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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Grave Digger

Liberty Or Death

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of True Steel rejoice! Grave Digger has given us another smoking slab of their brand of the genre. Opening and closing with epic metal cuts, the main core of the disc is in the vein of vintage Priest and Maiden. Mind you the vocals don't resemble either one of those bands, but the music does throughout the bulk. The thing is, these guys do it well enough to make it both fresh and just plain incredible. It doesn't get much better than Grave Digger when you are looking for a modern version of old school metal.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Liberty or Death
A thunder strike is the first sound heard. Then classical keyboards enter to move through the introduction. Lest you think you've put on the wrong CD, though, they quickly put your mind to rest by launching into a serious epic metal texture. This runs through several changes and is both powerful and majestic. When they drop into the main riff it's a very meaty one and serves as a great opening salvo. The lyrics are a bit generic, but this is tasty enough that it doesn't matter. It's a great screaming epic metal number. Few bands do it this well.
Ocean of Blood
Here we get a smoking frantic metal cut that feels like something from Judas Priest's Painkiller album. This seriously scorches! There's not much more to say about this one, except that this track alone is worth the price of admission. It's one of the strongest metal numbers I've heard in a long time.
Highland Tears
The sounds of drum beats are heard followed by bag pipes and then a melancholy melody of other sedate instrumentation. This sets the mood nicely and makes the metal powerhouse that follows feel all the heavier. More fast paced metallic stomping, this is another killer track. The Judas Priest comparisons are valid on this one, too.
The Terrible One
Symphonic tones in atmospheric waves begin this. This intro is short lived,though, giving way into another metal screamer. While not all that different from the track that preceded it, this is strong enough that we can stand a song or two of similar material. Best ides, the Maiden-like guitar break and anthemic chorus serve to elevate this.
Until the Last King Died
They drop it back a bit on the bass driven introduction here. As it kicks into the main song structure this is slower in tempo, but still very much in the vein of Judas Priest. It's another winner on a disc that is full of them. The verse reminds me quite a bit of Manowar with its stripped down approach.
March of the Innocent
Here we get acoustic balladic tones to lead off. They stomp out into more progressive metal zones for a time after this, then scream in with another smoking riff. This feels a bit more like 1980's metal (not the hair variety, but real steel). The verse has more of that progressive metal texture and they alternate between the two musical motifs. The galloping section later has a definite Iron Maiden sort of feel to it. This is probably the most dynamic cut on show here. While a bit different it's also a highlight of the album.
Silent Revolution
Speaking of Manowar, if you picture a power ballad that combines Kiss and Manowar, you'll have a good idea of what this one sounds like. This is catchy and powerful, but seems a bit mediocre in comparison to some of the other stuff here.
Shadowland
An acoustic ballad approach leads this off. They punctuate this with a metal riff before fully launching out into another Priest like stomper. It's definitely a great way to get the disc back on track.
Forecourt to Hell
Raw and heavy, this is more of the same. When it's this tasty, though, who needs a lot of changes?
Massada
A mellower classic rock based guitar segment starts this in a tentative manner. After this introduction, though, they turn it into the other epic metal piece as female vocals and Eastern tones are woven over the main metallic motif. This moves through a number of changes, encompassing several musical modes. It includes some of the tastiest guitar work on the disc and is a killer, making it a great choice to close out the CD.
 
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