Released: 2010, Napalm Records
Twenty seven years after their debut, lead throat man Chris Boltendahl remains the only original member on Grave Digger’s new album THE CLANS WILL RISE AGAIN. The new album is basically a sequel to 1996’s TUNES OF WAR, Boltendahl leading the band through more tales of William Wallace. On this, the band’s 15th studio album, Grave Digger once again has proven their prolificacy, essentially churning out a new album every couple of years. Remarkably, the band has managed to maintain a consistent and admirable quality in song craft, not blowing anybody away but also not mailing it in either.
THE CLANS WILL RISE AGAIN is exactly what you would expect from a Grave Digger album, sporting no real surprises or tricks. The delivery is their standard meat and potatoes mid tempo metal, occasional shifts towards speed metal, and the usual well-intentioned but misplaced ballads. The march or die theme is best experienced on tunes like the title track, the Lemmy influenced “Rebels”, and the Helloweenish “Coming Home.” Unfortunately, the embarrassing ballad “When Rain Turns To Blood” painfully reveals how unsuited to this style Boldendahl’s voice really is. Musically and lyrically, the band has nothing left to say, writer’s block firmly entrenched and probably here to stay, as the bag pipes wail on amidst a decent but unremarkable production job.
Clearly, THE CLANS WILL RISE AGAIN will not convert fence sitters to Grave Digger’s brand of metal, but its predictable and professional adherence to their formula may well please many long time fans. This album is certainly decent, most of the songs being listenable, especially after a few tasty beverages, but nothing on here could be considered awesome or mind blowing. The good thing here is that you get what you would expect, and if uncomplicated working man’s German power metal is what you crave, then THE CLANS WILL RISE AGAIN might be just what you need.