Skip to main content

Grave Digger - Interview with Guitarist Axel Ritt




After reviewing German heavy metal bands new album, 'Return Of The Reaper' I wanted to find out more about the new album, as well as how the German metal scene has changed since the 1980s and more, as Grave Digger were and still are a big part of this. I put my questions to the guitar virtuoso, Axel Ritt.. 

After releasing an incredible sixteen studio albums since your formation in 1980, you are back with your seventeenth album, 'Return Of The Reaper' which was released on 11th July 2014, how happy are you with this new release and the response so far?
 

We are very, very happy with the result, especially because it was a lot of hard work to put the album where it is now. Fortunately, the fans are of the same opinion, because we got the highest chart entries ever worldwide in the whole band history! It’s awesome!
 

The new album pays homage to your earlier classic albums, such as 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' (1984), 'Witch Hunter' (1985) and 'The Reaper' (1993), what made you decide to do this and with that in mind, how do you think this release compares to your earlier material?

 

We thought it would be the right time to quit the concept album style and produce an album like we did decades ago. Raw, straight, heavy and pure, more belly, less brain. But in the most perfect performance ever, because the actual line up got a lot more skills than the earlier line ups had. We brought the best in all of us together.

 
As you have been together a long time and had so many releases, what would you say inspires you most musically and creatively to write new material after all this time?

 
It’s the permanent aim to get better and better. There’s always something left you can optimize in the next record. We get the inspiration in every second, looking what’s happening around us. It never stops …
 

You were part of the German heavy metal scene to emerge in the early to mid 1980s, how you do feel the metal scene has changed and developed since you first started out?

 
To be honest, it's not harder to break through these days, it's IMPOSSIBLE! Music is stronger than ever related to our lives, but as a newcomer, you can't earn money in business anymore, most of the bands are even loosing money with the band. The distribution of music via Spotify and Deezer for example is great for the customer, but legal burglary to the artist. When you are a young guy, you can live this life as a single person for a few years, but you will never be able to feed a family by performing your own songs in a band. Very sad, but true, we are the last mohawks who are able to live on their music ..

 

What was the recording and song writing process like for the new album? 


It’s the same procedure for 5 years now. First of all Jens and I will collect riffs. I myself for example composed about 70 riffs for the actual album. Then we’ll send them over to Chris, who’s putting lyrics and vocal line ideas to the riffs. Then we’re gonna meet in my studio to do the pre-production with some guide-instruments and a drum-programming, done by me. After the final arrangements, the drum-programmings will be replaced by real drums, I record the final guitars in my Meadow Studios and the rest will be recorded in the Principal Studios / Germany.

The album artwork is fantastic for 'Return Of The Reaper', and was created by Gyula Havancsák, who has been responsible for all of your album artworks since 2005's, 'The Last Supper', it must be great working with someone who understands your imagery as a band; how important is the artwork and representation of the band to you?
 


It’s very important, because the artwork is the first impression for the fan. It has to be the visual part of your music!
 

You are currently on your summer tour, how is it going so far and what new songs are you enjoying playing the most live? 

It’s doing very well and the actual songs of the new album are „Hell Funeral“, „Tattooed Rider“, „Season Of The Witch“ and „Grave Desecrator“. But there will be more in the future.
 

Then in November/December 2014 you are heading out on tour again in mainly Germany and Europe, how excited are you for this? And what can attending fans expect from your shows?

It’s always a great thing to promote a new album on the road, so it will be this time once again. The fans will get a complete new stage construction and some more specials. To to our show and check it out!

 
Following on from this, have you got anything you would like to say to your fans? 

Hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows!

 
What other plans are in store for Grave Digger for the rest of 2014?

 
That’s still a secret, wait and see … ;-)


Check out my review of Grave Digger's new album, 'Return Of The Reaper' here: http://carinasmusicreviews.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/grave-digger-return-of-reaper-album.html

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

GRAVE DIGGER Tour Dates:19.06.14 DE - St. Goarshausen / Metalfest
28.06.14 DE - Burkhardtsdorf / Rock im Zwönitztal
10.07.14 DE - Balingen / Bang Your Head Festival
12.07.14 DE - Burgrieden / Riffelhof Burgrieden
17.07.14 DE - Neukirchen-Vluyn / Dong Open Air
19.07.14 DE - Kierspe / Gut Haarbecke Metal Festival
14.08.14 DE - Gardelegen / Metal Frenzy Open Air
16.08.14 CZ - Ostrava / Fest Rockova

06.11.14 DE - Saarbrücken / Garage
07.11.14 DE - München / Backstage
08.11.14 DE - Andernach / JUZ
14.11.14 DE - Hamburg / Markthalle
15.11.14 DE - Berlin / C-Club
16.11.14 DE - Bochum / Zeche
20.11.14 DE - Frankfurt / Batschkapp
21.11.14 DE - Speyer / Halle 101
22.11.14 DE - Glauchau / Alte Spinnerei
23.11.14 CZ - Zlin / Masters of Rock Cafe
27.11.14 CH - Pratteln / Z7
28.11.14 DE - Regensburg / Airport Straubing
29.11.14 DE - Lahstedt/Peine / Black Hand Inn
05.12.14 DE - Lichtenfels / Stadthalle
06.12.14 IT - Milan / House of Ashes
07.12.11 DE - Ludwigsburg / Rofa


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

IN FLAMES Discuss Writing & Recording Process In First Album Trailer

On March 1st, Swedish legends IN FLAMES will unleash ther thirteenth studio album, I, The Mask, via Nuclear Blast (worldwide, excl. North America) and Eleven Seven Music (North America). After rave reactions from their fans for the first singles, the band unleashes the first album webisode, in which singer Anders Fridén and guitarist Björn Gelotte discuss the writing and recording process in Los Angeles and why they once again decided to work with multi-grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson. Watch the trailer, here: youtube.com/watch?v=U5yFhH9SArU

In addition, IN FLAMES have announced the first raft of names for their own annual festival, BORGHOLM BRINNER, that is due to take place on the isle of Öland in Sweden on August 2nd and 3rd, 2019. Prog masters OPETH as well as melodeath pioneers AT THE GATES and California's OF MICE AND MEN have confirmed their appearance at the two day festival. IN FLAMES will headline both nights.

The pre-order for I, The Mask as well as several exclus…

Band-Maid MCM Comic Con Live Review/Feature - Fringe Festival 29/5/16

J-Rockers Band-Maid make first European performance at huge MCM Comic Con

Band-Maid, one of Japan’s up-and-coming all-girl rock acts, made their live debut to UK/Europe at MCM London Comic Con, which took place from 27-29th May 2016 at ExCel London, hosting the UK's biggest Modern Pop Culture Event.


The Tokyo quintet who formed in 2013, consisting of Miku (guitar/vocals), Saiki (vocals), Kanami (guitar), Akane (drums) and bassist Misa – have been building quite a reputation and fan-base all over with their blend of cute yet deadly rock music and stand out imagery (appropriately dressing as maids) whilst they unleash and deliver their seriously skilled and striking sounds. The concept of the maid outfit aesthetic stems from founder Miku’s experiences in the maid cafes of Akihabara – the Tokyo district known for otaku (‘geek’) culture and passion for rock music.


Through their music videos they have been reaping success and gaining well deserved attention, especially for the videos f…

REVIEW: Spreading The Disease - Insurrection

Modern metal quartet Spreading The Disease from Kent, UK formed in 2014 and then earlier this year in September 2017 they finally unleased their debut album ‘Insurrection’ which shows they are ready to infect metalheads and critics alike with their no-nonsense sounds…
Opening song ‘Find My Path’ starts with a melodic and resonant intro before fierce vocals come in with hard-hitting heavy guitars, it then goes on to feature an effective stripped back section towards the end which gives it extra depth. This is a powerful and strong start to the album.
‘Words Unspoken’ is a thumping tune with great rhythms and is very headbang worthy and incredibly catchy, keeping up the momentum is self-named track ‘Spreading The Disease’ which immediately pulls you in with catchy melodies and is all consuming with mighty riffs and a massive aggressive sound.
Latest single ‘Greed’ is frantic and driven and features some of the best guitarwork so far and again is very belligerent and is bound to get the mos…