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Grave Digger - Liberty Or Death

Published Dec. 19 2006

=Staff's pick

Liberty Or Death
Ocean Of Blood*
Highland Of Tears
The Terrible One*
Until The Last King Died
March Of The Innocent
Silent Revolution
Forecourt To Hell*

Genre Heavy Metal
Chris Boltendahl
Tracks 10
Manni Schmidt
Runningtime 56 Min.
Label Locomotive Records
Jens Becker
Release 12 Jan. 2007
Stefan Arnold
Country Germany
HP Katzenberg
Similar artists ---

The faithful servants in the name of what I think is the definition of real true and classic metal strike us with yet another full length album, and it sounds exactly as you expect, and that I mean in a positive way. It is almost ridiculous to demand that a trademark as strong and worked in as Grave Digger's should be tampered with or be reworked in any way. There are new riffs, new refrains and consequently new songs but the traditional sound stays intact, and I enjoy almost every second of it. I just don't really love it this time.

Production-wise it is almost identical to the past three albums and especially The Last Supper (2005), but more powerful and heavy production-wise than Rheingold (2003) and not so dark as The Grave Digger (2001). Generally, their sound has been more or less intact and consistant the past two decades and it is remarkable how Boltendahl's voice seems to only get better as time passes, at least on the albums. The beginning of this album follows the pattern of the previous one since it starts with the titletrack which is a slower and epic one. It is followed by a few uptempo ones, or rather mercilessly grinding on in an unmistakable Grave Digger way. The first half of the album is more intense with songs that are perhaps not really fast, but very distinct and driven forward by double bass drums and razorsharp riffs.

There is unfortunately in the second half of the album, even though it is melodic and majestic, a bit too much emphasis on the epic touch for my likings. I simply think that Grave Digger comes out best uptempo and this time the ratio between uptempo and slower songs is too low. Many songs kick-start with a furious riff and keeps it up for a while but somehow along the way they fade out to a more epic and laid back tune for every half minute that passes. On this album we also find something that I do not find often on a Grave Digger album: a song that is plain boring. Until The Last King Died they might as well have left on the sketch board.

The album contains quite a few high quality songs but strangely enough no standing-out "hit songs". It works best in songs like The Terrible One where the guitar keeps chugging on during the refrain just as in the verse. The album also loses a bit of its momentum during a part in the middle with the slower and not so interesting March Of The Innocent and Silent Revolution, where the latter has a melodic refrain in the vein of Alice Cooper and/or Lordi, and is a bit unusual for Grave Digger. But the rest of the songs, especially Shadowland (despite a questionable refrain) and Forecourt To Hell (brilliant riffing), save the album and make it land on a decent grade. Many individual songs however tend to lose momentum at times during verses more than I remember them to do in the past. That is something that has bugged me a tiny bit on all albums but here it is a bit more apperant than usual.

Despite the listed downpoints, which don't make the album bad but just less intense than desired, it is as solid a release as any from Grave Digger the past 10 years. It just don't have the right bite to it, and the right "go", that would make it able to rise above many of the other albums. As a faithful fan, I doubt that you will be exstatic but you will certainly be satisfied. You simply can't go wrong with a Grave Digger album.

See also review of: Healed By Metal , Exhumation - The Early Years , Return Of The Reaper , Clash Of The Gods , Home At Last , Ballads Of A Hangman , 25 To Live , The Last Supper , The Grave Digger , Rheingold






6 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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