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Grave Digger - The Grave Digger

=Staff's pick

Son Of Evil*
The Grave Digger*
Scythe Of Time
Spirits Of The Dead*
The House
King Pest*
Sacred Fire
Funeral Precession
Haunted Palace
Black Cat (bonus track ltd. edition)

Genre Heavy Metal
Chris Boltendahl
Tracks 11
Manni Schmidt
Runningtime 59 Min.
Label Nuclear Blast
Jens Becker
Release 22 Oct. 2001
Stefan Arnold
Country Germany
HP Katzenberg
Similar artists ---

One of the best albums this year - and probably most part of the next year too - if you are into pure old school Metal. The highly desired followup on their masterpiece Excalibur shows itself to fullfill every need any metalfan would crave from a Grave Digger album. "Grave Digger without Uwe Lulis on guitar??", I am sure many asked themselves before the release, and I must admit that I was among those, but nothing could be more wrong. I would go as far as claim that it perhaps was a good thing for the band.

Manni Schmidt shows us that he has taken the veins of Grave Digger completely to his heart, and delivers just the kind of riffs that we want to hear when we buy a Grave Digger album. Somehow I think that the guitars sounds even smoother and more groovy nowadays, without loosing an inch of the heaviness - rather increasing it. After the beginning pianointro they make perfectly clear what musically direction this album has to offer with the excellent and catchy Son of Evil, which is a great singalong tune with Chris Boltendahl singing at his very best, and a distinct, compact guitarsound that goes through the album like a smack in the face.

It continues with a few faster songs that gets us in the perfect mood - the special kind you find yourself in when listening to Grave Digger - followed by a variety of midtempo and faster tunes in a perfect mix throughout the album. Overall the choruses and bridges are all very melodic, catchy and captures the atmosphere very good - by now they have closed their trilogy about the middleages, and are now mainly dealing with Edgar Allan Poe-inspired lyrics about England in the 16- and 17th century.

Even if it's used a little less on the previous 2 albums, the use of majestic 3-4 men strong choirs in almost every song just adds the last bit of perfection that could be asked for - every chorus brings us a powerful feeling with great melodies. There are a few more mid-tempo songs than we are used to with Grave Digger, but not even a fan of uptempo songs like me can possibly have anything bad to say about this release. The solos could perhaps have more to offer both in number and melody, but - that has never really been Grave Diggers trademark, so they are excused.

The only reason this album doesn't get a higher grade is because of the closing ballad - such things don't belong in Grave Digger. Even though it's a very good one with a majestic feeling, with Chris singing both in his normal, darker way mixed with highpitched ones. My beliefs that I still consider Grave Digger a name to count on for many years to come just got more confirmed. The fact that I in some songs miss a little bit of the tempo that we are used to with Grave Digger also slightly keeps the grade down. If you don't find your neck slowly but sure start to swaying back and forth to what these guys have to offer - then you don't know your metal!

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 , Liberty Or Death , 25 To Live , The Last Supper , Rheingold






8,5 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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