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Review: Grave Digger - Knights of the Cross
Grave Digger
Knights of the Cross

Label: Gun Records
Year released: 1998
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: February 24, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Knights of the Cross

Rated 4.56/5 (91.2%) (25 Votes)

Certainly no strangers to slogging it out year after year, German legends Grave Digger have produced a plethora of quality albums since their inception almost 30 years ago, and while their earlier material mainly consisted of plodding, second-rate Thrash, their progression into full blown Power Metal heroes, much like countrymen Blind Guardian, cemented their position as one of the genre’s most prolific and inspiring acts, and even to this day, barely a year goes by without good old Chris Boltendahl and chums wielding the scythe for yet another slice of gravelly majesty. Back in 1998, when this little item was first unleashed, things weren’t so different.

While not their strongest release by any means, the enigmatic Knights of the Cross, an overblown concept album (one of many in a string of releases) about the Knights Templar and their shenanigans over the course of history, is chock full of everything that makes a Grave Digger record so enjoyable, with piercing leads, delicious harmonies, huge, chant-along choruses, and thunderous double-bass, all slapped together by the aforementioned screamer and his idiosyncratic rasp. Despite a ropy production, songs like the chest-beating "Heroes of this Time", the furious "Over the Sea" or even the writhing "The Keeper of the Holy Grail" are notable additions to the band’s growing roster of standards, with "Monks of War" and "The Battle of Bannockburn", the album’s epic closer, being two of the best songs the band have recorded to date. Still, the album is a little strung together in places, with the shallow production being the main contributor towards its inadequacy against the majesty of Tunes of War, Excalibur or even recently with the fantastic Ballads of a Hangman.

A worthy addition to the Grave Digger discography nonetheless, and, if nothing else is handy, an energetic thunderstorm of Power Metal treats to stick on whilst flicking through Holy Blood, Holy Grail a second time.

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