Yawning Man – Macedonian Lines

Is there anything a band can really do without? Drummers and bassists are indispensable. Guitarists summon the magic and give the punters something to throw things at. Keyboardists? Well, sometimes they’re OK. The dude with the bagpipes? Folk Metal is the new Sex. Continue reading

Grave Digger – Return Of The Reaper

gravedigger

 

It’s a weird universe where Babylon Whores and earthtone9 are only allowed to release three albums, despite being interesting, unique and intelligent bands, distinctive and critically acclaimed who undersold and vanished into the ether (only to return years later to suffer the same fate) and Grave Digger get to release seventeen albums of middle of the road uninspired dross.

 

Raise your fists and yell… “Fuck off!” For no-one’s favourite band are back! After 30 years of peddling (slightly “harder” than) Running Wild, Judas Priest and Blind Guardian speed and power metal, and 18 years since their best album Tunes Of War (GUN), the ‘Digger release Return Of The Reaper (Napalm).

 

The band is clearly capable of being competent. Axel Ritt can chug, widdle, and chuck out a bog-standard old metal riff with the hordes. Chris Boltendahl is, as always, a slightly more tuneful Cronos, though notably hasn’t improved his range or delivery over the years, and Stefan Arnold holds down that double-bass and uptempo snare beat that all speed metal requires.

 

Presenting eleven more predictable slabs of dated speed metal, the German quintet are so deep in their comfort zone it would be surprising if they got off the sofa while recording. Everything is exactly as expected. ‘Satan’s Host’, possibly the pick of the tracks on offer, sounds like an off cut from Running Wild’s early 90’s output and the remainder is Teutonic 80’s speed metal by numbers with choruses and lyrics so cringe-worthy most teenage thrash bands would have binned them off.

 

 I fail to see the validity of Grave Digger as a current recording artist. They’ve had plenty of chances to say what they’re trying to say, and it wasn’t interesting the last ten times. I wish the band members no ill will, and if people are continuing to support them then fair play to them, why should they pack it in and retire, I just cannot understand who still buys the records of one of the most pointless bands in existence. By all means, tour, do festivals, play the “classics” (do Grave Digger have any classics other than the one about bagpipes?), but no record collection is crying out for a new Grave Digger album in 2014.

 

4.5 / 10

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STEVE TOVEY