The German Heavy/Power Metal band GRAVE DIGGER last released the EP “The Ballad Of Mary” (2011). See my review here. This was preceded by two solid albums, “Ballad Of A Hangman” (2009) and “The Clans Will Rise Again” (2010), the former preceded by the EP “Pray” (2008) as pre-taste. All of these were followed by the live release “The Clans Are Still Marching” (2011). This came out as DVD and DVD with bonus audio CD. I never checked out that release, so I can’t say much about it.
Now, inline with the previous studio releases, a new EP is out and this since the 27th July 2012. Titled “Home At Last”, it contains 3 new songs (of which 2 are non-album ones), the title track being the extended version of the original to be found on the upcoming album, and 3 live tracks (the three last tracks off the aforementioned DVD). Nothing more needs to be said, except that the upcoming album is titled “Clash Of The Gods” and is due near the end of August 2012.
“Home At Last” begins with the title track. It’s a classic Heavy Metal song, at midtempo. Catchy riffing guaranteed. Chris sings in his typical hymnic style with his raw voice. The song itself is simple, in structure and playing. The power lies in the chorus, which sounds voluminous and Folky. The obligatory guitar solo is also present, but it’s nothing fancy. “Rage Of The Savage Beast” is a promising title, the music however does not follow. No speed here, no aggression, nothing that is an indication of either rage or savage or beast. It’s another regular song, sort of MANOWAR-like, or HAMMERFALL. Simple stuff here as well, and rather monotonous. As before, it’s the chorus that’s the best part, especially vocally. Other than that, nothing really different from “Home At Last”. And last there’s “Metal Will Never Die”. Yippee, another song to hail Metal. Where have we heard that before? Sure, one should be proud and content to have such great music. Mind you, I am. But there aren’t many such songs that really deliver the goods. What’s the point in having another song like that? For the (Metal) gods’ sake… MANOWAR (pick any album), HAMMERFALL, ACCEPT, IRON SAVIOR, GAMMA RAY, JUDAS PRIEST, DESTRUCTION, MAJESTY, and whatever other band… they all have one or more such songs in their repertoire. It gets lame, sorry to say.
The three live tracks are nice additions, but Chris’s singing just doesn’t sound good. He needs to rely on his raw voice, but here it just doesn’t sound right. Ok, it were the last tracks off the DVD, but still…
To cut things short, and like the previous EPs, this release is aimed at the fans. The rather die-hard fans. Everyone else, just wait for the album “Clash Of The Gods”. I found the last two full-lengths quite to very good and I hope the upcoming one will be of the same quality.
- Home At Last
- Rage Of The Savage Beast
- Metal Will Never Die
- Ballad Of A Hangman (live)
- Excalibur (live)
- Heavy Metal Breakdown (live)
Chris Boltendahl – vocals
Axel Ritt – guitar
Jens Becker – bass
Hans Peter Katzenburg – keyboards
Stefan Arnold – drums