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Grave Digger - "Masterpieces"
G.U.N. Records 2002

The same sad story as happened to Rage is now facing Grave Digger. Their old record label (G.U.N. Records) has released the band's "best of" without any agreement with the band, which is now in hands of Nuclear Blast. Booklet is four sided disaster with exception of front cover that was taken from A. Rethel's print of his famous woodcraft. The band had used Rethel's art also for booklet design of "The Reaper" release in 1993.

So it depends (as always) on you, who you're gonna follow (just follow your mind if you ask me). Should we ignore that release or not? There are many facts, which speak about the high quality of this "best of" CD. All songs are re-mastered by ex-Grave Digger guitarist Uwe Lulis.

And that's the main reason why it's worth tasting. Re-masters on CD appear in a cool chosen order. The only peaceful song is "Ballad Of Mary (The Queen Of Scots)" added in the end. What is a trademark of this band doesn't need to be explicitly pointed out here. Full smashing teutonic ear splitting Heavy Metal. Pure metal (I'm speaking for myself here). The difference between original sound and re-masters is now taking all those superlatives even on a higher level. Echo effect can be clearly heard in Chris' venomous and vampyrized roaring. Torpedo bomb exploding double bass footwork on drums, bass guitar and Uwe's unique guitar are perfectly divided in sound. Aggressive sound full of anger and wrath is even more alive due to fantastic re-mastering work. This differences are very easy to detach in band's older stuff: "The Reaper" (version without intro), "Fight The Fight", "Symphony Of Death" (version without intro), "Circle Of Witches" or epicaly driven "Heart Of Darkness". Enjoy especially sonic superdrive J. Michael's "in memoriam" drum punching, who is now a part of Stratovarius.

Of course you won't miss Tunes Of War (1996) cult classics as "Rebellion (the clans are marching)", "Scotland United" and "Dark Of The Sun" are. From 1998 Knights Of The Cross album were chosen "Lionheart" and "the tunes of war" missing track "Battle Of Bannockburn" and from King's Arthur Excalibur (1999) legendary tales "Excalibur" and everlasting "The Roundtable".

Delicious and hard to refuse offerings are three tracks that are band's iron legacy from the eighties: "Headbanging Man", "Heavy Metal Breakdown" and "Witchunter". They were done by "tunes of war" line up from 1997 (Bolthendal/Arnold/Lulis/Göttlich) and re-recorded. To fulfill the sound in mentioned three songs, H. P. Katzenburg took his usual place by helping the band in adding fine orchestral arrangements. The sound is wild and untamed with new guitar solos that were done in special Uwe's way. The most important key in this band is Uncle Reaper. His roaring will send shivers down your spine. I think I'm going to the CD store anyway. Can't help myself, I'm a "grave digger" addict.

Author:   Ale¹

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