Tag Archives: jens becker

“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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“25 To Live” by Grave Digger

Artist: Grave Digger
Title: “25 To Live”
Label: Locomotive Records
Release Date: 5/9/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Grave Digger recently celebrated their 25th year as a Power Metal band by releasing both a live CD and DVD companion piece which was recorded during their trek to Sao Paulo Brazil in May of 2005. The recording finds the band in top form instead of some aging dinosaurs of Metal still barely chugging away. Since 1984, lead Singer Chris Boltendahl has led this Power Metal quintet into the record books as they release album after album of solid and true to form Heavy Metal. I have to admit that while I am a staunch supporter of the genre (especially the Traditional players) that I never really followed the career of Grave Digger. The lack of background outside of an album and song here and there made this release a pleasure to own and comment on for with the CD you get a whopping 26 songs. The sheer number of the tracks allowed the band to give the listener a truly career-encompassing release and it is sure to make the band some new fans on top of firming up the allegiance of their existing supporters. Manni Schmidt, Jens Becker, joins Chris and Stefan Arnold for the recording and the sounds across the board on this is very tight and energetic. There is some crowd noise but it does not overpower the Metal allowing the album to have an even mix and help make the listener feel as though he is at the show himself.
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“25 To Live” (DVD) by Grave Digger

Artist: Grave Digger
Title: “25 To Live”
Label: Locomotive Records
Release Date: 5/9/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3/5

Released at the same time as the concert CD, the DVD release for Grave Digger’s 25 To Live is really aimed at the completist since it is essentially the exact full concert that you have on the double CD release along with a small amount of bonus features. The concert itself was very good and you can tell from the video just how much the Brazilian fans were enjoying themselves. All through the show there was a massive response and interaction accompanied by chants of both “Digger” and “Ole”. The only bonus feature you get is a short behind the scenes film and that is what made me concerned about releasing this as a separate piece. Perhaps it was a business decision of the bands to give their fans two separate things to enjoy but with this release in particular I felt it should have been one deluxe package. The diehards will most probably want this but the casual fan will simply choose one over the other and this cannot be good for sales at the end of the day. Let’s face it, while Metal fans have been staunch in support of the bands they enjoy the money is just not there as much as it was years ago. People are being a lot more choosey when it comes down to it and especially when it comes to multiple things on their favorite artists. In 2005 we saw Anthrax release 4 unique CD and DVD packages and as a result with such an amount of releases far too many remained on the shelves.
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