Grave Digger is one of those bands who seemed to always have a few tricks up their sleeve. Their 2014 release, Return of the Reaper, was quite good and it seemed that the momentum would keep going. Just the fact that vocalist Chris Boltendahl has kept this band going, on and off, since 1980 is a major accomplishment. When I heard that they had a new release coming out I got quite excited. Would they be able to make an album as good as it’s predecessor? The answer is not quite.
While this is not a bad album by any means, it was a bit of a letdown in some area while some spots are pure Grave Digger metal. The title track kicks it off and is your typical Grave Digger fist pumper with a catchy as fuck chorus, which has always been a strong point for Grave Digger. “When the Night Falls” and “Lawbreaker” are also kick ass Grave Digger songs. The riffs drive the songs and the choruses are catchy and huge. I’m not the biggest fan of Axel Ritt’s solos he seems to pull off some good ones on these songs.
It seems that the album falls off after that trifecta of killer metal. “Free Forever” just seemed like a lost opportunity to me. The song opens with some nice melodic riffing and just falls flat on the verse, seeming to just plod along with no riffs nor direction. The chorus is strong so it’s not all bad. A rather frustrating song to say the least. Another frustrating moment is the five minute closer “Laughing With the Dead.” It’s a slower number that should have had those heavy as fuck pummeling riffs and epic choruses but it just came off as overlong and boring.
There are some other good moments on the album that should not be overlooked. “The Hangman’s Eye” and “Kill Ritual” are two good songs that seem to save the album from being a complete let down. Both are fast and rocking with some great riffs and solos. The lyrics are quite cheesy and, on the latter, Mr. Boltendahl sounds as if he’s summoning the late great Lemmy Kilmister. The chorus on “Kill Ritual” is also one of the better ones on the album that leads right into a blistering solo from Mr. Ritt.
The version I have has two bonus tracks, “Kingdom of the Night” and the rather fun hard rocking “Bucket List.” Once again, Chris is sounding a lot like Lemmy on there and just has a fun vibe. As I finish out the album it sets in that this is not as strong as it’s predecessor but still has some fine moments. Grave Digger are not going anywhere, anytime soon.