Grave Digger
Ballads of a Hangman
Style: German Powermetal
Release date: January 9th 2009

Exactly 2 years later Grave Digger releases the successor to 'Liberty or Death'. Since the early eighties they have brightened the world with their records. Their music has always been decent heavy/power metal. Although I must say that the last 3 records have all a bit their own style. 'Rheingold' was more epic, 'The Grave Digger' more horror and this one is more metal.

Recruiting a second guitar player, Thilo Hermann (ex-Running Wild), has lead to more heavy and fast songs with strong dual-riffing. The epic parts are almost gone, except for the heroic choruses. In my opinion this is the heaviest album yet, and of course we still get the explicit vocals of Chris. He still sounds like a raw version of Martin Walkier. His vocals are also a: "you love it or hate it factor". But Grave Digger without Chris is like Motorhead without Lemmy.

Maybe you have already seen the clip for the song "Ballad of a Hangman". If so, you have a good idea what the music of the rest of the album is like. The one song that differs most from the rest is "Lonely the Innocence Dies". In this semi-ballad Chris shares the vocals with Veronica Freedman of Benedictum. Veronica proves that she has the balls to make this song better. The contrast of the vocals makes this an interesting song.

The album can be divided in 2 parts, the faster songs such as: "Into the War", "Ballad of a Madman", "Sorrow of Dead", "Stormrider", "Funeral for a Fallen Angel" and the more midtempo ones. The weakest song in my humble opinion is the song "Pray". After the fast and heavy tracks throughout the whole album this gives you a kind of cold shower at the end. But after that song you yearn to start all over! As long as Grave Digger makes such albums, they are welcome at my funeral to dig my grave and hopefully play some heavy tunes as my final legacy to this world (but of course I hope I will outlive the bands existence). 

01. the Gallows Pole
02. Ballad of a Hangman
03. Hell of Disillusion
04. Sorrow of the Dead
05. Grave of the Addicted
06. Lonely the Innocence Dies
07. Into the War
08. The Shadow of Your Soul
09  Funeral For a Fallen Angel
10.  Stormrider
11. Pray
Label: Napalm Records
Provided  by:                 Napalm Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Reinier de Vries
Date: January 21st 2009