One of the first Noise Records signings in the early eighties, Grave Digger released three raw power metal albums before changing thier name to Digger and disbanded soon after. Several years later, vocalist Chris Boltendahl resurrected the band with Digger guitarist Uwe Lulis, and the reformed Grave Digger has been rocking ever since. Grave Digger are often compared to fellow German power metal bands like Helloween, Rage, and Running Wild, but their sound is much more raw and heavy. The band, like their fellow German metallers have been plagued with line-up changes including former members of Rage and Running Wild. As of December 2000, longtime guitarist Uwe Lilis left the band and former Rage guitarist Manni Schmidt jumped in as his replacement.

Heavy Metal Breakdown Grave Digger-Heavy Metal Breakdown (Noise) 1984

1. "Headbanging Man" (3:37)
2. "Heavy Metal Breakdown" (3:42)
3. Back From War" (5:35)
4. "Yesterday" (5:06)
5. "We Wanna Rock You" (4:17)
6. "Legion of the Lost" (4:54)
7. "Tyrant" (3:17)
8. "2000 Lightyears from Home" (2:54)
9. "Heart Attack" (3:16)

I had all but forgotten about these guys until a friend asked if I had heard this album. It had been so long I had forgotten that I had ever even heard it. Once I popped the disc in, I remembered just about every song. Grave Digger's debut sounds a bit dated but I have always held to the belief that good music is timeless. Grave Digger's debut is good heavy metal. OK, perhaps the lyrical themes are a bit rooted in cliche heavy metal imagery, but who cares. In the 80's that's what it was all about. Headbangers united and rocking the world. "Heavy Metal Breakdown" may not be remembered by the masses but to some it's a classic. Count me in with the few.

Witch Hunter Grave Digger-Witch Hunter (Noise) 1985

1."Witch Hunter" (4:24)
2."Night Drifter" (3:10)
3."Get Ready For Power" (5:05)
4."Love is a Game" (5:43)
5."Get Away" (2:59)
6."Fight For Freedom" (3:54)
7."School's Out" (2:41)
8."Friends of Mine" (5:23)
9."Here I Stand" (4:49)

Sort of a weird coincidence that this disc arrived at my house on the same day that my cd copy of Alice Cooper's "School's Out" arrived as "Witch Hunter" contains a classic cover of this classic song. This album is probably just as good as the band's debut containing a few classic tracks like the title track and "Get Away" a fast, speed metal number. Few bands were this fast in 1985. In any case, this particular disc is a German import. The American version of this album (on vinyl) came with "Shine on" and "Tears of Blood" in place of "Love is a Game." I'm not sure if this one was ever re-issued on cd stateside.

War Games Grave Digger-War Games (Noise) 1986

1."Keep On Rockin'" (3:19)
2."Heaven Can Wait" (3:33)
3."Fire In Your Eyes" (3:44)
4."Let Your Heads Roll" (4:06)
5."Love Is Breaking My Heart" (4:05)
6."Paradise" (4:13)
7."(Enola Gay) Drop The Bomb" (3:25)
8."Fallout" (4:54)
9."Playing Fools" (3:56)
10."The End" (2:31)

Hmmm, "War Games" is no where near as important an album as the first two, although far from being terrible. I have been told this album got terrible reviews when it came out in '85. Apparently the band was really searching on this one, hoping for a commercial breakthrough. With song titles like "Keep On Rockin'" it's no wonder that this album did so poorly. Still there are some good songs, like "Paradise" and "(Enola Gay) Drop The Bomb". Shortly after it's release, the band changed names to Digger and went for a commercial, pop metal sound. Fortunately it did not work and Digger broke up giving way for a Grave Digger reunion in 1993 with the release of "The Reaper."

The Reaper Grave Digger-The Reaper (G.U.N.) 1993

1."Tribute To Death" (1:27)
2."The Reaper" (4:14)
3."Ride On" (3:30)
4."Shadows Of A Moonless Night" (3:53)
5."Play Your Game (And Kill)" (3:23)
6."Wedding Day" (3:51)
7."Spy Of Mas' On" (3:57)
8."Under My Flag" (4:46)
9."Fight The Fight" (2:45)
10."Legion Of The Lost (Pt. II)" (6:18)
11."And The Devil Plays Piano" (4:00)
12."Ruler Mr. H." (3:39)
13."The Madness Continues" (1:34)

This album was released in 1993 by G.U.N Records and was the bands comeback. This is a fast and heavy album with lots of superb tracks like "Ride On", "The Reaper", "Spy Of Mas' On." There is also a continuation of "Legion Of Lost" that was started on "Heavy Metal Breakdown." The lyrical theme on this album is darker than much of the 90's material, but the music is more of a throwback to the 80's. Still a good disc that will frequent my cd player for years to come.

Syphony of Death Grave Digger-Symphony of Death (GUN) 1993

1. "Intro" (:57)
2. "Symphony Of Death" (4:26)
3. "Back To The Roots" (4:27)
4. "House Of Horror" (3:36)
5. "Shout It Out" (3:09)
6. "World Of Fools" (5:05)
7. "Wild And Dangerous" (2:45)

This EP was released in 1993 to support the European "Reaper Tour." Can't pick out a bad song on this one. Every song is aggressive and memorable. My favorite track is probably "Back To The Roots," which is a song about getting back to REAL METAL!!! This is also the first album where the Reaper makes his appearance on the cover. The artwork was created by Andreas Mashall, who will continue to do cover art for Grave Digger for the next few albums. The only thing that could make this particular disc any better is if it also had the cover track "Sin City" (AC/DC) that is only available on the Japanese version of "Symphony."

Heart of Darkness Grave Digger-Heart of Darkness (GUN) 1995

1. "Tears of Madness" (2:09)
2. "Shadowmaker" (5:39)
3. "Grave Dancer" (5:01)
4. "Demon's Day" (7:28)
5. "Warchild" (6:09)
6. "Heart of Darkness" (11:56)
7. "Hate" (4:22)
8. "Circle of Witches" (7:43)
9. "Black Death" (5:40)

An excellent heavy metal platter from the newly reformed Grave Digger (actually in '93). Everything about this disc is high quality, from the song writing to the production. Vocalist Chris Boltendahl sounds as good as ever with his unique blend of harmony and street level grit. "Heart of Darkness" is an excellent epic metal song that has touches of progressive metal without losing one ounce of aggression. One of the things I like best about Grave Digger is that they have not forgotten what the HEAVY in heavy metal is for. "Heart of Darkness" is yet another great disc since the band's comeback..

Tunes of War Grave Digger-Tunes of War (GUN) 1996

1. "Brave (Intro)" (2:24)
2. "Scotland United" (4:35)
3. "Dark of the Sun" (4:32)
4. "William Wallace (Braveheart)" (5:01)
5. "The Bruce" (6:57)
6. "Battle of Flodden" (4:04)
7. "Ballad of Mary (Queen of Scots)" (5:00)
8. "The Truth" (3:50)
9. "Cry for Freedom (James the VI)" (3:16)
10. "Killing Time" (2:52)
11. "Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)" (4:05)
12. "Culledon Muir" (4:05)
13. "The Fall of the Brave (Outro)" (1:58)

I've got to say, what caught my attention right away was the cool intro and outro, mixing bagpipes with power metal chords. Gotta love that. Anyhow, this being the first album I have heard from the resurrected band, I was quite impressed. Grave Digger have joined the ranks of fellow German bangers Rage and Blind Guardian, creating excellent true metal for new generations (an for old guys like me.) Excellent power/speed metal.

The Dark of the Sum Grave Digger-The Dark of The Sun (Noise) 1997

1. "Rebellion" (Live in Athens) (:37)
2. 'The Dark of The Sun" (4:32)
3. 'Heavy Metal Breakdown" (4:33)
4. "Witch Hunter" (3:14)
5. "Headbanging Man" (3:50)

This EP was released to help support the "Tunes of War" European Tour. It features the one track from 'Tunes of War' ('The Dark of the Sun') and three re-recorded Grave Digger classics: "Heavy Metal Breakdown", "Witch Hunter", "Headbanging Man" all of which sound ten times better than the originals. Essential EP for collectors that is now out of print.

Knights of the Cross Grave Digger-Knights of the Cross (GUN) 1998

1. "Deus to Vult" (2:28)
2. "Knights of the Cross" (4:35)
3. "Monks of War" (3:38)
4. "Heores of this Time" (4:10)
5. "Fanatic Assassins" (3:40)
6. "Lionheart" (4:33)
7. "The Keeper of the Holy Grail" (5:56)
8. "Inquisition" (3:47)
9. "Baphomet" (4:42)
10. "Over the Sea" (3:51)
11. "The Curse of Jacques" (4:52)
12. The Battle of Bannockburn" (6:42)

Grave Digger continues to impress with high caliber heavy metal. Once again, this disc is a concept album. This time around the storyline is based around the rise and fall of the Order of the Knights of Templar during the Middle Ages. Basically what you have is a history lesson set to some powerful speed metal. "Kinghts of the Cross" is one of Grave Digger's finest and certainly one of the top German metal discs of 1998.

This album was also released in a digipack version in Germany that came with "Children of the Grave" (Black Sabbath) as bonus track. The Japanese and South American versions came with "Kill the King" (Rainbow) as a bonus.

Excalibur Grave Digger-Excalibur (GUN) 1999

1. "Secrets of Merlin" (2:38)
2. "Pendragon" (4:20)
3. "Excalibur" (4:45)
4. "Round Table (Forever") (5:10)
5. "Morgane le Fay" (5:16)
6. "Spell" (4:38)
7. "Cristan's Fate" (3:38)
8. "Lancelot"(4:45)
9. "Murdered's Soog" (4:00)
10. "Final War" (4:02)
11. "Emerald Eyes"(4:04)
12. "Avalon" (5:49)

"Excalibur-The story of King Arthur and the Round Table. A metal opus in twelve chapters." Imagine Rage mixed with Savatage with Lemmy on vocals doing an epic story. That's the closest thing I could come up with to describe this excellent power/speed metal feast. The music is dynamic, yet still heavy and contains enough musical and lyrical hooks to hold my attention for the length of the disc. There are tons of fast songs with quick double bass, but there is also the contrasting mellower, melodic parts as well. As seems to be a trend with German bands like Rage, Blind Guardian and Running Wild, there are symphonic elements mixed into the music. In this case, to give the songs a "medieval" flare. Germany seems to have a plethora of this type of speed metal, a style I love and one that is absent from the U.S. market. The Japanese version of "Excalibur" has the added bonus track "Rat Pat Blue" (Deep Purple).

Well, wouldn't you know, the US finally catches on and releases this disc a year after it came out in Germany. Anyhow Nuclear Blast America re-released "Excaliber" in digi-pack format with a bonus track called "Parcival" (4:58).

The Round Table Grave Digger-The Round Table (Forever) (GUN) 1999

1. "The Round Table (Forever)" (5:10)
2. "Excalibur" (4:44)
3. "Mordred's Song" (4:00)
4. "Emerald Eyes" (4:04)

Cool slimline, promotional cd single. Nothing on it that I don't already have on 'Excalibur' but a nice collector's disc nonetheless. Grave Digger cds of any type are hard to come by in the U.S.

The Grave Digger Digi The Grave Digger Grave Digger-The Grave Digger (Nuclear Blast) 2001

1. "Son of Evil" (5:04)
2. "The Grave Digger" (5:05)
3. "Raven" (4:33)
4. "Scythe of Time" (5:14)
5. "Spirits of the Dead" (3:55)
6. "The House" (5:41)
7. "King Pest" (4:08)
8. "Sacred Fire" (4:11)
9. "Funeral Procession" (5:45)
10. "Haunted Palace" (4:13)
11. "Silence" (7:15)
12. "Black Cat" (3:49)

Without a doubt, I have loved each of the band's past albums, each becoming frequent players in my cd player. The last disc I thought was unbelievable. I was wondering how they would top it. Well, suffice it to say that THEY DID! Musically the band stays pretty true to their sound, dynamic power metal but this time around they have added some 'Painkiller'-like speed metal numbers. Of course all this is assuming that you like the stylistic vocals of Chris Boltendahl. Unlike the last three full length albums, this cd doesn't seem to be a concept album. I really enjoyed the past history lessons. The lyrics on this disc, however, are darker than anything the band has done before. Apparently Chris was heavily influenced by the writtings of Edgar Allen Poe on this disc. The limited edition digi version of this release contains a bonus track and a slick black cover with a debossed logo and reaper. The regular cover is inside the disc on the front of the booklet.

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