Released by: Napalm Records
Released on: January 13th, 2017.
Purchase From Amazon
Moving on from their last release of re-recordings, schnitzel and sauerkraut metallers GRAVE DIGGER deliver another platter of awesomely basic German metal.
You know that middle section of ACCEPT's "Balls To The Wall" when the whole riff slows to a bulldozing crushing crawl and lead vocalist Udo growls about "plugging a bomb up everyone's ass"? That's pretty much the entire raisons d'être of GRAVE DIGGER.
Sound wise, this one fits neatly into the heaviest end of the trad metal slot with the "kraut as fuck" caveat. There's zero irony to be found here with ridiculous lyrics like the Jesus resurrection inspired title track and one metal cliche flying out after another in the likes of "Call For War' which manages to string together never surrendering, riding into the sun, battle cries and FREEDOM!
The musical blueprint for the entire album is a pretty savvy Vulcan forge of JUDAS PRIEST's "Painkiller" and any record from MANOWAR's Atlantic era where they plied well-produced power metal with he-man riffs and ultra-goofy lyrics. One of the things GRAVE DIGGER really love is the gang style football terrace chorus - almost every track features this most metal move. Singer Chris Boltendahl has a great raspy grunt with a German accented delivery that just sounds super... metal. Guitarist Axel "Arrowfinger" Ritt loves the squealing Zakk Wylde flourish trick and that move gets a bit tiresome after awhile but otherwise he's a solid player. Tthe songs manage to avoid getting too samey by throwing in some neoclassical runs like on "Hallelujah" and the melodic midsection in "Free Forever".
The album's highlights are the pounding title track, the speedy and ultra-heavy biker anthem "Lawbreaker" with its awesome lyrics about "hanging around and cooling down" that is a spiritual cousin to the song "Painkiller" and the record's most adventurous track - "Laughing With The Dead" which goes for a moodier vibe similar to BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell".
Any fan of classic metal should dig this one. It's more fun than an Oktoberfest brawl, more metal than a submarine factory and more satisfying than a butcher's plate after a long day at the steel factory. Recommended.