“The Living Dead”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Grave Digger have been a German metal institution for almost 40 years. Nobody can ever take that away from them. But there comes a time to lay down the shovel and retire and Grave Digger are at that time. We are seeing a lot of “legacy” bands stay way part their expiration date. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Grave Digger tunes over the years, but boy, this just sounds bone tired.

Singer Chris Boltendahl has never exactly been a vocalist to rival Tate or Halford, but he’s always had a rough charm to his gravelly growls. That charm has worn off here. He sounds rougher than I can ever remember and not in a good way.When sub-par vocals combine with bad vocal lines and melodies, the result is excruciating. So many choruses here try to be anthemic but wind up ham-fisted. I cite “Blade of The Immortal”, “The Power of Metal” and the appalling “Insane Pain” as examples. This last song in particular is just atrocious. They have lost the ability to write memorable vocal lines, which used to be a Grave Digger trademark.

There is some pleasure to be hard if you like hard charging Accept style metal, but the players in the band just sound really generic with their approach. Nothing stands out as exceptional. One track that I did like was the bare-fisted and easy to get into “Fist IN Your Face”, where Boltendahl puts in a good performance. Other that that, it’s the same thing fans have been getting for years.  And it also doesn’t help if you’re talking about more cliché than cliché subjects like zombies…

Only the most undemanding Grave Digger fans will find this an acceptable album. Go gracefully into the night while you still have a chance…