German power metal mainstays Grave Digger once again prove that they really want to be Irishman as they take us into the world of William Wallace and the domain of the Highlander with a striking addition to their catalog The Clans Will Rise Again. They have been honing their craft for quite sometime now and this disc is their strongest release yet. It captures the epic feel of Braveheart with just the right blend of traditional and superior metal music. It didn't hurt that they added the extremely talented guitarist Axel Ritt to the line-up as he brings a fierce, powerful but yet melodic touch to the band. It also means that there is going to be some dynamic guitar solos which are a bit uncharacteristic for Gravedigger.
After the obligatory bagpipe and orchestral intro which brings visions of the Scottish warriors preparing for battle, Grave Digger literally puts the hammer down and you are off on a wild ride that lives and breathes the historic past of the region but in a way that will delight every headbangers there is. Raucous metal anthems abound and sore necks will be likely as these guys really pump it up in arena rock fashion.
Axel introduces himself in true metal fashion as his kicks off the real album opener "Paid In Blood". You have to go no further to comprehend what the listener is in store for with this album. Part fist pumping metal anthem with a chorus that could just have easily been a Scottish warriors drinking song, this is the start of a good old fashion metal disc which is meant to be played at maximum volume and with plenty of room around you. Yes, it might be a bit cheesy but that doesn't stop it from being fun!
OK, I admit it. I am a sucker for this massive sounding metal that can whip a crowd into a frenzy with its easy to digest approach. Nothing fancy here, just a mega dose of extremely loud guitar with the gravely, growling vocals of Chris Boltendahl leading the charge. Then you toss in stories of war and battle from a time when such activities was done mano a mano and you have the formula that will elevate the testosterone level of any male. I defy you to listen to the song "Hammer of the Scots" and not sing along with the chorus while envisioning yourself locked in mortal combat!
This is just plan old escapism fueled by a band that knows how to provide the soundtrack. They know how to push the buttons at the right time. Like when you reach the title track "The Clans Will Rise Again", where they give you a little bit of a breather with a slow bluesy attack that is kind of a reflective moment on the disc. This slow down only gives a menacing, brooding reproach before you are off to the races again.
Grave Digger proves that you don't have to reinvent the wheel to be highly entertaining. This is a campy, cheesy album for sure but just like a drive-in movie you cannot resist. The highly charged metal with just a hint of Scottish folk makes this one an old fashion romp that keeps finding it's way back into the player.
1. Days Of Revenge
2. Paid In Blood
3. Hammer Of The Scots
4. Highland Farewell
5. The Clans Will Rise Again
7. Valley Of Tears
9. Whom The Gods Love Die Young
11. The Piper McLeod
12. Coming Home
13. When Rain Turns To Blood