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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Grave Digger - Return Of The Reaper Album Review (Napalm Records)


 

This German heavy metal band formed back in 1980, being part of the German high speed power metal to emerge in the early to mid-1980s. The band has toured all over and have released many albums over the three decades, and with their latest release, 'Return Of The Reaper' the heavyweights show why they still are at the forefront, with their best and darkest offering yet to be released via Napalm Records..


Opening intro song fittingly titled, 'Return Of The Reaper' portrays just that with its sorrowful piano and vibe, setting the theme of the grim reaper on his horse with the sound of hooves and screams, making it very atmospheric and then the instruments blast out!..

'Hell Funeral' strikes you with its classic 80s sound and has the makings of an hit anthem with its particularly melodic chorus and fast rhythms showing some stand out guitar work from Axel Ritt!

'Wargod' boasts good lyrics which are delivered superbly by Chris Boltendahl, who really has a voice to suit this style of metal! This one is heavier than previously, embracing the nature and context of the song by going on a wild rampage with its dark sounds.

'Tattoed Rider' is very old school sounding in a great sense; with sound effects to enhance this, such as sirens blaring out, and has a huge chorus which is a definite highlight and can imagine the masses singing out loudly! 'Ressurrection Day' opens immediately with technical complex riffs and features many brilliant tempo changes and transitions showing how dynamic and skilled the band are!

'Season Of The Witch' begins on a more mellow tone than we are used too, although slower paced they show they can 'execute' this wonderfully and provide great structure and arrangement, proving them highly worthy musicians and still maintaining a fierce sound! The gang vocals add more power to heighten further which has the desired effect. Another stand out track, especially as shows more diversity.

'Road Rage Killer' picks up the pace again quite appropriately given the title, and does so in a insane fashion churning out memorable riffs along the way! This one certainly packs a punch, or perhaps more apt, 'hits hard' and shows evilness at its best, with more effects of sirens to help give more depth! The morbidly titled, 'Grave Descartor' makes good use of repetition, creating a very catchy chorus which will 'dig' deep down into your head!

'Satans Host' opens on an evil laugh to set the scene and then all guns blazing dives into fast tuneful riffs which will have you headbanging, and again as you may expect contains some skillful complex guitar work along with strong gang vocals keeping up the momentum of the album!

'Dia De Los Muertos' translates from Spanish for Day Of The Dead which the lyrics reflect well and the chorus with unified vocals helps to show the celebratory side of the day and its meaning. 'Deaths Smiles At All Of Us' opens with fast haunting and progressive keyboards from H.P. Katzenburg before the rest of the instruments kick in and grim fierce vocals to compliment.

So we reach the end with 'Nothing To Believe' treating us to some peaceful and slightly woeful piano music with isolated more stripped back vocals from Chris, which are filled with emotion and passion before all instruments come into play for the chorus, making for a very powerful and ambient sound resonating out. This is a strong powerful ending showing all their best traits and excellent structure!

The band after all this time can still reign supreme with their true 80s heavy metal sound. Showing it at its best but with modernisation entwined, making it powerful and highly enjoyable throughout. This whole album is extremely coherent and flows effortlessly with every song keeping up the standard and momentum, but with their experience and expertise in their field this is to be expected! Grave Digger stick to their roots and pay homage to their classic albums such as "Heavy Metal Breakdown" (1984), "Witch Hunter" (1985) and "The Reaper" (1993) but perhaps even surpass this with its dynamic and unique sounds also. I think old fans and new fans alike will embrace this 'return' and follow them down their dark path quite happily!






 
Check out the bands latest new video for 'Hell Funeral' taken from upcoming album!



http://www.grave-digger.de/


Release Dates:11.07.2014 GAS, Finland & Benelux
14.07.2014 UK & Rest of Europe
15.07.2014 USA & CAN
16.07.2014 Spain, Sweden & Norway





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