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The Ballad of Mary arrives this March to again amplify the oft-impressive discography of Grave Digger. This little EP is five tracks of one new offering in the title song, which also sports the ever-lovely Doro Pesch to round out an already very good power ballad. The four remaining tracks are instrumental versions of two tracks from Grave Digger’s The Clans Will Rise Again, last year’s impressive Scottish-loving anthem collective, and one self cover of “Rebellion (The Clans are Marching”) from Tunes of War from 1996. There’s also an acoustic version of the title song, which is also quite nice. All in all, it’s a fun mini album.
When I think of true power metal I immediately think of early Helloween and bands of similar ilk, but for the modern era of said genre I’m not as versed as others within my self-segregation since it all sounds the same to me. This bombastic ‘loudness-for-its-own-sake’ drivel just bores me to violent tears, I’m sorry to say. Grave Digger, however, is chopping the waves of the mundane, spreading a line of not exactly epic, yet not in-and-out tunes that stick in the memory bank for a while after. The new track is really good, and that’s not just due to Doro’s immeasurable presence; even the ‘unplugged’ version just emits a powerful tone that is undeniable and uplifting in its perceived sobriety. The instrumental tracks, while literally just missing the main verse vocal tracks, are still brilliant and mark the sand with a tremendous amount of strength, literally putting the ‘power’ in power metal. I especially like “Coming Home”, one of my favorites from the last album.
I seriously don’t know what has happened to a lot of these bands today, but they’re missing a few key elements for true lasting effects (for my taste, anyway) and Grave Digger has it. When ‘loud’ is definitely warranted and used to its full potential it can be a ten-ton truck barreling towards a large, priceless cement edifice, crashing and scattering remnants of expensive rock and marble. Let me tell you, the Digger is loud!
Usually an EP is nothing short of a quick-shot cash grab to milk the latest album for all its worth, but this one is certainly worth picking up along your travels. Doro fans will dig it, power metal fans should ingest it every morning with breakfast, and traditional/NWOBHM fans will eat it up heartily as well.
(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)