F U L L . R E V I E W S
I've going up a half point on my rating to a 2.5 from my familiar 2 rating on Grave Digger's last two albums. Let's face it this band was on the top of my list of "who's who" back in the mid 90s. With masterpieces like "Tunes Of War" and "Heart Of Darkness" these Germans could do no wrong, weighing in with exhibits of pure metal excellence on at least six albums of their extensive catalog. Now we are in stagnation, lack of innovation and another example of how Grave Digger has become complacent with yet another "phoned in" album that does absolutely nothing to progress the band's sound or even keep it original or a tad bit interesting. The problem? Well its the same nagging injury that plagues Overkill, Destruction, Megadeth, U.D.O and tons of other bands. That is simply too much too often. Saturation. Over exposure. We are hearing from you too damn much and the effort you are using is just downright lazy.
Since 2000 this band has released seven albums, six EPs, two live records and three DVDs. That is a whole lot of over indulgence on media output. Sure, I don't have to listen to it and I don't even have to look at it but with that many riffs and songs coming out of Chris Boltendahl (he is the band by the way) there is no way this band can be original, interesting or fresh. "Clash Of The Gods" is the umpteenth band record, third for Napalm and follows the group's pre-cursor EP "Home At Last" (did you ever leave?) from earlier this year.
Grave Digger has become Wacken's spotlight band, provoking them to record "Metal Will Never Die" in tribute to the monster mosh annual festival. That song can be found on "Home At Last" and sort of sets the tone for this new album. We get plenty more of this stuck-in-a-rut riffage through eleven tracks on the regular release and then...gulp...thirteen cuts on the limited edition.
A spoken word intro called "Charon" starts the proceedings, a medieval narrative that should conjure pictures of a furry Liam Neeson. From there we here familiar ground on "God Of Terror", complete with Axel Ritt's pinch harmonics, galloping riffs and that huge epic chorus that seems to permeate EVERY 'Digger track these days. The same can be said for "Walls Of Sorrow" and "Helldog", both just spinning their wheels in double bass, galloping riffs and Boltendahl's same 'ole same 'ole vocal spews. I swear the band copies "The Dark Of The Sun" on "Call Of The Sirens" and damned if they don't combine two band names on "Death Angel & The Grave Digger", a cut which despite the bad name turns out to be the best of the bunch (thankfully for the fresh riffs, nice lead work and great lyric imagery). That song and the moody "Medusa" are the reasons this album gets the half point promotion. "Medusa" still copies from the band's older track "Circle Of Witches" but at this point who the Hell cares?
Shame on you Boltendahl for lack of motivation and the inability to foresee your own demise. This is another dull and lifeless Grave Digger record and further evidence that this band was dead and buried long ago. Throw some more dirt on the casket and pray the Gods don't overthrow it.
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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