Grave Digger – “Return Of The Reaper” (Napalm Records)
Amazing – some 34 years after they were formed by main man vocalist Chris Boltendahl, Grave Digger are still as potent now as they were back then! Two years on since its predecessor, “Return Of The Reaper” arrives with a vengeance in its more straight up meat n potatoes sound that spells HEAVY metal throughout its 12 songs. Fully charged twin guitars feature prominently in the mix, along with high speed double bass drumming as are Boltendahl’s gravelly rock dog vocals, the perfect element to bind Grave Digger’s mix of catchy galloping speed metal chasers, thundering metal anthems and power to the max ballads. This time round the band have opted out of any concepts or deep themes as on 2012’s Greek mythology themed “Clash Of The Gods”, instead returning back to their heavy metal roots on songs like ‘Wargod’, ‘Road Rage Killer’ and ‘Death Smiles At All Of Us’. Thanks to the superb production, the technology makes their original style now sound like an out of control freight train blaring Judas Priest as it chugs all the way to a fireball wrecking end – something sure to strike home to both old and any new ‘true’ metal fans. To be frank I’ve never heard the band so tight and with so much energy which is great news as I hear they want to continue for another 30 years lol. “Return Of The Reaper” is a great return to fine form by one of the original pioneers of German heavy metal certainly living up to its name in taking me right back to the 80s but with a modern sound in this superb release – Chris Boltendahl, you rule man!