GRAVE DIGGER - Healed By Metal
January 11, 2017, a year ago
The album title is shouted, a cappella, twice, to kick off the latest from the Teutonic institution. While his mop is now gray, has mainstay Chris Boltendahl found the fountain of youth? This guy hasn't changed in decades! While the last couple of original alums have gradually pushed Grave Digger back into an ‘80s speed metal mentality, apparently the re-recording of vintage tracks for their Exhumation – The Early Years CD pushed them over the edge (in a good way). There's barely a breathable moment on the ten blistering creations (expanded edition includes a pair of extras: “Kingdom Of The Night” and “Bucket List”). The lone exception, as usual, is the “Laughing With the Dead” finale, where the gravel throated Boltendahl again croons to a more pedestrian pace.
“Free Forever” has a brief acoustic interlude, mid-stream, in addition to an Alestorm gang vocal sing-along. Axel Ritt's flashy guitar is all over audience pleasing big chorus anthems like “Call For War”. Some might look askance at the bravado of “Ten Commandments Of Metal”, “Kill Ritual” or the title cut, but the faithful, particularly overseas will devour it faster than a pack of starving hyenas. Best of the bunch are the blazing “When Night Falls”, motorcycle begun “Lawbreaker” and aforementioned old school approved “Kill Ritual”, although there's really not a bad one in the tradition-minded bunch. Sadly, it's over too quickly, as most are under 3:30 in duration and nothing eclipses four minutes!
Simple metal, simply metal, simply marvelous!