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Grave Digger - The Ballad Of Mary (EP)

Grave Digger
The Ballad Of Mary (EP)
by Jonathan Maphet at 16 March 2011, 6:17 PM

This is a new EP from GRAVE DIGGER,  the long running dark power metal band from Germany. It contains alternate versions of previously recorded songs with guest musicians on some of the tracks. Doro adds some class to her appearance on both versions of The Ballad of Mary. Her voice is great as usual if you can get past her thick accent, which has always been of a small annoyance to me. It can be understood though since English is not her native tongue. GRAVE DIGGER has shown the ability to change up some of their songs without destroying the original versions. The thing I find most funny about this release is that the two songs listed as “instrumentals” both contain vocals. God only knows whose fault that is. Perhaps my bio sheet is wrong. I would hate to think that a professional band would make such an obvious and glaring mistake. I was looking forward to hearing the instrumentals, but it was not to be.

The production is a bit off. I am not too fond of the guitar work at all. There are way too many pick scrapes and the chords sound clunky. Perhaps they didn’t put as much effort into this EP since it is only an experimental project. I like the bagpipes. One can never go wrong with those. I am not joking. For some reason, I just dig the sound. It reminds me of the old Scottish men wearing kilts and blowing into them hoping to the heavens that a nice breeze doesn’t blow up their kilts! God forbid that such a thing was to ever happen. I have always liked the arcane instruments of Europe, especially when used in medieval renaissance festivals. On this EP you get a small dose of that, and I can’t help but grin when they are played.

 Hansi Kursch makes an appearance on “Rebellion”. As he does with his own band, BLIND GAURDIAN, Hansi brings some rasping vocals to the production. He is not what you would call the typical power metal vocalist. As a matter of fact, I have never been able to really categorize the man, but I own all of his releases. I even own the DEMONDS AND WIZARDS CD’s he put out with Jon Schaffer, so he must be doing something right. The EP has its flaws, but it will make a nice addition to your GRAVE DIGGER collection. All of their fans need to pick this up to see how some of their band’s songs have been modified. It surely is a nice curiosity piece if nothing else.

3 Star Rating

1. The Ballad of Mary 2010 (featuring Doro)
2. Rebellion 2010 (featuring Hansi Kursch)
3. The Ballad of Mary 2010 (unplugged featuring Doro)
4.  Highland Farewell (instrumental)
5.  Coming Home (instrumental version)
Chris Boltendahl – Vocals
Axel Ritt – Guitar
Jens Becker – Bass
Stefan Arnold – Drums
Hans – Peter Katzenburg - Keyboards
Record Label: Napalm Records


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