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Grave Digger The Last Supper

By Mark "The World Eater" Morton, Contributor
Monday, August 8, 2005 @ 10:09 PM


(Nuclear Blast)

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Rummaging through Grave Digger’s catalogue is becoming more and more like piecing together the clues from The Da Vinci Code, especially with the band’s latest outing, The Last Supper. And as such, Grave Digger’s work has become increasingly more intelligent, but no less potent throughout time. Grave Digger is one of those few bands that has been able to retain the bulk of its early sound while evolving various elements as the band ages creating new albums that are more cohesive and solid than its predecessor. Where 2003’s Rheingold found Grave Digger tinkering with progressive, classical music elements to enhance the operatic theme of the album (Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelungs), The Last Supper plays on the emotional tribulations suffered at the hand of mankind’s greed, ignorance and apathy. On the flipside, it’s a quest for love; a cry for compassion, and a question of one’s self worth.

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Heady stuff for an otherwise classic German power metal band, but then again, Grave Digger is anything but conventional, from frontman Chris Boltendahl’s gravel-throated croon to the band’s hybrid writing style of neo-balladry and fist-pumping, chorus-chanting anthems. The band’s long-standing penchant for conceptual pieces seeps through to The Last Supper, though limited to the first 8 tracks of the 12-song (14-song on the Euro digipack) opus. While the cover art and title would give the passing listener the impression that the band is trying to cash in on Mel Gibson’s controversial film about Jesus getting the Rodney King treatment, actual inspection resonates more like the skepticism central to Scorcese’s far superior gangster-absent (though Keitel’s portrayal of Judas leaves one wondering) Last Temptation of Christ.

Overall, Grave Digger has remained true to its mission of quality over quantity, creating a string of songs that sound great separated or unified, rather than churning out uninspired drivel for the sake of releasing an album. And for this especially, these Germans should be commended.

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