Grave Digger – Exhumation The Early Years

Grave Digger
Exhumation – The Early Years
Released 23rd October 2015
Heavy Metal/ Speed Metal
Released via Napalm Records

‘Exhumation – The Early Years’ is the new album from the German heavy metal band Grave Digger. Released only a year after their previous work ‘Return of the Reaper’, ‘Exhumation..’ features mostly re-recorded versions of old tracks from the band’s first three albums.

The clue is in the title ‘The Early Years’, and by early Grave Digger are referring to the their humble beginnings in early ’80s when their debut album ‘Heavy Metal Breakdown’ was released. So if you are old enough to have followed the band’s career from the start, this doesn’t offer anything new other than a fancy CD cover art, booklet and possibly better production levels. In my case however, I only got into this band recently, so this release was a useful way to get to know some of the Grave Digger classics.

Witch Hunter caught my attention due to the catchy chorus, Chris Boltendahl’s coarse shouting “He’s a witch hunter, witch hunter witch hunter, witch hunter” and the ultra heavy and furious, speed metal style guitars. Similar things can be said about ‘Stand Up and Rock’ which is so catchy that it’s difficult not to head-bang and sing along to the chorus. Then there’s the heavy metal anthem Heavy Metal Breakdown with its furious barrage of thrashing guitar riffs and a chorus that’s likely to stay in your head for some time after the album has finished.

There’s some hints of both speed and thrash metal on here; particularly in the aggressive style of the guitars, audible in tracks such as Get Away and We Wanna Rock You. If you’re looking for some slower, power metal style ballads, you won’t find any on this album. It’s all about the aggressive, “in your face” heavy metal, the choice cuts picked out by the band for their fans.

In summary, I’ve really enjoyed this album. For someone who is only getting to know Grave Digger’s music, ‘Exhumation – The Early Years’ serves as a great introduction. If I ever get the chance to see them live I’ll know which songs to sing along to.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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