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Grave Digger is a German power/heavy metal band formed in November 1980 in Gladbeck, North Rhine-Westphalia, by Chris Boltendahl (vocals) and Peter Masson (guitars). The band has had many line-up changes throughout their career, notably the guitarist position, with Boltendahl remaining the only constant member. Boltendahl also played bass on the band's first demo, released in 1982, but had given up the role by the time of their second demo, Born Again, in 1983. After some festival appearances Grave Digger took part in the compilation release Rock from Hell alongside artists like Running Wild, S.A.D.O., Railway and Rated X. This eventually led to the group's debut full-length album, Heavy Metal Breakdown, in 1984.

At this point in their career Grave Digger was a traditional heavy metal band with some speed metal leanings, which was a sound they stuck with for a further two studio albums, Witch Hunter in 1985 and
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GRAVE DIGGER Discography

GRAVE DIGGER albums / top albums

GRAVE DIGGER Heavy Metal Breakdown album cover 3.83 | 18 ratings
Heavy Metal Breakdown
Heavy Metal 1984
GRAVE DIGGER Witch Hunter album cover 3.41 | 16 ratings
Witch Hunter
Heavy Metal 1985
GRAVE DIGGER War Games album cover 3.04 | 14 ratings
War Games
Heavy Metal 1986
GRAVE DIGGER The Reaper album cover 3.71 | 17 ratings
The Reaper
Power Metal 1993
GRAVE DIGGER Heart of Darkness album cover 3.62 | 16 ratings
Heart of Darkness
Power Metal 1995
GRAVE DIGGER Tunes of War album cover 3.98 | 20 ratings
Tunes of War
Power Metal 1996
GRAVE DIGGER Knights of the Cross album cover 4.13 | 18 ratings
Knights of the Cross
Power Metal 1998
GRAVE DIGGER Excalibur album cover 4.01 | 22 ratings
Power Metal 1999
GRAVE DIGGER The Grave Digger album cover 3.58 | 15 ratings
The Grave Digger
Power Metal 2001
GRAVE DIGGER Rheingold album cover 4.11 | 14 ratings
Power Metal 2003
GRAVE DIGGER The Last Supper album cover 3.36 | 11 ratings
The Last Supper
Power Metal 2005
GRAVE DIGGER Liberty or Death album cover 3.08 | 12 ratings
Liberty or Death
Power Metal 2007
GRAVE DIGGER Ballads of a Hangman album cover 3.67 | 12 ratings
Ballads of a Hangman
Power Metal 2009
GRAVE DIGGER The Clans Will Rise Again album cover 3.94 | 16 ratings
The Clans Will Rise Again
Power Metal 2010
GRAVE DIGGER Clash of the Gods album cover 3.88 | 11 ratings
Clash of the Gods
Power Metal 2012
GRAVE DIGGER Return of the Reaper album cover 4.35 | 11 ratings
Return of the Reaper
Power Metal 2014
GRAVE DIGGER Exhumation - The Early Years album cover 2.90 | 7 ratings
Exhumation - The Early Years
Heavy Metal 2015
GRAVE DIGGER Healed By Metal album cover 3.98 | 14 ratings
Healed By Metal
Power Metal 2017
GRAVE DIGGER The Living Dead album cover 4.29 | 8 ratings
The Living Dead
Power Metal 2018
GRAVE DIGGER Fields of Blood album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
Fields of Blood
Power Metal 2020
GRAVE DIGGER Symbol Of Eternity album cover 3.75 | 4 ratings
Symbol Of Eternity
Power Metal 2022


GRAVE DIGGER Rock from Hell - German Metal Attack album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rock from Hell - German Metal Attack
Heavy Metal 1983
GRAVE DIGGER Shoot Her Down album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shoot Her Down
Heavy Metal 1984
GRAVE DIGGER Metal Attack Vol. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Attack Vol. 1
Heavy Metal 1985
GRAVE DIGGER For Promotion Only!! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
For Promotion Only!!
Power Metal 1992
GRAVE DIGGER Symphony of Death album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Symphony of Death
Power Metal 1994
GRAVE DIGGER The Dark of the Sun album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dark of the Sun
Power Metal 1997
GRAVE DIGGER Yesterday album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Power Metal 2006
GRAVE DIGGER Pray album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Heavy Metal 2008
GRAVE DIGGER The Ballad of Mary album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ballad of Mary
Heavy Metal 2011
GRAVE DIGGER Home at Last album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Home at Last
Heavy Metal 2012

GRAVE DIGGER live albums

GRAVE DIGGER Tunes of Wacken: Live album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Tunes of Wacken: Live
Power Metal 2002
GRAVE DIGGER 25 to Live album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
25 to Live
Power Metal 2005

GRAVE DIGGER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

GRAVE DIGGER re-issues & compilations

GRAVE DIGGER The Best of the Eighties album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of the Eighties
Heavy Metal 1993
GRAVE DIGGER Masterpieces album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Power Metal 2002
GRAVE DIGGER Lost Tunes From the Vault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lost Tunes From the Vault
Power Metal 2003

GRAVE DIGGER singles (0)

GRAVE DIGGER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


GRAVE DIGGER The Grave Digger

Album · 2001 · Power Metal
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After completing the “Middle Ages trilogy” with their previous three albums, Tunes of War, Knights of the Cross and Excalibur, German veterans Grave Digger turn the page and seek inspiration in the horror genre that had already given them song material in the past (Heart of Darkness). Inevitably, The Grave Digger is a darker album, containing a lower dose of epicness and bombast and placing instead a stronger emphasis on gloomy atmospheres and grittiness. For those who, like me, loved the majestic themes of the previous three albums, this new sound might feel a bit like a let-down. Gone are the catchy singalong choruses, the medieval folk influences and the history-infused storytelling. Instead, we are treated with an impressively grim and heavy dose of guitar riffs, double-bass drumming and shouted vocals by Grave Digger's mastermind Chris Boltendahl.

The album works well for what it’s meant to offer: a relentless collection of 1980s-inspired heavy metal tunes built to take no prisoners in live concerts. The record is very effective in its simplicity. New band addition Manni Schmidt (ex-Rage) provides a vast array of fun and powerful guitar riffs. Stefan Arnold’s drumming is metronomically fast and precise and works well in conjunction with Jens Becker’s no-frill bass grooves. Chris Boltendahl rips and roars with his inimitable vocal tone, effectively conjuring up the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired horrors his lyrics talk about. There are some interesting keyboard interjections appearing here and there in the songs, but these are mostly used to create ambience (I particularly dig the spooky intro to “Raven”). The songwriting heavy lifting here is done almost entirely by the impressively solid guitar work and the tight and steady rhythmic section.

There aren’t many surprises among the eleven tracks of the album (twelve including the rather forgettable bonus track “Black Cat”). Most songs follow the canonical verse-prechours-chorus structure with very few detours. Half of the album tracks are based on breakneck tempos that I am sure went down a treat in open air live shows (“Spirits of the Dead”; “King Pest”), but there are also mid-tempos (“Raven”, “The House”, “Sacred Fire”) and even the obligatory ballad (the insipid and overlong “Silence”). The songwriting quality is fairly homogeneous, which is both good and bad. Good because the album does not contain any obvious filler (although tracks that appear in the second-half of the record, like “Sacred Fire”, “Funeral Procession” and “Silence”, feel slightly unnecessary given that the album’s main message had already been conveyed – and better – by the preceding first-half). Bad because there are very few standout moments on this record, songs that end up defining a band’s discography in the hearts and minds of fans (it is no coincidence that in the three live albums that Grave Digger have published so far since 2001 only a couple of songs have been taken from this record). The one song that stands out is the haunting mid-tempo “The House” where Grave Digger almost flirt with doom. The atmosphere of this song is truly chilling and I love how Boltendahl alternates between his usual gruffy vocal style and clean vocals on the lysergic chorus. The track also stands out for the elaborated orchestral finale that adds a layer of complexity and sophistication to it.

The album enjoys a dry but powerful and clean production by Jörg Umbreit and Vincent Sorg, the owners of Principal Studios (Germany) where the material of The Grave Digger was recorded. I really like the production work that the duo made on this record. It has a modern feel but it is not overproduced as many power metal albums that came out at that time were.

All in all, The Grave Digger is a solid album of 1980s infused heavy metal. It’s doomy and gritty, but it is not as epic or catchy as the band’s material on the previous three albums (and indeed I would not even consider this a power metal album, to be honest). But that formula had perhaps started to become a bit old, so it is refreshing to see that, nine albums in, this band of veterans were still willing to try and mix things up.

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GRAVE DIGGER The Living Dead

Album · 2018 · Power Metal
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Few bands can claim to be either as prolific or as consistent as German heavy/power metal band Grave Digger. They’re up there with Rage as two of the most active and consistently great power metal bands, over an extremely long career. Celebrating their 38th anniversary earlier this year, Grave Digger has released 18 albums to date, managing to fit in at least once every two years since 1993’s The Reaper. They technically missed one in between 2014 and 2017 but did release a re-recordings compilation at that time, so one can hardly accuse the band of slacking off. Less than two years after the release of Healed By Metal, the band is back with their nineteenth full-length release, The Living Dead, set for release this week. Their past few releases have been very strong, with the band seemingly turning back the clock to produce music every bit on par with some of their best work in the 90’s and early 2000’s, so I was excited to hear what this new release would bring, and it’s safe to say: Grave Digger isn’t just surviving, they’re thriving, in a big way!

The band has developed their own signature sound over the past 38 years, playing one of the heaviest, most hard-hitting brands of power metal out there, with all their albums having some excellent guitar work and the ever rough and powerful vocals of Chris Boltendahl. Their past few releases, in particular, felt very similar to some of their classics from the 90’s, bringing back a lot of the raw intensity of those releases while adding in a bit more melody to make it just a bit more accessible and more modern sounding. All of this continues with The Living Dead, which once again contains a seamless blend between the band’s speedy power metal and slower heavy metal tracks, striking a perfect balance between the two, while also balancing nicely between heavy and melodic passages. I found Healed by Metal, in particular, had some huge choruses, and it generally felt like the band was making an effort to make their music just a bit more melodic, without sacrificing any of the riffs, and if anything The Living Dead has gone even further in that direction, featuring some of their biggest, most epic choruses ever, while still being as heavy and intense and fans of the band would expect. There’s certainly a ton of tracks here that will instantly remind fans of the band’s classic works while being just a bit more epic and catchy than usual. There are a few passages throughout the album that feel particularly fresh, and then there’s one specific track at the end that really takes things to a whole new level when it comes to surprising listeners, and I’ll get to that one in a while. Suffice to say, it surprised me in a great way. Performances are obviously strong across the board, and though longtime drummer Stefan Arnold parted ways with the band before the release of the album, he delivered one last great performance before doing so.

Obviously, one element of Grave Digger that will never change, because it just wouldn’t be Grave Digger without it at this point, is the voice of Chris Boltendahl. He has a very raw, raspy voice that sounds rather unique within power metal, and he brings a level of aggression and intensity not often found within the genre, yet he manages to make it work equally well on the faster, more power metal focused tracks, as well as the slower, more heavy metal tracks. His voice sounds as strong as ever on Fear of the Living Dead, and he does an amazing job on some of the bigger choruses, proving he still has what it takes to carry a band as well as anyone in the genre.

For a band that’s been around so long, you’d expect Grave Digger to struggle with songwriting at least a little bit, and yet that really isn’t the case. They had a bit of a rough stretch from 2005-2009 with a couple of slightly weaker albums, but they returned to form nicely in 2010 with The Clans Will Rise Again, and have been on another great run ever since. The streak continues with The Living Dead, which is consistently excellent from top to bottom, while still having a few particularly strong tracks that rank among my favorites by the band. First up is one such highlight, that being the title track. The track opens with a baby’s lullaby gone wrong before the riffs kick in and it turns into the kind of hard-hitting, speedy opener the band excels at. It slows down during the verses but still keeps the energy up with some great riffs, before speeding up again, for a huge, extremely epic chorus, which certainly stands among the band’s best in that department in quite some time. It manages to be equal parts, intense, epic, melodic and super catchy, and definitely gets the album off to an amazing start.

Next is “Blade of the Immortal”, a slower but equally hard-hitting track, with some very punishing riffs right off the bat, as well as another super epic and fun chorus, and an excellent instrumental section which has some rather unique melodies coming from Grave Digger. Overall, it’s an excellent track which blends classic Grave Digger with some fresh sounds in a great way. After that, the pace picks up again with “When Death Passes By”, another heavy track which stays pretty fast-paced throughout, delivering another fast and super fun chorus, as well as some excellent lead riffs and very fun verses. It’s certainly one of the more classic feeling songs on the album, in a great way. Some surprises come on “Shadow of the Warrior”, an epic track which starts out with a soft acoustic section, featuring some surprisingly calm vocals from Chris, before the riffs kick in and it starts moving at a nice pace, without going full speed. It has another very melodic, super catchy chorus, which ranks as one of the best on the album, and it has some more rather unique and awesome melodies during its solo section. Another excellent track.

There’s a couple tracks here will silly lyrics, as expected. The first of these is “The Power of Metal”, a fairly fast and hard-hitting track, which again mixes classic Grave Digger riffs with a big chorus. The lyrics get in the way slightly during the verses but are funnier than anything, and the chorus is amazing, so it’s still a great track overall. The other track with kinda silly lyrics is “Fist in Your Face”, which stays silly throughout, but thankfully it’s an excellent track musically, with some extremely powerful riffs and is an example of the band playing slow paced but energetic classic heavy metal at its best. In between those two are two more excellent tracks in “Hymn of the Damned”, another very classic sounding speedy power metal track with raw sounding riffs and a huge, epic chorus, and “What War Left Behind”, a very thrashy power metal track, which may be the most classic sounding track on the whole album It’s certainly very raw fast and energetic, in an awesome way.

Moving to the final stretch of the album, “Insane Pain” is another very raw and heavy track, which stays fairly fast during the verses, but slows down for a fun chorus. It’s not one of my favorite tracks here, but it’s still excellent and has some great riffs. There’s a very good bonus track called “Glory or Grave”, which is very speedy, hard-hitting and has an extremely epic and catchy chorus, so it definitely fits in perfectly with the rest of the album. One song that doesn’t quite fit in, but is a pleasant surprise, is the closing track “Zombie Dance”, released as the second single, after the title track. It’s a mid-paced, slightly upbeat heavy metal track with some heavy riffs during the verses, and a stupidly catchy chorus, but what really makes it stand out is the fact that the band called in Austrian Russkaja to provide some folk influences to the music, delivering some epic chants as well as some backing music that strikes a balance between folk and polka, giving the song its aforementioned “Dance”, which also factors into the lyrics during the chorus. It gets even weirder during the middle section, and overall it’s a very bizarre experiment, which somehow works out perfectly and is probably the most unique and surprising thing the band has done in at least 15 years.

Overall, The Living Dead is an amazing album from heavy/power metal veterans Grave Digger, which continues a big resurgence they started eight years ago, and if anything, takes things even further, thanks to a delightful mix of the kind of classic, hard-hitting power metal and heavy metal the band excels at with some of the more melodic tendencies the band has picked up on more recent albums, as well as one hell of an epic surprise in the closing track. Obviously, it’s a must buy for any existing fans of the band and in case there’s anyone looking for an aggressive mix heavy/power metal who hasn’t heard of Grave Digger yet, this would certainly be a great album to start with.

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Album · 1999 · Power Metal
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Sometimes it takes just one ingredient to be not to your taste or slightly off-kilter to ruin a musical performance for you. Take the example of Grave Digger's Excalibur; for the most part, the musical backing is tight, solid German-style power metal and pretty enjoyable for it. It all goes a bit wrong when vocalist Chris Boltendahl (taking on the "Sir Parcival" nom de guerre for this release) issues forth his vocals; these are in a harsh, brash, heavily accented style which throws me out of my enjoyment of the music, being both not especially to my taste and stylistically not really feeling like a natural fit with the music.

GRAVE DIGGER Healed By Metal

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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With a total of seventeen prior albums under their belt, Grave Digger is one of Germany's most prolific heavy/power metal bands. With Healed by Metal (2017) they're now on their eighteenth full-length release. It's the follow-up to Exhumation - The Early Years (2015), an album of re-recorded material that for me represents the only major blip on the band's track record of delivering albums of a consistently high quality. In terms of actual new studio albums though this is the follow-up to the excellent Return of the Reaper (2014), which I feel is one of the band's best releases. So I go into Healed by Metal with the hope that Exhumation was just a misguided idea and that Grave Digger will still be riding the same high that allowed them to deliver Return of the Reaper a few years ago.

There's definitely enough killer material on offer here to confirm that to be the case, with an early highlight coming in the form of When Night Falls, which may just be my favourite song from the album. This is a surprisingly short release from Grave Digger as it only comes in at around thirty-six minutes without bonus tracks and most individual tracks sit between the three to four minute mark except for the closing Laughing with the Dead which passes five. It's a no frills attached, get in and get the job done brand of songwriting on Healed by Metal and it works well as the album makes me want to listen to it again immediately, with its catchiest choruses still going through my head the way they do. The music itself is classic Grave Digger style heavy/power metal with their trademark edge, though I do think that some parts of the same come across as a little more polished this time, especially regarding some of the lead guitar melodies. Further highlights for me include Call for War, Kill Ritual and Hallelujah.

There's also a portion of the album though that makes me consider Healed by Metal to be a small step down from Return of the Reaper. The opening title track in particular comes across as being a bit cheesy, as any metal song about metal itself tends to be, and doesn't really hook me into the album too well. Things flow better from When Night Falls onward but I'd have to call out Ten Commandments of Metal as another lesser number. Neither is bad but compared to the highlights they do feel like filler, which brings me back around to the album's length. It really could have done with one or two more songs.

A solid release from Grave Digger, Healed by Metal is certain to please fans of their past work and despite some issues it more than satisfies me after I was disappointed by the re-recordings album.

GRAVE DIGGER Healed By Metal

Album · 2017 · Power Metal
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There are some bands that it seems time itself can’t slow down in the least, one of those being German heavy/power metal band Grave Digger. As 2017 kicks off, the band is approaching 37 years of activity, and unlike many bands their age who tend to slow down over the years and take more time in between albums, they have been consistently releasing at least one album every two years since the release of The Reaper in 1993. Their upcoming release Healed by Metal represents their longest gap in between new albums since then, coming roughly 2 and a half years after their previous release Return of the Reaper, and yet no one can claim the band has been inactive in between, because in late 2015 they released Exhumation – The Early Years, a re-recordings album of tracks from their first three albums. With that being said, the quantity of albums wouldn’t matter much if the band was releasing crap, but surprisingly their past few full lengths albums have been quite strong, with Return of the Reaper in particular being very much on par with some of their best works, so I was excited to hear Healed by Metal, and once again the band has delivered the goods, and produced an album that’s sure to please longtime fans.

The band appears to be in a very celebratory mood at this stage in their career, as recent albums like The Clans Will Rise Again and Return of the Reaper have felt like obvious spiritual successors to past releases (Tunes of War and The Reaper respectively) and of course Exhumation was the biggest example of this, and while Healed by Metal doesn’t feel like an obvious reference to any particular release, it definitely follows their recent trend of sticking very close to what’s worked for them in the past. If anything, I’d describe it as feeling like a mix between the raw energy and intensity of their first three albums and the more melodic, mature sound of some of their recent albums, so in that regard, it feels like an even leaner, meaner follow-up to Return of the Reaper. And indeed, it is a very lean album, clocking in at just over 36 minutes if you don’t include bonus tracks. It makes great use of that time, though, featuring the usual mix of speedy power metal tracks and slower heavy metal tracks, though I’d say it leans a bit closer to the traditional heavy metal side of their music than some of their past few albums have. It’s definitely their hardest hitting album in quite a while with some very powerful riffs at times, and yet it still has some very catchy and melodic choruses, and so it feels like they struck a nice balance.

Obviously, one element that has always separated Grave Digger from other power metal band’s is the voice of Chris Boltendahl, who helps give the music an extra edge with his very raw delivery, and this is as true as ever on Healed by Metal, though at times he does sound a bit lighter and more melodic than normal, especially on tracks such as “When Night Falls” and “Call for War”, where he delivers the choruses very smoothly, by his standards. As always you can tell Chris is having a ton of fun with the material, and really at this point, he is definitely one of the biggest reasons why the band can keep going on and producing great album after great album this late in their career.

The album gets off to a bit of a slow start with the title track, which I find to be one of the weaker songs on the album, though it still has some good parts. Its main riff is quite interesting and has a little bit of a southern rock touch to it, while the verses are slow paced but pretty fun. Its biggest weakness is the bland, repetitive chorus which doesn’t work for me at all, but otherwise, it’s a fairly solid classic feeling heavy metal track. Likewise, tracks like “Ten Commandments of Metal” and Laughing With the Dead” are slower paced and can get a bit silly with the lyrics and vocal delivery during the choruses, but they’re still mostly fun and provide some solid classic heavy metal, with the latter probably being the best of the group.

The first highlight on the album is “When Night Falls”, a much speedier, very hard hitting track that has some energetic verses, before speeding up and allow Chris to deliver some huge vocal lines during its soaring chorus, which is probably my favorite part of the album. It definitely feels like a classic Grave Digger track in the best way possible. Similarly, tracks like “Lawbreaker”, “The Hangman’s Eye”, “Kill Ritual” and “Hallelujah” are all the kind of fun, up-tempo tracks that should please the power metal crowd, and they all have a mix of great riffs and melodies, with “Kill Ritual” in particular having one of the most fun and addictive choruses on the album and probably being my favorite of the group. The album features no ballads or anything really experimental, though the mid-paced tracks “Free Forever” and “Call for War” feel a little more toned down and more focused on melodies than the rest of the album, and both tracks feature some fantastic vocal work from Chris, with the latter in particular being one of his finest vocal performances in quite a long time, while the former has a very nice guitar solo in the middle and a nice acoustic vocal section.

Overall, Healed by Metal doesn’t bring much new to the table, but what it does bring is several more excellent tunes that nail the balance between classic heavy metal and power metal Grave Digger have had since The Reaper, and it very much feels like it could stand toe to toe with their classics, just like its predecessor. While I wouldn’t quite rank it up there with Return of the Reaper, because it has a high percentage of tracks that don’t quite knock it out of the park for me, it’s still a very fun, hard-hitting album with a ton of energy behind it, and I definitely expect it to please longtime fans of the band. Highly recommended for any fans of power metal and heavy metal who like to have more of an edge to their music, as it gets pretty heavy and intense at times, like all Grave Digger albums.

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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
A legendary band. Would like to see more reviews for them posted to MMA. They only have three (and all of those mine).


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