|Grave Digger - The Grave Digger
22 October 2001
01. Son Of Evil
02. The Grave Digger
04. Scythe Of Time
05. Spirits Of The Dead
06. The House
07. King Pest
08. Sacred Fire
09. Funeral Procession
10. Haunted Palace
12. Black Cat [digipak bonus]
13. Running Free [Iron Maiden cover] [Japanese bonus]
14. Starlight [Accept cover] [limited edition bonus]
This is the exceptional masterpiece, Grave Digger's: 'The Grave Digger' darker and more aggresive than anything that has been released before under the flag of Chris Boltendahl and his metal comrades. Adding with the fresh and raw riffing of Manni Schmidt who formerly played with Rage, we hold here the most terrific power metal album ever. It is a hommage to the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, there are certain popular topics to be found again, such as The Raven, The Fall Of The House Of Usher and The Black Cat. Edgar Allan Poe's works seem to be good materia to make metal songs of it, thinking of Iron Maiden - Murders In The Rue Morgue, Stormwitch - Masque Of The Red Death and probably lots of others I haven't heard yet. Now it's Grave Diggers turn to proceed.
Of course I would recommend the album as a whole, but if you want a sample only you should certainly try 'King Pest', 'The House', 'Spirits Of The Dead' or 'The Raven'. As much as it is concerned that GD have always been rather dark, mystical, historical, deglamourizing, raw and badass (instead of the usual triumph and glory thingie going on in the power genre) this is by far the darkest, rawest release of it's kind, driving the whole thing to the edge with the deep throat singing of Chris Boltendahl. Thus making 'The Grave Digger' as a whole album not only a highlight in GD's history but in power metal in general, still not being of any extremer genre. I don't know myself how inspirational the reading of Poe's works is, but if he had lived in these days he should truly consider himself honoured by this tribute in metal. Talking about extremes and darkness as neccessary evil to be this good, the music is not lacking melody in any way. Melodic lines, licks and the keyboard work is what keeps everything within the boarders of power metal. The typical Grave Digger elements are still hearable everywhere (also regarding the album stands in line as the fourth of five concept albums in a row until this year), differing in few ways comparing to earlier releases, but this far... the rest you should consider yourself.
Aware of the cheesecrust of slaying dragons and other moments of glory Grave Digger have -throughout their career- avoided the image that is typical of power metal bands in general and most especially of german power metal bands (Blind Guardian, GammaRay, Iron Saviour and the likes of them, no offence and not willing to generalize (if possible)). This is one of the darkest pieces of true teutonic steel and therefore a very special masterpiece which I worship more than any other contemporary power metal albums. To me the absolute climax in Grave Digger's discography unmatched by the later release of 'Rheingold' and standing out over earlier albums: 10 points.