|Grave Digger - Knights Of The Cross
18 May 1998
01. Deus Lo Vult
02. Knights Of The Cross
03. Monks Of War
04. Heroes Of This Time
05. Fanatic Assassins
07. Keeper Of The Holy Grail
10. Over The Sea
11. The Curse Of Jaques
12. The Battle Of Bannockburn
13. Children Of The Grave [Black Sabbath cover] [Japanese & limited edition bonus]
14. Kill The King [Rainbow cover] [Japanese & South American bonus]
'Knights Of The Cross', the 2nd out of the 'Middle Ages Trilogy', when drums have never been so devastating, like on 'Monks Of War'. As the title says, this record tells the history of the crusades. Thus Grave Digger show the listeners another metallic episode in history: This is no epic record nor meant for such purposes, by the fierce power of the songs you may be able to imagine what king of battles have been fought and what senseless destruction has given both sides. This is all (in a generelized overview) about the muslim invasion of Jerusalem and the christian invasion to defend the holy land from the 'invaders'. Unbelievers on both sides, killing, destruction and lapses of the counterparts. A bit of story on Richard the Lionheart and more… all on one piece of metal on one album.
Lesson learned? But what about the music? Once again the band succeeds in topping the aggressivity of their last album, especially killing are the drums: turn down the volume before you listen over headphones or you will end up deaf by the 2nd song. The guitar work is again very convincing and has more drive than on 'Tunes Of War'. I don't know if any of the M.A.T.'s told stories is repeated historically correct, I haven't done any researches on that myself, but if they are, then Grave Digger have done great deeds once more. Introduced to built up some tension, 'Deus Lo Vult' begins with some narration. Fascinating speed on drums and riffs, but also great sound fx and some orchestral arrangements are few charactristics of the songs to follow…
For me 'Knights' is the second best album in the from one to three improving 'Middle Ages Trilogy'. As always GD manage to define their own new standards for each record: This time it is 'Lionheart', 'Keeper Of The Holy Grail', 'Monks Of War', the title track 'KOTC' and my personal favorite 'The Battle Of Bannockburn' (with bagpipes intro). Great stuff, but only the middle of a trilogy, it's final 'Excalibur' should become my favorite, but still not the best album Grave Digger made. If I'd go no and analyse the meaning of each song, I'd maybe take some years of studying the history of the crusades and then I'd compare my researches with the statements on GD's lyrics and then I'd say something about it's historical profoundness, but I have other things to do, so I just tell you that the music is fine. The convincing concept has taken me to buy all of Grave Diggers concept albums. The enhanced bouns track 'Children Of The Grave' is a cover version form Black Sabbath. I admit I really didn't hear them out, but there is some backing vocals sung by Piet Sielck (Iron Saviour), maybe it's the 'murder, murder' screams on the title track, but that I'm just guessing.
If you like Grave Digger you should get a copy of the whole 'Middle Ages Trilogy', for all three albums are great and getting better from the first to the last second. You also get some bonus tracks, that are not featured on the regular albums, but that can also be found on the solely sold limited edition digipacks. All in all the Knights Of The Cross album is highly recommended, solid work, hopefully historically correct and in general something to bang your head to and to think about. Metal can be entertaining history, history can be metal, metal makes history. An 8.0 for this attempt of keeping history alive.