This album can in short be described as a speedy Heavy/Power Metal album. GRAVE DIGGER follow the tradition of the German Metal bands drawing inspiration from ACCEPT, with a sound based on Speed Metal riffing. Their sound is more complex than that however. They have a quite “old” sound; you can hear that they are inspired by the whole school building on JUDAS PRIEST. They do, however, have a much more Power Metal-oriented sound, similar to that of RUNNING WILD.
This album’s lyrics focus on Scotland’s history, especially during the Middle Ages. They fit in well with the special song-structure of GRAVE DIGGER. Their songs are built up after a certain scheme: the verses are often pretty Speed Metal based, with rough vocals together with almost thrashy riffs and there the vocals are not so tightly bound to the melody. The choruses, on the other hand, are of a much more epic kind. Often the instruments are over-shadowed by the powerful vocals in the choruses and the tempo goes down for a more epic mood. The contrast between the verses and the choruses is one of the strengths of this album, and of GRAVE DIGGER’s music as a whole.
Boltendahl’s rough vocals are not as impressive as his clean ones, but the Speed Metal riffing of the verses is needed to contrast the choruses. Sometimes the riffs are a bit monotonous, not in a single song, but if the whole album is reviewed some repetitiveness can be felt. The epic choruses are generally great, both because they work stand out so much, and because they are so melodic and mighty. They rely on the principle “if you can sing along with it, it is good”, which I personally see as a rather sound theory. Sometimes, the lyrics in the choruses are a bit simple, but I can live with that. The guitar-work is skilled and the solos and instrumental parts give extra dynamic power to the album.
The best tracks on here is the intro “The Brave”, which is a Metal version of the Scottish national hymn, “Killing Time”, a speedy and powerful song with a strong chorus, and of course the masterpiece “Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)” with the most epic chorus of them all.
(Online August 30, 2007)