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Their best since 2003's "Rheingold" - 87%

Nightrunner, October 12th, 2010

A new album’s here again from the legendary Germans in Grave Digger, and I gotta begin to say that it seems like this band is getting ’back on track’ again (I dare say so). After the real disappointer in 2005’s ”The Last Supper” and the not-so-much-better follower ”Liberty Or Death” from 2007, it was pointing towards a downfall of the Diggers. Luckily, they came back really strong last year with ”Ballads Of A Hangman”. And now that they have returned to the Scottish highlands again with this album, they slightly beats the "Ballads"-album surprises us with their best album since ”Rheingold” from 2003.

This album has been promoted as a loose sequel to their classic album ”Tunes Of War”. And well yeah, I can get along with that, it’s just lyrics anyway, right? A new guitarist is on board since last album, Mr Axel Ritt, and it seems like a nice vitamin injection to the band. The new material sounds fresh and filled with catchy riffs, melodies and just songs, in general. Many of the songs has spun round and round in my head and still do. Axel fits the band like a glove and is just spitting out Pure Metal-riffs and solos all over the album. Like I said, a nice addition. Vocalist Chris keeps his voice in the lower and gruffy level for the most part of the album. He does a nice job (and also mostly with the pronouncing), although I really miss some of those high screams that were quite frequent on earlier albums. He could have squeezed in at least a few of them, I think. The backing vocals-gang does a great job and absolutely lifts the choruses an extra level, something Grave Digger should keep doing after the last years without those big choirs. The band in general makes a really tight performance as usual. Stefan is maybe still a bit too much held back with his drumming, but makes a solid work.
I wouldn’t call any of the songs ”bad”, but I will say that two songs are less interesting. The half-ballad ”When Rain Turns To Blood” and traditional rocker ”Spider”. Chris lower vocals doesn’t work too well in a calm ballad so the firstmentioned is the weakest track of the album. ”Spider” just don’t have anything special about it but isn’t completely bad either. A simple tune that belongs to GD’s lower standards. Among the much better songs and most worth mentioning we have my three standout favourites in the speedy ”Rebels”. Fast and riffy, varitating tempos and the albums best guitarsolo. We have the heavy stomper ”Valley Of Tears”. Rocking riff and verses and one hell of a catchy chorus. A song with fresh ideas! And also have the really cool song ”Coming Home” with it’s awesome intro, steady and groovy tempo and it’s epic chorus. (”The Piper MacLeod makes a nice introduction to it). The bonus track of the Digipak, ”Watch Me Die” should also be mentioned. Another great, simple and rocking tune that shouldn’t have been left out of the album.

So what we have here is a album delivering consistent material and nice Heavy Metal. If Grave Digger can keep this high level in their songwriting in the future, there’s many years left in these guys. And I believe it is just like that. The album is not better than it’s bigger Scottish brother from 1996, ”Tunes Of War”, but it’s still worth to be called it’s little brother. Any fan of Heavy Metal should like this.