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Review: Grave Digger - Ballads of a Hangman
Grave Digger
Ballads of a Hangman

Label: Napalm Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 41:36
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: April 20, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Ballads of a Hangman

Rated 4.05/5 (81.05%) (19 Votes)

After the lackluster Liberty or Death and its divergent predecessor The Last Supper, it's about bloody time German Heavy Metal legends Grave Digger unleashed another scorcher, and with the intensely delicious Ballads of a Hangman, it looks like the gravelly heroes have done just that. While the medieval majesty of yore has been replaced with a harder, tougher exterior, all the elements that made Grave Digger's past so uniformly congenial are still present in their current incarnation, and with the addition of second guitarist Thilo Herrmann, long standing axeman Manni Schmidt seems to have found his fretboard soul mate, trading licks and leads like a couple of dueling swordsman throughout the album's vast wasteland of pure Heavy Metal greatness.

Eschewing the progressive twists and turns taken during Liberty or Death, Ballads of a Hangman could sit on the shelf alongside such glorious tomes of Heavy Metal excellence as Excalibur, The Reaper and the ever-influential Rheingold, as it's all here in spades; fierce, pounding riffing, thundering double bass, massive, shout-along refrains, and of course, the reaper himself, Chris Boltendahl, whose pebbly rasp screams like a wasp in a blender during the bewitching "Sorrow of the Dead", the hammering "Hell of Disillusion" and the storming "Into The War". With more melodic moments found in "The Shadow of Your Soul" and hit single "Pray", Ballads of a Hangman is a great addition to the German's humongous discography, and a must for any fan of quality traditional metal. An album that is sure to make my album of the year list, you need this, my friends. Trust me.

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