Archive for Grave Digger

Metal Challenge: The Riff That Would Not Die

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 5, 2010 by Lightning Slim

Certain musical genres have building blocks that appear over and over in many songs due to their suitability of structure or the affection in which they are held by the artists. Jazz has dozens of standard rhythmic set-up pieces that act as jumping-off points for the soloists, much of the blues involve “waking up this morning”, and there wouldn’t be any sort of jungle or breakbeat without the Amen Break.

Lately I’ve been wondering: does Metal have a standard riff? More than one?  Here’s my initial submission for your perusal – seek out and listen to the following four songs in any order. It’s a painless exercise; they’re all good:

“Two Minutes to Midnight” – Iron Maiden

“The Power and the Glory” – Saxon

“Stand Up and Shout” – Dio

“Heavy Metal Breakdown” – Grave Digger

What do you think? Close enough to count? Discuss amongst yourselves. Feedback, as always, is appreciated, and newer examples or other stylistic coincidences would be a bonus.

Classic Album Review – Grave Digger “Heavy Metal Breakdown” 1984

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , , on December 24, 2009 by Lightning Slim

Awesome  My Xmas present to all of you is to make you aware of GraveDigger’s first album, if you aren’t already. I know, some of you are saying that this band is still alive and kicking now, but I don’t know if they can match the irony-free charm of their debut. Nowadays they’re the German version of Saxon, shoehorning every riff into concept records. I like this earlier period a bit more: every now and then we all want a bit of something that’s not too deep, something that isn’t “art”, something which is Exactly What it Says on the Tin.

Enter Heavy Metal Breakdown, a record with more songs in and about heavy metal than even Manowar can shake a broadsword at. Grave Digger manage to groove like AC/DC but gallop like Maiden. My hat is off to the production team, as what could not have been many deutchmarks are used perfectly – the guitar work sounds you’re sitting right in the basement clubs of Berlin with them. The whole effect is raw and quite stirring. Full marks for choice of cover song: “2000 Lightyears from Home” by the Stones, which gives you a hint at the angle of approach for the rest of the songs.

There aren’t enough bands doing the rock-for-rock’s-sake thing right now (Jack Black, love the video game but you’re not a musician and Andrew WK, where are you?) so it’s comforting to know we can reach into the vault for goodies like this.

Did I mention the cover? A gravestone-being launched from a skull-which is the planet? Nobody does anything that fun any more. 8 out of 10

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