GRAVE DIGGER - Return Of The Reaper

July 9, 2014, 3 months ago

Napalm Records

By Nick Balazs

Rating: 8.5

review grave digger

GRAVE DIGGER - Return Of The Reaper

Grave Digger have returned with their 16th full-length album, Return Of The Reaper, 30 years since they started breaking ground with their debut Heavy Metal Breakdown. The German heavy metal legends sound as fresh as ever, possessing splintering riffs, vicious leads, and howling choruses that only these reapers can deliver. The guitars demonstrate a razor-sharp tone and sound perfect for taking down its victims as “Hell Funeral” revs up the motor after the ominous intro. Grave Digger doesn’t let their foot off the pedal until the leadoff single “Season Of The Witch” kicks in, which is ironically the weakest song on the album. “Road Rage Killer” is another standout speed metal fest and it is hard not to bellow with the ruff ‘n’ gruff Chris Boltendahl “I am the killer, the road rage killer.” The choruses are one of the highpoints on Return Of The Reaper as a number of them can rattle inside the head for days. The Accept-tinged “Tattooed Rider” and especially “Death Smiles At All Of Us” is very addicting. Axel Ritt pounds some meaty riffs throughout the album and the angry “Satan’s Host” establishes itself as the most aggressive and punk-fueled track that reminds of Motörhead and there is no need to adjust the speakers on this one as Boltendahl is spitting out “suck my dick” in the lyrics. The reaper closes its gates on a melancholic note with the fragile “Nothing To Believe”. After repeated blasts of high energy material, Grave Digger slows the proceedings as Boltendahl sings solemnly with the somber piano complementing him. Grave Digger is showing no signs of slowing down and the album is packed in at a healthy 43 minutes as they did not mess around putting together these songs. The album continues a strong string of releases from the Germans and anybody should not hesitate in welcoming the return of this reaper’s slayings.

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