Since 1984 Grave Digger have been releasing fist pounding heavy metal albums; 30 years after their debut “Heavy Metal Breakdown” the band is getting set to release “Return of the Reaper”. Vocalist Chris Boltendahl is the only member left from the early days but the band has never failed to deliver killer power metal (except for “Stronger than Ever” but we won’t talk about that) “Return of the Reaper” is no exception.
Grave Digger aren’t breaking any new ground on “Return of the Reaper” and then again why should they? What we get is huge shout along choruses, thundering double kick and a wall of guitar riffs, those are the elements of good power metal.
The one sticking point for some people may be the aforementioned choruses. One thing I miss about 80’s metal is those great sing along choruses, the point where you just can’t help but scream the words at the top of your lungs. “Return of the Reaper” is full of these big choruses and while not all of them achieve the anthem like status they aspire to they do try. This may become trying on the modern metal head but I for one enjoy it.
One of my favorite parts of the album is drummer Stefan Arnold’s unending double kick, his drumming definitely adds an intensity and excitement to the album.
One of the stand out songs is the albums closer “ Nothing to Believe”, a ballad for lack of a better term. I think the reason it resonated so much with me was because it was so different than the rest of the album. Most of the songs on the album are fast paced fist pumpers but “ Nothing to Believe”, comes out of left field and is a welcome change. The track “Tattoo Rider” starts off with a Judas Priest Turbo Lover like flanger intro which may be a nod of the head or a flick of the nose I can’t be sure.
Grave Diggers’ Return of the Reaper is a good power metal album, it’s not perfect but it is good. I don’t know if it will win any new converts but Grave Digger fans will enjoy this record.
3 out of 5