So a new GRAVE DIGGER album then? So expect the same bone crushing, head slitting, foot stomping Heavy Metal then from one of Germany’s finest musical exports. ‘’The Last Supper’’ drops the concept album articulation as seen on 2003’s (excellent) ‘’Rheingold’’ in favour of a back to basic all out Metal assault which is pretty much what Boltendahl and cohorts have been doing year in year out since the early 80’s.
Expect the harsh, rasping utterly unique vocals of Chris Boltendahl. They’re still there and show no signs of dissipating. Expect a solid, sure and steady nothing out of the ordinary rhythm unit from Stefan Arnold and Jens Becker. You’d expect nothing less from a German Power Metal band but they nail down pounding drum and bass like their life’s depended on it. And then add the awesome riff fire power of Manni Schmidt plus his electrifying solo delivery to give a pure feral primordial Metal sound that only and only GRAVE DIGGER can produce.
Let’s not over emphasis the passion and commitment of GRAVE DIGGER. Band members have come and gone but still Boltendahl melds and fuses great burgeoning guitar riffs with that indefatigable vocal to release volley after volley of masterly Heavy Metal.
‘’The Last Supper’’ concerns itself with the last hours of Christ and no it isn’t STRYPER and the band are going all evangelical. The almost polished branching out focus on ‘’Rheingold’’ is put aside for another day as GRAVE DIGGER set all amps to maximum Metal. True Metal behemoths rise from the silence like the pounding ‘’Desert Rose’’. The frantic opening to ‘’Hell To Pay’’ letting loose yet another top class riff from Schmidt or the simple Metal effectiveness of ‘’Soul Savior’’ or ‘’Divided Cross’’ only strengthen my resolve in this outfit. It’s plain to see where PRIMAL FEAR have got their ideas.
This is Heavy Metal. There are no gimmicks no tricks and certainly no posturing. It’s straight ahead power, energy and force all combined to offer up a band who have little left to prove and have no obvious equals as they’ve been around the block more times than they’d care to mention. There is something resolute and comforting that band like GRAVE DIGGER is here to serve up what exactly they say they will: fist in the air chanting head banging Heavy Fuckin’ Metal.
We salute you! (Online April 12, 2005)