"Clash of the Gods"

By Dr. Abner Mality

"Awkward but endearing" is how I like to refer to these German power metal legends, who have been banging it out since the early 80's (if not before). There's a sizable amount of cheese layered on top of all their records and there are usually some very clunky moments within, but at the end of the day, they come up with a great true metal formula that only grumps and post-metal hipsters would dislike.

So it is with "Clash of the Gods", obviously inspired by the current glut of Greek mythology video games and movies like "Clash of the Titans". I've always loved the old gods and monsters like Hydra and Medusa, so lay into it, boys! The record gets off to an awful start with the sappy accordion-assisted ballad "Charon", with clunky German singing. Stay tuned, though, because "God of Terror" introduces you to the real Gravedigger sound...chunky power metal riffs, the distinctively odd vocals of Chris Boltendahl and even some souped up keyboard work. It's all head down stuff which continues on "Helldog" before "Medusa" tries something more epic, melodic and mid-tempo. Again, these guys have a knack for some very clunky vocal lines that nevertheless stick in your head and this song has 'em by the bucketload. I kind of prefer the very heavy semi-Oriental riffing of the title track and the similar "Call of the Sirens" (which even features a harpsichord break!).

More goodies include the fast and furious "Death Angel and the Grave Digger" (with another one of those clunky choruses)  and the uplifting "Home At Last", which relates the hoary old tale of Ulysses. The production is thick and heavy throughout, the band plays with energy and the cheese can easily be forgiven on this visit from our old German friends.