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A Look Back - 64%

OzzyApu, December 29th, 2010

Those that want the gist of Grave Digger’s ‘80s career would do well giving this compilation a listen. Don’t mind the atrociously bland cover art and instead dive headfirst into heavy / speed metal songs that’ll overload your senses. Packed in this is nothing but riffs, crudeness, primitive urges, and ‘80s vibes all over the place. Seventeen tracks are not uncommon for a compilation such as this, but the lack of a whole lot of variety might make this release wear a little on listeners. There’s enough to keep a fan interested, but otherwise I’d bet on one of the full-lengths accomplishing more.

New comers get a taste for Grave Digger’s early hits like “Heavy Metal Breakdown” and the sing-a-long “Shoot Her Down”, both complete with riffs that’ll tear up the speakers. The production for these songs is all within the same kind of range: clear, loud, efficient, a little metallic, and unrefined. The songs from War Games (“Keep On Rockin’”, “Paradise”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “(Enola Gay) Drop The Bomb)”) are more balanced than tracks from the debut. At their expense, they also sound drier, even though the music is more or less the same aggressive (but fun) speed / heavy metal. Grumbly bass, coarse riffs, harmonic leads, Chris’ psychotic wails (think a little harsher than Halford [Judas Priest]), and bold drumming [snare sounds like a fat electronic beat) sum up Grave Digger’s sound during this era.

Not all of these tracks sound the same, but similar formulas exists for each one with little improvements. A few tracks are inserted that weren’t on the full-lengths, such as the “Shoot Her Down” single and “Girls Of Rock ‘N’ Roll”, which are more of the same spirited heavy metal. Oddly enough, “Girls Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” could have been a killer addition to War Games, with that crisp tone and ripping riff.

Although this might be hell to find today, this compilation serves a better purpose than tons of other compilations that try and do the same. It introduces unreleased / not-so-widely released tracks with songs from a specific era. I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re the “best of the best”, but what better way to enjoy a lot in one release for one price? Fans unsure about which ‘80s full-length to choose can hear this and make up their mind, while those already in the Grave Digger camp can pretty much skip this.