Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Grave Digger’s debut HEAVY METAL BREAKDOWN came as early as 1984, and if you call yourself a hardrocker you have to know about this band. Chris, the band leader and lead singer, has put Grave Digger on the heavy metal map with the bands unique sound and position, as one of the leading bands from Germany. Together with acts like Helloween, Running Wild, Sinner, and Destruction, they have made the label, ‘Made in Germany’ an international mark of high quality heavy metal.
During the 90’s the band made many concept albums, also landing on the official charts in Germany. On the album THE GRAVE DIGGER from 1991, Manni Schmidt joined (ex- Rage).
Now Grave Digger is about to follow up RHEINGOLD (2003), and on this new album, THE LAST SUPPER, the guys have decided to go back to their roots and write songs like they did back in the 80’s. They have put all of the thoughts about making another concept album behind and now they’re focusing on making as good songs as possible in the genre ‘Made in Germany’.
Manni shows a varied guitar play, and Jens and Stefan have a really solid and heavy foundation in the rhythm section. Chris really takes out everything in his voice; the only one that I can’t hear so well is H.P.
THE LAST SUPPER gives you all that you possibly can wish for of German heavy metal. “Passion” is a short intro with only keyboard. Then when “The Last Supper”, “Desert Rose”, “Hell To Pay”, “Soul Savior”, “Divided Cross”, “The Night Before”, “Black Windows”, and “Hundred Days” come, the album really kicks off. Those tracks are a few neckbreakers a la Germany style. Its heavy metal with a lot of different tempo changes and Manni has opportunity to play heavy and grinding. Chris’ voice lies at the top of the mix and is backed up by Manni. The tempo is frenetic on some of the tracks, and Stefan has a lot do to behind the drums and double bass pedals. “Grave in the No Man’s Land” has a fast and heavy mid tempo, with heavy grinding guitars. “Crucified” is a ballad that starts off with a very slow intro and also shows Chris’ voice capacity and register. “Always and Eternally”, another ballad, has a keyboard intro before the rest of the guys join. It sounds like Manni shifts between acoustic guitar and electric; this is clearly a ballad like song. It’s also the only track where you can actually hear H.P.’s keyboard play.
I’ve never followed this band very closely. Definitely not since the mid 90’s. I think they do a really great job on THE LAST SUPPER. If you like German heavy metal I absolutely think you should check this out; even after 20 years Grave Digger keeps the German metal flag high.
Apparently Chris has written his autobiography about himself and Grave Digger’s ups and downs, and I’ve read that it should be a really fun reading. Unfortunately it’s only in Germany yet and I really hope that it’s going to be translated soon.
All of the elements are perfectly matched on this album and only by the cover you can see what band this is. The only minor negative thing is the two ballads and the mid tempo song, “Grave in No Man’s Land”.
All of the tracks are killer, except for “Grave in No Man’s Land”, “Crucified”, “Passion”, and “Always and Eternally”.