The release of Home at Last has left me with a somewhat apprehensive feeling about Grave Digger’s upcoming album, Clash of the Gods. Only one of the three songs here is from that album, so perhaps I am being unnecessarily cautious about what the entire album will sound like. I am admittedly a fan of Grave Digger and credit them with truly bringing me back to metal in 2003, so I am trying to stay positive. They haven’t let me down on their last 10 albums or so.
As I listened to the EP for the first time, I assumed (incorrectly) that all of the studio tracks were going to appear on the upcoming album. The reason that I was a bit pessimistic about Clash of the Gods, is that all three of the studio songs are similar in tempo and construction. I had expected more variety. Since only the opening track will also be on the album, it is nice to have these other tunes as part of my Grave Digger collection, but am expecting a lot more speed and aggression on the proper album.
This 30 minute EP from Napalm Records has 3 studio tracks and 3 live tracks recorded at the Wacken Open Air festival in 2010. Opener Home at Last is the closing track on the full album. This one is a mid-paced, definitely epic sounding, and absolutely Grave Digger kind of track, Chris Boltendahl’s gravelly vocals and all. Like him or not, he is not the typical Power Metal vocalist and makes Grave Digger stand out in the German Power Metal field. As the band often does, they have written a catchy, albeit heavy song. Actually, right at the end of the intro part of the song, I thought it was going to kick into a higher gear, but alas I was somewhat disappointed that they maintained the mid-paced tempo throughout. It has, however, whetted my appetite for the full album.
The following track is Rage of the Savage Beast, as previously described, a mid-tempo song, and classically Grave Digger. Along with the other two new songs here, this one has a tendency to stick in my head, particularly the chorus. The last of the new tracks is the cliché filled Metal Will Never Die. It is was previously entitled Wacken Will Never Die, and the official hymn of the festival in 2011. It is also a mid-paced song, with a sing-along inducing chorus.
The second half of the EP consists of 3 tracks recorded at Wacken and previously appearing on Grave Digger’s The Clans Are Still Marching DVD, and are the last three songs of their set. Songs here are Ballad of a Hangman, Excalibur, and Heavy Metal Breakdown. I am not usually a big fan of live recordings, but the songs here are expertly performed and the sound quality is top-notch. The three are also a faster paced contrast to the slower first half of the EP.
Overall, the EP is probably only a must buy for hardcore Grave Digger fans, essentially offering two songs not available elsewhere. The title track has raised my interest in the band once again and I am definitely looking forward to Clash of the Gods.
Check out Wacken’s 2011 “Hymne”, Wacken Will Never Die:
I hear the sound in a METAL way.