Based on a subject matter related to Arthurian legends, Grave Digger's "Excalibur" is, if I counted right, their eighth full-length album. It's interesting to hear one of the bands that were around in the eighties, the bands that crafted the Teutonic metal style that so many bands now seek (with varying success) to imitate.

Musically, Grave Digger isn't a very innovative band. Like the press release proclaims, they still create their music in a tried and tested manner. Grave Digger fans will appreciate it no end, doubtlessly, but it remains to be seen what such a band will attain in years to come. Chris Boltendahl's voice will never be my favourite, though he gets assisted occasionally and one does get used to his style. Having said that, "Excalibur" contains several climaxes. "The Round Table (Forever)" is a good track, and "Emerald Eyes" grown on you as well.

"Excalibur" is pretty good stuff, but it's just not enough to go all enthusiastic about, barely sticking out from the many, many other metal releases.

And then, after a few listens, the album starts to grow even more. Many of the tracks attain a status of 'diamonds in the rough', such as "The Round Table (Forever)", "Morgane Le Fay", "The Final War" and "Emerald Eyes". Production is good, and it does stick out from other releases. Still, however, I have to say that Boltendahl is holding them back from higher achievements.

Click here to check out or buy this CD

Click here to check out or buy the CD with bonus track ("Rat Rat Blue" of Deep Purple)



Written September 1999 / added November 1999


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