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Second Run - 51%

OzzyApu, December 29th, 2010

The second of three demos, Born Again comes right after the first demo and a line-up shift. Boltendahl drops bass duties and the last drummer bailed, so two new members were brought on board. A new batch of songs, a sort of stable line-up, and a demo to feature them; chance of success? I’d say decent since some of these songs are pretty cool, but overall this isn’t impressive or anything I’d come back to, obviously. A demo remains a demo, but like the last one, this pushes even further into becoming a full-length.

The song lengths are a little longer than I would hope (although par for Grave Digger as a whole). Two tracks are under four minutes (barely), and the rest peak within seconds of each other at over five and a half minutes each. Some songs from the last demo and most from this one are featured on the full-length in better form, but these early version aren’t a bad bargain. “Live To Die” is a rocking riff charger with a post-punk tone, “Legion Of The Lost” is a doomy / semi-thrash fiend, “House Of Horror” is mid-paced hard rock, “Heavy Metal Breakdown” never slows down with the riff assaults, and the other two are a mix of the previous four.

In short, that’s how this demo plays out, and all of it sounds sort of Black Flag-esque. By this I mean you have a sort of produced (by ‘80s standards) album that’s still primitive and unrefined (deficient mastering). There isn’t any real fuzz or piercing noises that a lacking budget would bring in, and regardless of riffs, this demo has a punk feeling to it. All the instruments are balanced in mixing, but also fat and subdued a little. Nothing’s crystal clear or drowned out, either. Boltendahl’s raucous yells or possessed cleans are a tad lower than everything else, but his energetic performance (like the rest of the band) keeps this demo from sounding uninspired.

Grave Digger’s first demo I recommend, but this one I advise you to hear as well. It’s a better package overall, and even though a full-length would serve as a better introduction, there’s a touch from a demo that full-lengths don’t hold. Think of this as an earlier debut album (essentially what it is) and that’ll give you an excuse to check this out.