when the world would re-open and tours that had been cancelled could be rescheduled. POWERWOLF took that time to work on the new album and visualize the aesthetics for their new videos and prepare for touring post-pandemic.

“We still have the first leg of the European tour for Call of The Wild scheduled for October and we still keep the faith that it might work, but nobody has a crystal ball and nobody knows how things will develop”, he said. “In the end all we can do is prepare ourselves and be ready for this once tours come back. We were planning this for the past couple of years and we will tour Europe and the U.S.. During the tour for Sacrament of Sin we played twice as many live shows as we had on previous tours. For example, we went to South and Middle America for the first time.”

The band has also been popular on the European festival circuit and they plan on hitting those as well.

“We plan to go to the festival planned with Wacken in September and that is the first metal festival to happen in Germany (after the pandemic) and we are scheduled as headliners and we are looking forward to that,” he said.

The most recently released video for “Dancing With The Dead” is visually stunning and was conceptualized in a way that had the band trying new things; and they literally and figuratively danced with the dead.

“The idea for the video was born of a little joke. We were talking about which song we wanted to do a video for and came to the fact that most of us voted for “Dancing With The Dead” and it was Atilla who said that we should literally dance with the dead. I was like, yeah, come on, how will we do that? So, we soon found that this would really be the approach to go for!”

“Taking it literally and having this dancing performance made sense because the song has a type of uplifting party sound, so we wanted to have this. Of course, because of Covid restrictions we couldn’t actually have it be like a party with a ton of people, so we had to go for another approach and we had a proper dancing performance; like ballroom dancing! When we talked about using "DWTD", Atilla said that when he was 15-years-old he had to be in a dancing class, and as soon as he said that we told him he would not escape and we would make him dance!” he said.

“I think he realized what he was talking himself into,” Greywolf laughed, but the finished product was supremely entertaining. “The director arranged for a proper dance performance, in the classical way, and Atilla had to be one of the dancers. It was good fun. Atilla probably had a good time. I was not present on the day they shot the dancing unfortunately because we had been shooting in Switzerland and they have very strict covid guidelines and only eight people could be present at a time. It was not possible for all the band to be there when he did the dance performance but he kept messaging me during the course of the day saying it was so fantastic and that he had such a great time.”

As of press time, the video for “Dancing With The Dead” has 1.4 Million views.

“This is a true story about getting the costumes and masks for the video; There are these skeleton masks for the video that look very realistic and they got stuck at customs coming from Russia and they (customs agents) thought they were real skulls. When they x-rayed the parcels, they wanted to have something official from the maker saying they weren’t real and so I think they got to the shoot one day before!” he said. “We couldn’t have imagined that but no one thought about it and we came very close to having to cancel the shoot. I am glad they got through!”

There has always been a thematic element regarding religious culture and the band is very visual both live and in video. The lyrical content is very in depth on all the band’s albums.

“All of us in the band have a fascination with the visuals in the Catholic church. We are not really religious but it is more about the aesthetics. I am really interested in the gothic architecture and the Catholic liturgy. I am the guitar player in the band but the instrument that I first learned as a child was the church organ,” he said. “It is what my musical education is. I have this fascination with this sound and in the church, it is larger than any place. There was no master plan for a concept but this is actually how we came to this (theme).”

It is created from scratch but it was integrated into the band based on Greywolf’s captivation and the themes work for this band. All in all, the band is excited, ready to tour and will be coming to a venue near you as Covid restrictions begin to decline across the world. You won’t be disappointed!

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