Marking the 40th anniversary of the band, the latest Grave Digger album is a serious return to form and arguably their best release since the glory days of the eighties. Delivering a fresh injection of power metal straight from the highlands of Scotland (where some of the album was even recorded), Fields of Blood (Napalm Records) is a strong statement from a band who have appear to have been taking some of their cues from military-obsessed Swedes Sabaton. Continue reading
Now that we have moved into October, it’s time for the Autumn festival and tour soon season. The Full Metal Cruise and Full Metal Mountain Destination Mallorca takes place in a few weeks from the 14th to the 21st of October. Different than typical music cruises, The Full Metal Cruise and Full Metal Mountain Destination Mallorca offers the metal a full social programme topped off with a series of stunning live shows each day. The lineup includes Udo Dirkschneider (Ex Accept), Kreator, Ross The Boss (featuring former Manowar guitarist Ross Friedman), Skindred, Life Of Agony and Doro. Packages are available at the link below. Continue reading
1980. Gladbeck, Germany.
Two young musicians – singer Chris Boltendahl and guitarist Peter Masson – are trying to settle upon a name for their fledgling heavy metal band. The choices on offer are the perfectly reasonable Grave Digger, and the wonderfully inappropriate “Gas Chamber”. Hmmm…
Sensibly, if somewhat disappointingly, the pair decides to resist the temptation of siding with their wacky German sense of humour and go with the former… Continue reading
Eight years into his tenure with the band, and the Mark Tornillo era of Accept is showing no signs of slowing down. Standing toe-to-toe with the definitive Udo Dirkschneider period, the band might not have topped the likes of Balls to the Wall, Metal Heart or Restless and Wild (all Portrait), but they’re certainly giving them a run for their money. Continue reading
Since their 2009 reunion Accept have released three stellar albums, with 2014’s Blind Rage (Nuclear Blast) reaching number 1 in the charts of their native Germany. Long term guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes rejoined the fold but sadly original frontman Udo Dirkschneider did not, his replacement the American Brian Johnson lookalike Mark Tornillo. Restless and Live (Nuclear Blast) comes in a variety of formats including a double album recorded throughout Europe and a live DVD. Continue reading
Canadian metallers Anvil is releasing their new album Anvil is Anvil on February 26, 2016 via Steamhammer/SPV. This marks the debut of new bassist Chris Robertson.
1. Daggers And Rum 5:26
2. Up, Down, Sideways 3:19
3. Gun Control 4:22
4. Die For A Lie 3:17
5. Runaway Train 3:40
6. Zombie Apocalypse 4:22
7. Its Your Move 3:30
8. Ambushed 3:22
9. Fire On The Highway 4:35
10. Run Like Hell 3:07
11. Forgive Don`t Forget 2:40
12. Never Going To Stop 4:12 (bonus track digipak)
The band will be supporting Udo Dirkschneider on an upcoming European tour.
ANVIL as special guest with DIRKSCHNEIDER
Feb 19: Folken -Stavanger (NO)
Feb 20: Byscenen – Haugesund (NO)
Feb 21: Rick`s – Bergen (NO)
Feb 24: Train – Aarhus (DK)
Feb 25: KB – Malmö (SE)
Feb 26: Trädgarn – Gothenburg (SE)
Feb 27: Folket Hus – Sundsvall (SE)
Feb 28: Fryshuset Klubben – Stockholm (SE)
Mar 01: Tavastia – Helsinki (FI)
Mar 04: Lutakko – Jyväskylä (FI)
Mar 05: Rantasipi – Vaasa (FI)
Mar 11: Hellraiser – Leipzig (DE)
Mar 12: Music Hall – Markneukirchen (DE)
Mar 13: Rockfabrik – Ludwigsburg (DE)
Mar 22: Essigfabrik – Cologne (DE)
Mar 23: Zeche – Bochum (DE)
Mar 25: Garage – Ostrava (CZ)
Mar 26: Masters Of Rock Café – Zlin (CZ)
Mar 27: Meet Factory – Prague (CZ)
Mar 31: Backstage – Munich (DE)
Apr 01: VAZ – Burglengenfeld (DE)
Apr 02: Kaminwerk – Memmingen (DE)
Apr 03: Z7 – Pratteln (SI)
Apr 05: La Riviera – Madrid (ES)
Apr 06: Sala Totem – Pamplona (ES)
Apr 07: Razzmatazz 2 – Barcelona (ES)
Apr 21: Markthalle – Hamburg (DE)
Apr 23: MusicHall – Geiselwind (DE)
Apr 24: Postbahnhof – Berlin (DE)
I have to admit, bands re-recording their old material isn’t an exercise I feel is altogether necessary. The odd track here and there is fine; some songs do occasionally require a spot of post-release tinkering. But recording an entire album a second time, decades later? Unless it’s being released as a bonus disc to accompany a new record, or there’s a clear intention to bring something new to the table, then it all seems a bit pointless.
When most bands guilty of this fairly recent phenomenon first started out, they were driven by fierce determination. Their music spoke with a belligerent snarl and classics were created because of it. They were young bands out to prove a point and if they made mistakes during the process, who cared? If the songs were good then they grabbed you by the throat, and technicalities like bum notes and poor timing would eventually work themselves out somewhere else, further down the line.
No matter how improved these musicians (the remaining ones at least) may have become, and despite how hard they might try, the sound, enthusiasm and feeling captured back then can never be replicated. Some bands, like Exodus and Let there Be Blood (Megaforce) come close, some miss the mark by trying to fix things which weren’t broken in the first place (Megadeth – all of those “remasters”), and some, Manowar – Kings of Metal MMXIV (Magic Circle) I’m looking at you, are just horrifying abominations.
Thankfully, by taking their cue from Testament‘s First Strike Still Deadly (Spitfire) and choosing to re-record an assortment of songs rather than a complete album, German band Grave Digger have at least spared themselves some of that unwanted baggage. Unfortunately, there’s not an awful lot else to say in favour of 35 Year anniversary (is that even a thing?) album Exhumation (Napalm).
As it turns out, Exhumation is the perfect title for this well performed, but ultimately lifeless collection. When Grave Digger belted out tunes like ‘Witch Hunter’ or ‘Headbanging Man’ back in the day, there was scant regard for precision riffing and metronomic timing. It was all about flailing hair, ragged guitars, and flying fingers. Singer Chris Boltendahl sounded like a barefoot Udo Dirkschneider standing on a lego brick, the drums were all over the place, and it sounded fantastic.
These new versions just sound far too neat and tidy. Controlled playing rather than speed-driven chaos, it’s the sound of mature musicians performing within themselves to avoid making any of those youthful mistakes. On top of that, the band have also changed the title of ‘Playin’ Fools’ to ‘Playing Fools’. So, not content with trying to improve their old songs, it seems they’re trying to improve their old grammar too.
With Exhumation, Grave Digger (remember that ill-advised, but thankfully brief spell where they were known only as Digger?) have tried to make brilliantly flawed songs sound better by tightening things up, but seem to have forgotten that playing fast and loose while casually ripping off Iron Maiden, Scorpions and Accept was a big part of their original charm. I’m sure they’ll get back on track soon enough, but for now, I’m afraid the Heavy Metal Breakdown has temporarily, er… broken down.
The Metal MS Singers Tour, featuring Udo Dirkschneider, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Blaze Bayley and Mike Vescera has confirmed the dates for their upcoming South American tour.
Jan 15: Music Hall – Curitiba
Jan 16: Pirilampus – Sorocaba
Jan 17: Bar da Montanha – Limeira
Jan 18: Festival Ruidos Do Sertao – Pocoes
Jan 22: TBA – Cochabamba
Jan 23: London Pub – Uberlandia
Jan 24: Clash Club – São Paulo
Jan 25: Car Audio Festival – Bogotá