GRAVE DIGGER- Liberty Or Death (Locomotive Records)
GRAVE DIGGER are one of those bands that can be compared to a Burger King hamburger; its not particularly bad, nor is it really very good, but you keep coming back to it time and again even though you know the result is gonna be the same decidedly average satisfaction every time. That and the fact that you're one broke-ass son of a bitch. Anyhow, the old-school German metallers have returned to serve up another slab of classic middle-of-the-road 80's heavy metal. They've stayed the course however for a surprisingly long tenure of over 25 years, so a tip of the cap is obviously in order for these aging metal veterans. This album might as well be a carbon-copy of 2005's The Last Supper
, aside from of course the different thematic elements present lyrically. Unless you are already a fan of this band, or just enjoy their brand of mid-80's heavy metal worship, I can't see how this album would hold any sort of attention. Passable, mildly entertaining at times, but ultimately disposable is how I would describe Liberty Or Death
, despite the band's honest passion and admirable stubbornness to sticking 100% to their tried and true formula.
Possibly the one factor that sets GRAVE DIGGER apart in any way would have to be the vocals. Chris Boltendahl possess a nice range with a generally raspy overtone that gives an added quality of harshness, similar in a way to how Matt Barlow used to sound. Too bad the words he's spitting out so convincingly aren't exactly poetry, but not much more can be expected simply by looking at the titles and knowing the band's history. Thankfully there are a few moments that shine through the plodding redundancy, such as the energetic "Forecourt To Hell", featuring a mean little main riff and a typically catchy chorus. The best song is probably the raging "Ocean Of Blood", a tune that would fit right in on one of the more recent SAXON albums. Closing out the album, "Massada" makes a good impression with the cool clean guitar intro before turning into an exotic Eastern-sounding tune, a far cry from the rest of the album. All in all there really isn't a bad song on here per se, but there's juat not much that really makes the ears perk up. The most enjoyable aspect of just about every song is the main riff, which is almost always at least moderately interesting, and of course the chorus will usually stand out as well. However, the pattern in songwriting remains completely stale throughout, which would not be a problem if the actually parts themselves were great to begin with. Too much mediocrity though brings it down a lot.
Back to the Burger King analogy, Liberty Or Death
goes down more or less like one of those you get when you're out cruisin' around on a boring Saturday night and there's nothing else to do so you pull in to the drive-thru and order the Whopper with large fries; fleetingly satisfying, ultimately forgettable.