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Grave Digger - Healed By Metal album review

Teutonic metal stalwarts get stuck in their past

Cover art for Grave Digger HEALED BY METAL

The German metal machine trundles relentlessly onward, as it has since the early 80s – except for their bizarre, pop-
metal reinvention as Digger in 1987, the failure of which broke up the band for half a decade. Since 1993 comeback The Reaper they’ve maintained a persistent release schedule, making the three-year wait for this 17th platter a comparatively epic dawdle.

Shame, then, that it continues the concertedly retrogressive trend of 2014’s Return Of The Reaper, to diminished effect. GD excel when seizing historical themes and nailing them with obsessive glee – as on 2012’s Clash Of The Gods compendium. Their latest ‘back to basics’ approach, rehashing their early meat’n’potato speed metal template, may have been inspired by the departure of keyboardist HP Katzenburg (the new guy is nowhere to be heard). But although several melodies, riffs and choruses can’t help hitting the spot, songs like Kill Ritual and Lawbreaker feel too obvious, generic for such a venerable institution.