One thing in advance: As my reviewing copy contains eight faded out songs, I reserve to revise this review after the purchase of the complete CD !!!
So, after their three past excursions into the Middle Age the grave diggers are back, but if I listen to the lyrics I am not so sure about where exactly they have returned to... Anyway, not only that they are under contract with Nuclear Blast now, with former RAGE-six-stringer Manni Schmidt they also have a new guitarist and also musically there is some change to be detected.
No, they have not turned towards Jazz-influenced Alternative Black Metal, but they have reduced the bombastic parts quite a lot, the choirs are not as fat, the melodies not that epic anymore. For that they have increased the more earthy and traditional factor, the preferences on "The Grave Digger" clearly lie more in the past.
Especially the voice of reaper Chris Boltendahl once more is the most decisive factor, if you should buy a GRAVE DIGGER-CD or not his rough voice is a trademark of the band, but also prevents quite a few people from getting into the music. Nothing has changed there and won't ever change, I guess, the only exception on this CD is the cleanly sung ballad "Silence" on the end of the album.
"Raven" could without problems have stood on one of the past albums, just like "Son Of Evil", "Spirits Of The Dead" (despite a very unspectacular verse), the intense "The House" or the already mentioned great ballad "Silence". Next to other solid songs there also are the sub-standard "King Pest" and also "Funeral Procession" (where the chorus just won't get to me), which cannot convince me personally.
But still another good album from GRAVE DIGGER, but it just doesn't reach the past three albums, so let's see, how it'll work out live...