Released: 2017, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Save for some excursions in the 80’s involving a robotic Donald Duck and some board shorts (do your homework), Chris Boltendahl and Grave Digger have been delivering nothing, if not reliable, Teutonic heavy metal for the past thirty something years. Their soon to be released HEALED BY METAL is no exception to that rule, and if anything shows that Boltendahl’s passion for THE METAL is as strong as it ever was.
HEALED BY METAL is the 18th (keep me honest folks) full length from the long running German Metal Warriors, and sounds as true to their mission as HEAVY METAL BREAKDOWN and WITCH HUNTER did three decades ago. Boltendhahl’s voice may be a little worse for the wear, but he’s surrounded himself with an able body of musicians that help keep the riffs pounding and the blood pumping. Now – truth be told, there’s plenty of superficial cheeze spread awfully thick across HEALED BY METAL. Tunes like “Lawbreaker” with its revving motorcycle engines, “Laughing With the Dead” with its “ho,ho,ho, ha,ha,ha”, and the title track with its similarities to Billy Squire’s “The Stroke” offer plenty of opportunity to point and laugh. But dammitall if it doesn’t manage to overcome all of that adversity and still get your fists pumping like it was 1985 all over again. Couple that with genuine anthems like “Call For War”, “When Night Falls”, and the thrashing groove of “Ten Commandments of Metal”, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
In an age where genre divisions run deep and fans can be often pit against each other, you need an equalizer to reset the playing field and let us know that we’re all “right”, because we’re all METAL. Grave Digger is just such a band and HEALED BY METAL is just such an album. Whether you’re into Power Metal/Thrash Metal/Death Metal/Whatever Metal – I defy you to listen to this album and not rekindle the spark that gravitated you towards this music in the first place. We were all HEALED BY METAL. Horns up, “Heavy Meal Breakdown” for life.