[10 October 2006]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
Since the early 1980s, Germany’s Grave Digger has been churning out solid, respectable power metal, and while they’re one of those bands from the ‘80s whose impact on the genre was minimal, they’ve managed to stay the course long enough to maintain a small but devoted fanbase. In celebration of the band’s 25th anniversary in 2005, the band recorded this CD/DVD set in front of a very receptive crowd in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and true to their nature (all metal live albums should be recorded in Brazil), the audience is with the band every step of the way, singing along to songs old and new, and erupting into soccer chants in between songs. The band delivers a workmanlike, career-spanning, 27-song set, but while guitarist Manni Schmidt and drummer Stefan Arnold are impeccable, and longtime singer Chris Boltendahl is in fine vocal form, the CD suffers from a rather bland mix, while the DVD is low on the bells and whistles, focusing on the band’s somewhat bland stage presence. Musically, though, the band sounds terrific, and songs like “Grave Dancer”, “Shoot Her Down”, and the classic “Heavy Metal Breakdown” show there’s plenty of life in these geezers yet. Recommended for fans only.