Grave Digger - The Clans Will Rise Again
Label: Napalm Records
Reviewer: Amir Kourosh - 2012-06-01
Highlights: Highland Farewell
Talking about Grave Digger means talking about one of the main German Heavy/Power Metal bands from the 80s. They were one of the creators of a kind of metal which has given us some of the best albums of our favorite music, among other bands such as Blind Guardian, Helloween, Rage, Running Wild... What makes them different to other bands of the same style is that while the other bands have changed their original sound after some time, Grave Digger has kept on with the same style for 30 years, without remaining stuck in the past. Keeping on with their own style from their very first years without being repetitive, and making their fans still interested in their newest albums is quite an achievement.
Grave Digger's sign of identity, apart from their unique way of playing Classical Heavy/Power Metal, is the powerful voice of their singer Chris Boltendahl, who is still coming on strong as if time has not passed since he recorded "Heavy Metal Breakdown" (the band's first album) in 1984. In this album, we also find the fast and powerful guitar sound and the awesome choruses that made the band become a referent of European Metal.
"The Clans Will Rise Again" was released in October 2010, a year and a half after the previous band's full length album, "Ballads of a Hangman", which showed that the band still rocks. This is the first album of the new band's guitarist Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt, who replaced the awesome Manni Schmidt (Ex-Rage), a guitar maestro who has been playing with Grave Digger since the year 2000. The album lyrics are about Scottish themes, which reminds us of their great "Tunes of War" album, one of the band's best creations. In fact, some people consider "The Clans Will Rise Again" the continuation of that awesome album. I don't agree with that opinion, because their latest album doesn't follow a conceptual plot like "Tunes of War", and Uwe Lewis, the composer of such a masterpiece along with Chris Boltendahl, the band's singer, doesn't participate in this one. Anyway, this album doesn't have the quality of "Tunes of War", but it maintains the good level of their last releases, and in spite of being composed of 13 songs, it isn't tedious at all.
Most of the songs maintain a good level, which doesn't make the album tiring if you listen to it from the beginning to the end. We find anthems such as "Paid in Blood", "Hammer of the Scots" or "Rebels", you know: songs that are fast, direct and full of energy. We also find more commercial songs (in the positive way), perfect to chorus at the band's concerts, such as "Highland Farewell", a song which incorporates a bagpipe melody, which strengthens its Scottish character. In fact, this song has been chosen for the first single, and the band has recorded a video clip of it. We also find other songs which don't add anything to the album, such as "Valley of Tears" or "When Rain Turns to Blood". These are the most boring songs of the album.
As I said at the beginning, this is one of the few classical bands that keep on with their way of understanding metal. In spite of not being as successful as other German bands from the 80s such as Blind Guardian, Helloween or even Gamma Ray, Grave Digger is still well-liked by their fans, and they rarely disappoint them with their releases or live concerts. This album will not take them back to their golden years, but it shows us that the band maintains their good level, and I'm sure that some of the songs of this album will stay on the band's concert setlist for a long time.