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Grave Digger
Return of the Reaper

Company: Napalm
Release: 2014
Genre: Power
Reviewer: Eric Compton

  • Deafening cannonades



  • It's rare, and in this particular instance, a delicacy for me to eat crow. That term was used long ago to describe someone who admitted their mistakes and is now learning to live with it. I'm happy to finally write something positive about my favorite German band and possibly make amends with myself for scoffing at the idea that Chris Boltendahl was still in business.

    Longtime readers will recall my vatic utterances that Grave Digger were in fact dead and buried based on the validity of their work since 2005. After scathing reviews of "Liberty or Death" (1/5), "Ballads of a Hangman" (2/5), "The Clans Will Rise Again" (2/5) and "Clash of the Gods" (2.5/5), I can honestly say that the band have listened to critics and distanced themselves from the epic styled songwriting they have employed for nearly ten years. "Return of the Reaper" is the band's seventeenth album to date and what amounts to be their best work since 2001's "ST" release.

    Chris Boltendahl stated prior to the release that this record would harken back to the band's earlier days, with the sound comparable to 1993's "The Reaper". I would partially agree with that, yet I can hear semblances of the band's auriferous catalog of late 80s through the mid-90s. "Tattooed Rider" and "Dia de los Muertos" are more free spirited offerings that channel the Accept styled riffs that defined the band's efforts. "War God" and "Season of the Witch" are seismic tracks that recalls something more akin to "Heart of Darkness". The same can be said for "Grave Desecrator" and the thunderous chops of "Hell Funeral", both songs deafening cannonades that denounce the idea that Grave Digger have become soft with their age.

    By disarming themselves of the medieval and epic flair, this band have successfully re-invented the wheel simply by returning to their roots. Unlike the previous four records, "Return of the Reaper" is built on invective riffs and the band's penchant for hooks and gang-styled choruses. It's simple yet effective and could add some longevity to a band that had become complacent and derelict.


    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.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: GRAVE DIGGER
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Ballads Of A HangmanGrave Digger
    2009
    Eric Compton1/13/2009
    Clash Of The GodsGrave Digger
    2012
    Eric Compton9/26/2012
    Healed by MetalGrave Digger
    2016
    Eric Compton12/21/2016
    Liberty or DeathGrave Digger
    2006
    Vinaya Saksena7/6/2007
    Return of the ReaperGrave Digger
    2014
    Eric Compton7/9/2014
    RheingoldGrave Digger
    2003
    Eric Compton6/27/2003
    The Clans Will Rise AgainGrave Digger
    2010
    Eric Compton3/10/2011
    The Last SupperGrave Digger
    2005
    Eric Compton3/4/2005


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: GRAVE DIGGER

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: GRAVE DIGGER
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    Jens BeckerGrave DiggerEric Compton2/7/2003


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