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“The Last Supper” by Grave Digger

Artist: Grave Digger
Title: “The Last Supper”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 01/17/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

For over twenty years Grave Digger has been giving the world interesting traditional sounding Heavy Metal and doing it by presenting each album as a particular focus. For instance with “Tales Of War” they focused on the history of battle from past to present and with “Knights Of The Cross” they delivered epics based upon the mysteries of the Knights Templar. With “The Last Supper” they continue the process and while there are a number of songs based around the life of Jesus Christ, the band maintains that this is not a concept album at all. Given the subject matter one might envision something along the lines of Stryper where the band is offering up praise with each and every lyric but instead Chris Boltendahl and company deliver more tales from the time as opposed to preachy messages and subtext. The album opens with the flourish of “Passion” before it hits you with a fist to the air track in “The Last Supper”, where Jesus is dealing with his betrayal by Judas. “Desert Rose” hits you like a train that cannot find the brakes and thunders steadily with the double bass drumming of Stefan Arnold and “Grave In The No Man’s Land” brings the pace down to a steady head banging crunch and each of these deal with topics outside of the main theme but there is a slight reference to faith and redemption tossed in. Musically this album shows itself to be strong as soon as it begins and Grave Digger are surely one of the best at keeping the sound of Metal true to its roots and many “Old School” fans will easily find that appealing in today’s rapidly shifting musical terrain. Melody and substance are the main focus with Grave Digger it seems and while everyone shows that they can play, there is no show boating or blistering speed duals going on as opposed to the delivery of a solid and memorable Metal tune. Chris’ voice is one of the more interesting in the genre because he is a bit of a gravelly voiced musician and does not hit soaring high notes, and yes with the riffing of guitarist Manni Schmidt (formerly of Rage) it seems to work out rather well. Fans of bands like Iron Maiden, Accept and old Judas Priest would definitely enjoy the output from Grave Digger.
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“Liberty Or Death” by Grave Digger

Artist: Grave Digger
Title: “Liberty Or Death”
Label: Locomotive Records
Release Date: 1/30/2007
>Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.5/5

It has been over two decades now since Grave Digger had begun to dole out the brand of Heavy Metal that is still quite pure and true to its original roots. Keeping it this way allows the fans of the “Old School” or “Traditional” format to remain interested and not lost in the very confusing outlets that have launched from this original formula. “Liberty Or Death”, the bands newest studio release after their killer and all-encompassing “25 To Live” release offers the listener a premise that is all related to battle and on every song we find the band charging into the fray like heroic warriors certain of victory against staggering odds. You feel the spirit of the battles in the Scottish lands on “Highland Tears”, with its powerful riffs and skillfully placed bagpipes. Vocalist Chris Boltendahl has a very memorable tone to his singing and is not much the high-pitched performer but instead uses a gravely register that works well against the crunching guitars. It is safe to say that Grave Digger plays Heavy Metal that a lot of us grew up with and while regions like Sweden and Norway are masters of certain genre classifications it seems that Germany is the master of the Power realm.
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