Type: CD Company: Napalm Release: 2016 Genre: Traditional Reviewer: Eric Compton Published: 12/21/2016
The Teutonic German clan keeps focusing on tradition
Record number seventeen from these German veterans of traditional heavy metal. After a down period that stretched five years from 2007-2012, and quite possibly the band's most sub-par efforts, the group hit on all cylinders with the 2014 record 'Return of the Reaper'. In 2015 the band revisited some early material with a "new" album of revamped lost relics. Now the act have returned with another solid effort in 'Healed by Metal'. It's a dumb name but a good album.
The album starts suspiciously with the lackluster title track. The chorus is sweaty 80's cock rock that is a direct rip-off of Bulletboys' "Smooth Up in Ya". The track has a decent mid-tempo with a wallop groove that helps forgive the silly chorus piece. Moving on to track two where the album really gets going, "When Night Falls" is your typical speedy Grave Digger staple with a chorus that beckons in familiar material like 'Excalibur'...if I had to pull one out of the hat. "Lawbreaker" follows with the boom of a motorcycle muffler. Again, this is prime Grave Digger or Accept with modern production qualities. The end result is Boltendahl is so charismatic and "rough" that the song, albeit stereotypical, is just fun as Hell. The chorus is simplistic and furious simultaneously. I love it. "Free Forever" is backed by easily the most familiar guitar riffing in German lore. The song has a bit of "The Clans are Marching" with it's military drumming and slower march. The first half closes out with "Call for War", a little bit of the most recent Grave Digger sound. The chorus could be interchanged with a dozen or more of the band's prior anthems.
The second half begins with a charge as "Ten Commandments of Metal" (self-indulgence) as Boltendahl sounds like a maniac. Musically it's a mammoth slow burn but the chorus is a complete rip on the Beatles "Come Together". Forgivable, who doesn't borrow from the Beatles every now and then? "Hangman's Eye" is a solid cut that recalls the 90's era of the band. The songwriting is a little off with "Kill Ritual" and the chorus sounds like Helloween. "Hallelujah" is a groovy section with a slower start and a bombastic chorus of "Hallelujah" complete with the typical "hundred voice" gang chant. The standard edition of the album closes with arguably the best track, "Laughing with the Dead". It's a grinding Sabbath soaked cut with a riff that lasts for days.
There you have it, another solid effort from one of metal's rugged old soldiers. At this point you just can't ask for anything else. In a lot of ways Grave Digger are like a Motorhead sort of band. Continually putting out album after album and one can dissect and pick apart the discography for eternity. This one...hell, I could probably add six to seven cuts to my ongoing band playlist. Consider these wounds mended guys.
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 served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. 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.
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