It’s time to talk about a Heavy Metal legend, Grave Digger!
Created in 1980 in Germany, the band will also have other names, but it’s under this one that they released twenty one albums. Chris Boltendahl (vocals, Hellryder), Jens Becker (bass, Bon Scott, ex-Running Wild), Axel « Ironfinger » Ritt (guitar, Domain, Hellryder) and Marcus Kniep (drums/keyboards, Temple of Your Soul, Veritates) announce the release of Symbol of Eternity on Rock of Angels Records.
The album opens with The Siege of Akkon, an epic and warlike introduction which quickly leads us to Battle Cry, a solid and frantic track which reveals some aggressive harmonics before letting vocals lead the charge. The federative chorus will have no trouble fitting into the band’s future setlists, letting backing vocals and leads give the song a melodic edge before Hell Is My Purgatory follows with its catchy sounds. The band’s Heavy roots are very effective, combining this steady rhythmic with the powerful vocal parts, then the band accelerates the tempo with King of the Kings, a track which goes back to their Speed influences without forgetting the majestic side of their singing Power Metal. Symbol of Eternity, the eponymous track, offers darker vocals combined with very soft sounds, creating an interesting contrast which will fade away during the heady and jerky choruses before Saladin offers us a short oriental break. Nights of Jerusalem remains in these mystical sounds while adding the band’s strength and its different voices before Heart of a Warrior, a track which quickly proves to be as catchy as federative. We can already imagine the band creating crowd movements on this track, while the soft Grace of God will offer us quieter parts, between two riffs with epic orchestrations. The track leaves us with Sky of Swords and its enchanting harmonics which will quickly turn into a warlike and motivating rhythmic with heady choirs, then with Holy Warfare, an as catchy song with screaming guitars. As for the vocals, I could have sworn to hear a resemblance with the rocky voice of one of the legends of Hard Rock, then The Last Crusade slows the tempo down again to let the band create a heavy, almost mystical atmosphere. The slow rhythmic will slightly strengthen before the solo comes back to its cruising speed for the final, just before the band invites Vasilis Papakonstantinou, a Greek singer, to cover Hellas Hellas, one of his songs. More joyful than the others, the track still keeps its catchy Heavy accents to close the album with this unique duet.
If the name of Grave Digger is probably not unknown to you, it is thanks to its longevity but also to its regularity. Yet less known than other bands from the same period, the band proves with Symbol of Eternity that their passion and their fervor is intact.