As a power metal fan, I could never go through life without eventually coming across Grave Digger, and strangely I did not come across them because of my power addiction. I actually discovered them four years ago when I moved to Scotland and was looking for music related to the wonderful lands and culture (well… some of it). It was also during that time I discovered bands such as Skiltron, etc. The reason I bring this up is because the only album I am truly familiar with is Tunes of War released in 1996 which was a concept album based on Scottish history. Since then I have wanted to listen to more Grave Digger but due to their rather large discography I have never known where to start… So, here’s my chance!
The first thought I had when I began to listen to the first and title track on Healed by Metal was “Holy smokes, Manowar!”. It’s an anthem-like tune with a catchy chorus rooting for our good old metal music, maybe a little too much, and apart from the different vocals I did not see much difference between them and The World’s Loudest Band ™.
As the album goes on, the speed metal aspect becomes more obvious and the music much more enjoyable. The catchy riffs of songs such as “When Night Falls” and “The Hangman’s Eye” topped with the strong near-growling vocals brought me back to the spirit of Tunes of War even if the few bagpipes interventions and the strong historical background were not present.
The album also brings more power-oriented tunes such as “Call for War” with powerful moments cutting through the great, fast music which makes the album less repetitive. There is enough variety to keep my interest from beginning to end and yet it keeps the same spirit, the spirit which makes me really want to give a listen to as many more Grave Digger albums as I can!
The final track is another very Manowar-ish number with a slower tune “Laughing with the Dead”, which brings a nice satisfying end to this great album.
Overall, even though I started out being a little skeptical as to why they had chosen Healed by Metal as the album’s name, I really enjoyed the music and although I can often feel other bands coming through in certain songs, Grave Digger definitely have a spirit in their music which can be felt and not explained. My favourite tune turned out to be “Kill Ritual” which is the one tune on the album that is not exactly speed or power but a wonderful mix of both. Now I have had the chance, I must get to know more of Grave Digger!
Healed by Metal is out on Friday 13th January via Napalm Records