Nima : Grave Digger is one of those constant factors of heavy metal, and they have been that for – if we only forget about the two years as Digger – 38 years! I have said it before: this is one of those bands where you know where you stand and that is a comforting idea. After hearing the eighteenth studio album, 'The Living Dead', I can happily confirm this once again. Because indeed, 'The Living Dead' has become another typical Grave Digger album, which as a fan and as a fan of (German) heavy metal you can purchase blindly.
Was the magnificent ’Return Of The Reaper’ generally more extreme, and its successor, ’Healed By Metal’, more rock-like in character, 'The Living Dead' generally is slightly heavier, more epic and darker. But Grave Digger would not be Grave Digger if they didn’t deliver the necessary variety. For example, with the opener 'Fear Of The Living Dead', 'When Dead Passes By', 'What War Left Behind' and 'Hymn Of The Damned', we get a couple of sturdy pounders. Songs like 'Blade Of The Immortal' and 'Shadow Of The Warrior' (in which we hear a piece of Gary Moore’s classic 'Over The Hills And Far Away') have more of a Viking metal character, while 'Insane Pain' is more 80s-oriented. 'Fist In Your Face', on the other hand, is an outright rock n' roller and (I suspect) a tribute to Motörhead, with Chris Boltendahl's nice attempt to sound like Lemmy. Of course, nevertheless everything is utterly Grave Digger and sounds trusted and recognizable from start to finish.
The outsider of the album is the in collaboration with Russkaja-composed festive, Grave-Digger-goes-polka "Hoompa-metal" closing track, ‘Zombie Dance’; a pretty entertaining song that shows a different side of the band, which you have to take with a pinch of salt. I must honestly say that 'The Living Dead' is certainly not the strongest record of the gentlemen, but that doesn’t make a damn difference, and certainly does not make it inferior and no less interesting. Moreover, the gentlemen deserve nothing but respect for the fact that after almost four decades the creativity is still not exhausted by a long shot, and especially that they can still be so energetic, enthusiastic and versatile, going strong and doing what they do best.