Grave Digger – The Living Dead
Almost four decades of True German Heavy Metal – Grave Digger! When you think of pure and unadulterated traditional metal, you will at some point stumble over these German veterans that gave the scene such loveable milestones as Witch Hunter and Tunes Of War. The five-piece survived trends, ups, and downs and simply continued to deliver solid material. The latest example is called The Living Dead and marks the 20th studio long-player by these old schoolers who once more chose to record at Principal Studios. “The Living Dead” is a varied and rather catchy affair that reminds you of the band`s most brilliant output in the 90s. Grave Digger has incorporated a lot of timeless melodies and even cooperated with Austrian labelmates Russkaja for the rather exotic ‘Zombie Dance‘. The Germans will embark on the “Tour Of The Living Dead“ in 2019 and is another crucial step in celebrating 40 years of the remarkable band called Grave Digger!
It’s only been one year since the previous album, “Healed By Metal” (in 2017) from my favorite German rapier band, Grave Digger came out, and now “The Living Dead” leads the pack with their 19th (20th ?) heavy metal album in their multi-year career. So what does the band have to offer to us this time around? Well, as much as I love this band, the new album seemed to be suffering somewhat from inspiration. It barely fulfilled any of my expectations. The album felt rushed as if haste prevented the band from focusing on some remarkable ideas to create something really worthwhile. For a band such as Grave Digger, many have perceived them as stuck in cement with their typical sound, never quite stepping outside the box. I fear “The Living Dead” also takes a small plunge in quality compared to what their previous albums showed us, and is very likely to be among the lacking moments of their long-standing career. Also please take into consideration that I’ve only played the album three times so far, so there’s still hope that the full of it will grab me.
Veteran metalheads have already learned that for a band that’s been around as long as Grave Digger has been there’s always going to be that one day a weak release will come to the mix. Now that’s not saying that the new album is as such, I’m just saying I think it could have been so much more if given more time. In fact, “The Living Dead” has a lot of really strong section within the 11 songs offered on the album. They play their usual main style, which is nothing unexpected, the same great power metal with their simple melodies, that are still quick to catch. And the powerful chorus lines and the snarls in vocals. Jörg Umbreit produced the album along with Chris and Axel, but did the mixing and mastering alone, balancing the sound clarity.
The album opens with “Fear of The Living Dead” which sounds like a very creepy lullaby that leaves you feeling like you ended up in a nightmare, in a good way of course. The track demonstrates what Grave Digger does best, catchy guitar riffs and choruses that demand audience participation. Following this is “Blade of the Immortal”, that to me, could easily be mistaken for a Saxon song. “The Power Of Metal” sounds exactly what you’d think it would sound like, a metal anthem, but with somewhat cheesy lyrics. The same could be said for the rest of the album. The band delivers the pure and traditional metal their fans expect, but as I said, there’s just nothing that’s really outstanding or groundbreaking.
In terms of production and technology, “The Living Dead” presents itself as one might expect from Grave Digger. Lyrically it is about zombies, the fight against oppression, the horrors of war. Musically, the band drifts between dark, power metal and thrashy notes. To be honest, there aren’t that many traditional Grave Digger songs on this album, but we do have “Shadow Of The Warrior”, “The Power Of Metal” and “What War Left Behind” that can fall into this category. The album consists of several attempts to make some tracks more interesting, but they feel rather forced. The Living Dead is a strong attempt to take a different musical approach but it didn’t work out too well. Again, I’m not bashing this album, I really liked it, it’s just that I had hoped for something more, something a little different from all the others. I’d also recommend it to anyone into this genre, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a pretty solid album.
Artist: Grave Digger
Album: The Living Dead
Released: September 14, 2018
Label: Napalm Records
Producer: Jörg Umbreit
Genre: Heavy Metal, Power/Speed Metal
Website: Official Website
Discs: 1 disc
Reviewed by: Guest Review
Our Rating: 3.6 /5
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