Originally written by Gregory Bradley.
Not since Rheingold have Grave Digger put toegther songs for an album and released the material. Did that sentence sound redundant? It should, and so does their newest album, The Last Supper. Actually, The Last Supper is substantially more interesting than Rheingold, musically anyway. However, ever since their self-titled album of a few years ago, they simply haven’t done much with their sound.
This criticism is, of course, mostly coming from the critic side of me and not from the metal listener side. Taken out of context, this album should have been – and is – quite interesting. It definitely has the classic Grave Digger sound, and the riffs aren’t exactly recycled. They may be similar to the older material, but they are still somewhat interesting. My problem is the fact that unless you’re a hardcore Digger fan, there’s no way in hell one would be able to pull a song from this (or any) of their albums and place exactly what album it came from. In other words, every one of their albums sounds almost exactly the same, and The Last Supper is no exception. There’s no distinction between “eras”, like most long-lasting bands have done on their releases over the years.
With the ethical criticisms aside, the album is indeed a shredder. Everything about the band is still top notch. Can you really criticize a band for not changing a winning formula? The album actually starts very similarly to their self-titled effort, with some piano followed by some power riffs. The gruff-yet-melodic vocals are the signature of the band, and naturally they are still there in full force. Songs like “Grave In No Man’s Land”, “Soul Savior”, and “Hundred Days” are just classic, with the galloping beats, the simple, quick riffs, and of course a terribly worded yet undeniably catchy chorus’. There were a few songs that were a little too Christian for me, but in an album called The Last Supper I guess there’s not much you can do about that.
I can’t completely criticize Grave Digger for being stale, as they did have two songs that are a little different on the album. “Always and Eternally” has a cool little concertina-sounding instrument playing a sad little riff that for some reason is incredibly charming. “Divided Cross” has an interesting riff, for some reason it just sounds like new Grave Digger material more than the other songs.
So this is where you have to make your own decision on the album. Do you like Grave Digger, or power metal in general? If so, get the album, it’s fun to listen to. If you’re looking for something a little more intellectual or a band who is doing more with their sound, then you should skip this one. Grave Digger to me is a band who is still making albums mostly for an excuse to continue to tour, but as long as they keep putting out solid material, I say bring it on, and I wish them the best of luck.