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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Grave Digger

Yesterday E.P.

Review by Greg Olma

It has been a long time since I listened to Grave Digger. I remember them from the early days back in the mid 80’s where they fit somewhere in between the NWOBHM and the then emerging death metal. They had the melodies of the NWOBHM bands but they had that grittiness of the new death metalers. They had that “sound” that most of the bands on the Combat, Mausoleum, and Neat labels had. Since then, I have only heard a song by them in passing so I was interested in reviewing this E.P. out of curiosity more than anything. Based on my past experience with this type of music, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it sounded. I think modern recording techniques have helped this genre sound so much better and Grave Digger have taken full advantage of it. I’m not quite sure why they decided to put out this E.P. because the fan base surely would buy anything they come out with. My review copy did not contain the bonus live DVD but if it is anything like the quality of the 25 To Live DVD, then it is totally worth the purchase. There is a market for this type of music and Grave Digger is surely at the forefront giving their fans value for the money.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Yesterday (2006)
This track might confuse some new listeners because with a name like Grave Digger, you would not expect a piano ballad start. The beginning reminds me of Savatage. There are some backing vocals that give it that little “extra” bit that shows that the band have an ear for detail. Extra points have to be given for the guitar solo which is really good. It has an old school metal feel to it.
The Reaper Dance
Of the four songs on offer here, this one harkens back the most to their roots. It is a mid paced rocker in the NWOBHM mold. Again, the guitar solo is top notch. There is nothing better than a guitarist who knows how to solo for the song instead of on top of it. Manni Schmidt knows how just how to achieve this. His riffing on this cut is also very melodic and catchy.
No Quarter
To help fans out and not make them pick up a “cover” CD for just one cut, Grave Digger add this, their contribution to a Led Zeppelin cover CD. I like it for one reason; they do not try to copy it. Sure, the music may sound close in parts but the vocals are totally different. No one is going to sound like Robert Plant and Chris Boltendahl does not try. There are parts where he tries to conjure up the ghost of Plant circa 1975 but he goes back into his own vocal style and that is where it really works. I will also give extra points for picking more of a “deep cut” than the usual boring Zeppelin tune we have heard so many times.
Yesterday (Orchestral Version)
Before passing judgment based solely on the “Orchestral Version” tag, give this a spin. It is very soundtrack sounding but the guitar work during the middle is quite good. It is a little shorter than the previous version but it is good none the less. I don’t think it would be a good idea for a whole album done in this fashion but for a remix of one tune, it is enjoyable. 
 
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