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At this point, Grave Digger is frankly abrasive in its adherence to its particular sonic formula. The first three Grave Digger albums encapsulate everything right and everything wrong with the 80s German speed metal scene. On one hand, we have that unholy, but oh so divine, marriage of speed and thrash. On the other? An utter lack of creativity and a suffocating dearth of variety that relegated so many of these bands to obscurity.
If you have heard any Grave Digger from this era you know what to expect, so this review is going to be short. The material on display here is on par with Witch Hunter, so slightly weaker than the debut. One divergence, notable in its adumbration of later historically based albums to come, from the musical stagnancy springs from the lyrics. Grave Digger tackles a small trilogy about the dropping of the atomic bomb, a topic that stands in contrast to their more prevalent Manowar-esque lyrical compositions.
Apart from this trilogy (which is really only different lyrically), Grave Digger does nothing but pound out “efficient” (to borrow Gabometal’s germane term) speed metal number after speed metal number. They only stop for the “ballad,” “Love is Breaking My Heart” which allows Grave Digger to exercise some mellower ideas, ideas refined and better incorporated in their later material.
I question how a band like Grave Digger manages to sellout as they would for a short time after this album, but perhaps the answer lies in their lack of evolution. Maybe the thought was if not progression, regression!
Well Grave Digger turned out one hell of an album in 86.
The opening track, Keep on Rocking, pretty much sets the stage for most of the album. The song is solid speed metal, complete with pretty catchy riffs and vocals. The song also has a great solo. Great opening song. Heaven Can Wait has a heavy midpaced opening. The song is a solid midpaced headbanger with good riffs and a catchy chorus. Fire in Your Eyes picks the speed up again. Great opening riff on this one. Then off we go on another fast as hell speed metal offering. Great song. Let Your Heads Roll is another solid midpaced cruncher of a song with another great chorus. Pure Accept worship on this one. Love is Breaking my Heart is a ballad, but it's done very well. It might seem a little out of place on the album, but it has some great melodic ideas, and a great solo. Paradise is another solid slab o' speed metal. (Enola Gay) Drop the Bomb speeds up even more. Boltendahl really belts out some of these lyrics, very catchy chorus. Fallout is a little faster than it's other mid-paced counterparts, and as with those songs, is Accept worship in all it's glory. Solid song. Playin' Fools is solid fast paced heavy metal. The album ends with The End which is a little haunting atmospheric outro.
Overall the songs on here are killer 80's speed metal or "Acceptish" headbanging midpaced tunes. The lone ballad is pretty well done, and what we are left with is one solid album with no real bad track. If your a fan of 80's German speed metal go pick this up.
This isn't a full concept release, though the seond half of the album tells the story about the Enola Gay, when it dropped the atomic bomb over the Japanese town of Hiroshima. Grave Digger's lyrical interests in songs about war was undeniably noticable ever since their first album. Now, they have put the subject together into story told within 3 songs: 'Paradise', 'Enola Gay (Drop The Bomb)', and 'Fallout'. (I'm not too sure if the last tracks, 'Playin' Fools' and 'The End' have anything to do with the story, I can't find any lyrical relation.) The overall sound is slightly better than 'Witch Hunter', including an unbelievable amount of catchiness that lacked on the previous release, and would define the 'extreamly heavy, yet catchy' Grave Digger sound in later albums to come. Still though, the sound isn't as vicious or as hard hitting as the debute. In fact, it's far more polished than the last 2 releases, still keeping the same amount of heaviness. Once again, GD does another heavy metal ballad, and a much better effort this time as opposed to 'Love Is A Game', on WH. And perhapse even a 'tad' bit more enjoyable than 'Yesterday', only due to it's beutiful piano work in the begining, letting it fade into the heaviness. 'The End' is an outro, Grave Digger's first time including any sort of intro/outro on an album of their's.
Pretty damn good album, catchy and heavy, most likley to please any metal fan. Even though the concept attempt appears a bit amature when compared to let's say...'Tunes Of War' or 'Knights Of The Cross', it was only experimentation with the band at the time and is still worth a good listen.
Best songs: Keep On Rockin', Heaven Can Wait, Love Is Breaking My Heart, Paradise