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Grave Digger | Excalibur | review | metal | Lollipop

Grave Digger

Excalibur (Nuclear Blast)
by Martin Popoff

Probably still the most vital of German power metal's wizened quartet of roughriders (the others being Rage, Running Wild, and Sinner), Grave Digger end up biting the arses of the operatic clinical folk of the genre, reminding the world that metal is supposed to grind and throb. But that hasn't stopped them from being one of the most committed to the concept record, here the band continuing their obsession with medieval themes, focusing this time on the mythology of King Arthur. Of course it's wordy, overwrought and stuffed with fussy little parts, but the carnal rhythms, along with Uwe "I Need A New Drug" Lulis' carbonizing guitar sound and Chris Boltendahl's legendary Udo growl keep the show earthy and mischievous, as does the fact that once past all the finery, most of the compositions stick to a simple chug, much fast like Helloween, much leaden like Accept. Nice packaging too (also getting to be a trend), featuring lavish fantasy artwork housed in a digipak format. Light relief: ballad "Emerald Eyes," where Chris sounds like he's coughing up a lung.
(PO Box 43618 Philadelphia, PA 19106)

 


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