Grave Digger - Exhumation: The Early Years

  Van Muylem    7 november 2015

Grave Digger is one of my favorite old school German Metal bands from the early eighties and I’m really happy with this new reason to review them and try to give them a chance to gather more fans all over the world!

The title track from their iconic debut Heavy Metal Breakdown (love the roaring bass and retro sound of the guitars, catchy chorus and powered-up vocals, another  pearl from that album is the very melodic Tyrant), as well as Headbanging Man (catchy and speeded up track) were some the first anthems showcased in this groundbreaking new era of Metal. Charismatic frontman Chris Boltendahl, core and figurehead of the band since the very beginning left his mark with his unique vocal style (close to Lemmy’s vocals aka Motörhead).

With this compilation, Exhumation, new fans get a nice look back and some new material that announces the new flow of the upcoming album. Old school fans will be pleasured by the shots beyond their debut and subsequent hit albums like Witch Hunter (a cool rock’n roll track with a perfect solo in the middle and some old school screaming & Here I stand: drives like sitting on a horse settled for war with a gun and instruments on fire) and War Games (Fire in your Eyes: a very catchy and sing-a-long track, Enola Gay - Drop The Bomb: lyrics with a real meaning and a sharp riff entangled by hammering drums and raging vocals & Playing Fools: with a more Iron Maiden feel) with new takes on classic favorites such as

Shoot Her Down (again: perfect guitars and a very charismatic and head hunting sound with a great and very explosive final) the unforgettable opening track from the first Grave Digger demo from 1982! Also included is Stand Up And Rock (very into Motörhead, are you ready to sing-a-long?) from 1987's Stronger Than Ever, which was released under the cross-over attempted band name Digger (now a rare and highly sought after edition). In addition, the release includes My Private Hell Morning (faster and stronger as If Lemmy took a lot of speed and has stolen the microphone and hand out the rest of the speed to the band, but this is of course Chris Boltendahl stalling out his new drive) and Young And Dangerous (very rock’n roll and catchy, a bit like during the best years of Bon Jovi) two bonus tracks and the first new songs since last year's Return Of The Reaper (I really adored this album) teasing what is to come from the band's upcoming 2016 new studio album!

Just like with Iron Maiden you have to have a look at the very special and fantastic artwork! The studio work is also very professional and makes after listening to old tracks realize that it’s pretty hard to know as an outsider which is exactly the older tracks. Just a bit strange that they left nothing from albums like for example Symphony of Death, Heart of Darkness, Tunes of War, Knights of the Cross, Excalibur, The Grave Digger, Rheingold, The Last Supper, Liberty of Death, Ballads of a Hangman, The Clans Will Rise Again & Clash of The Gods. But hey, now that I listed them up (from old to newer) for you, you can check ‘m out!