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Album Reviews : Grave Digger – Return Of The Reaper

By on July 8, 2014

gravediggerreturnofthereapercdGerman heavy metallers Grave Digger are, we’re all thinking it, UNSTOPPABLE. 2014 has seen some pretty awesome albums being released, including the 17th by this five piece outfit, hailing from Gladbeck, Germany. The follow up to their 2012 release ‘Clash Of The Gods’, ‘Return Of The Reaper’ has all of the elements that this lot are renowned and respected for, and all sees the band move in a much heavier direction.

Kicking off with the eerie sounds of soft piano tunes amidst a setting of heavy rainfall, a gale and the neighing of horses, that merely gives you a taste of what’s to come. Although not the most intriguing of intros, ‘Hell Funeral’ makes up for that and sees the vocals of Chris Boltendahl pummeling through your ear drums and erupting into a classic heavy metal anthem. ‘Wargod’ follows this up, picking up tempo and signature to a good power metal track, an addictive chorus with the title track being yelled out in unison. Tracks like ‘Tattooed Rider’, ‘Grave Desecrator’ and ‘Satan’s Host’ exhibit the classic heavy metal style of Grave Digger, which culminates elements of speed, thrash and a bit of hard rock. Electrifying solos, raspy vocals, and the fun, heavy choruses. These tracks really pack a punch with an exuberant aggressive energy. Chris Boltendahl’s vocals are still as piercing and gruff as usual, and in fact, I think is at it’s absolute finest on this release while the spotlight has been thrown a bit more on Jens Becker’s bass guitar, ‘Satan’s Host’ beginning with some pretty sweet bass lines. A real headbanger!

‘Road Rage Killer’ is probably another favourite of mine, possibly because the entire song sounds like it was composed when the band was sloshed out of their wits. Definitely one of the more fun tracks that could also end up in you stomping around and breaking something. ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ is a nice change of pace amidst the constant aural assault but doesn’t deliver any less of a menacing riffage. The final song ‘Death Smiles At All Of Us’ is a crushing track that delivers a series of intense riffs, and an aggressive yet contagious energy that Grave Digger are renowned for. Ending with the metallic ballad ‘Nothing To Believe’, it closes ‘Return Of The Reaper’ on a very symphonic , rather feel-good note and really does signify the existence of an emotional side to the German powerhouse. Said ballads are very typical of these Germans, and this particular one is definitely one of their best efforts. For me, the only downside if it could even be called that is that the music can seem a little repetitive at times and if you’re looking for something completely new to listen to, this isn’t the right album. This album is for one of those ‘run around the house like a nutter and bathe in beer’ moods.

In all honesty, this was a tough one to crack in terms of reviewing because every song stands out. These Germans really now how to shred the bloody life out of a guitar and ensure a permanent neck injury with all of their blast-beat induced headbanging. And what I find to be the coolest thing about ‘Return Of The Reaper’ is probably the fact that lyrically the focus is primarily on death, Satan and the like but with the upbeat and powerful sound that Grave Digger consistently put out with every album, the levels of ‘grimness’ are severely overpowered, not to mention that they have proved once again why they’re brand of metal is one that can never lose it’s heavy style and charm.

Band: Grave Digger
Album: Return Of The Reaper
Year: 2014
Genre: Power/Traditional Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Origin: Germany

Tracklisting

1. Return of the Reaper
2. Hell Funeral
3. War God
4. Tattooed Rider
5. Resurrection Day
6. Season of the Witch
7. Road Rage Killer
8. Dia de los Muertos
9. Satan’s Host
10. Grave Desecrator
11. Death Smiles at All of Us
12. Nothing to Believe

 

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.