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Grave Digger - The Last Supper

=Staff's pick

The Last Supper
Desert Rose
Grave In The No Man's Land*
Hell To Pay
Soul Savior*
Divided Cross*
The Night Before
Black Widows*
Hundred Days
Always And Eternally

Genre Heavy Metal
Chris Boltendahl
Tracks 12
Manni Schmidt
Runningtime 53 Min.
Label Nuclear Blast
Jens Becker
Release 17 Jan. 2005
Stefan Arnold
Country Germany
H.P. Katzenburg
Similar artists ---

The metal machine from Germany is back with a new effort, following up Rheingold (2003), which was an album I had to confess I overrated vastly at the time. The album quickly turned very flat and shortly after showed to not stand the test of time. This time I am making sure I do an correct analysis of the mateial, and the following is the verdict: First of all the production is better. It was a bit "thin" and dry on the last album, but now it's more juicy and clear and sharp. The song material sounds more worked through, and they apperantly felt that the last album did not reach all the way. The band itself attests this album to cover "more metal, more passion and more power" than the previous records of Grave Digger. I agree to that, but not as much as I had hoped for.

After the a bit creepy intro Passion, The Last Supper opens the deal with a gloomy and morose piano intro which turns into a heavy and almost below midtempo song with a simple refrain, that due to powerful choirs turns out to be catchy and saves the otherwise average song. It is followed up by Desert Rose which is faster and contains one of these classic Grave Digger riffs, but the refrain does not really stick out, nor does the verse and bridge. So far it feels like yet another Rheingold (2003): decent metal worth a few listenings, but a bit uninspired. Was this album not supposed to be heavier, with more power and more passion than the previous? It would show to be, and very soon.

The following song Grave In The No Man's Land is a minor hit. Midtempo, with a refrain where Boltendahl sings in harmonies he seldom, or never, have done before. A killer song, simply put, and now the album start to take form. It has not been bad so far, but it has felt like they have not been able to break free from the stagnation which they promised they would. It is followed by Hell To Pay, which is fast, straight piece with a distinct riff and chorus, and parallells can be drawn to a fast U.D.O song. Soul Savior is a classic, uptempo song with a good riff. The chorus have a bit of Knights Of The Cross-feeling over it, and it works very good. One of the best songs on the album.

Crucified feels like a natural continuation of the song The Last Supper. Midtempo with a mighty refrain backed up by choirs. In the first song Jesus was singing about his last supper and that he was awaiting death, and in this song he is singing about the actual moment of crucifiction. The mid tempo songs by Grave Digger don't normally catch my fullest attention, but this time the are more compact and rich than before, and are somewhat more mature, so they work much better than before. Divided Cross starts with a nice guitar lead which keeps running through the song, followed by a nice, crunching riff that brings us forth to a very, very catchy chorus. Classic Grave Digger with a modern touch to it and a very good song.

The Night Before keeps the pace up with a groovy riff in above midtempo, contains an adequate but average bridge and refrain. As well as Desert Rose, this song is short, does not have time to get going, and ends kind of abruptly. Songs that I suspect was left behind on Rheingold. Black Widows is once again a faster tune. Good riff and a catchy and powerful chorus, which stands out a bit since it is a little different. Hundred Days keeps the energy with a classic, galopping and good riff and once again a majestic refrain. The album is closed by the totally meaningless semi ballad Always And Eternally. This type of songs are not for Grave Digger. Conclusivly, it opens a bit tentative, has a very strong and long midsection consisting of 8 songs, and ends weak.

On the Rheingold album, the riffs almost started to sound a tiny bit more uninspired than what is acceptable. They used to be more varied and interesting within themselves, and be the most inportant ingredient in the music, but now they seem to become simpler and simpler for each year, and then I don't mean simple in a good way. When Manni Schmidt joined Grave Digger at the time of the The Grave Digger album in 2001, it sounded good and fresh, but the quality has decreased since. It is still typical Grave Digger style, and fully sufficient for the purpose, but it's more and more the same two-grip chord that is being repeated over and over. I want something more, and I know they can do it. I almost wish for riff master Uwe Lulis to be back in the band, despite the lowlife material he has composed for his own band Rebellion lately.

I feel that even though this is one of the better albums in some years, Grave Digger might not never really find back to the golden years of The Reaper, Heart Of Darkness, Tunes Of War and especially Excalibur. Nevertheless this is several steps in the right direction again for Grave Digger. Apart from the few average and too flat songs, it is by Grave Digger standards a good 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 , Liberty Or Death , 25 To Live , The Grave Digger , Rheingold






7 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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