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Exhumation - The Early Years

     
         
         
         
     
             
Grave Digger are a heavy metal band from Germany formed in 1980 who released their debut album in 1984. Following the standard set by fellow countrymen Accept, Grave Digger are one the pioneers of German heavy power metal, setting light to a path that many other iconic German bands have followed, bands such as Warlock, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Rage, Running Wild and Primal Fear ... and so many many more. In the thirty years since their debut album, Grave Digger have released sixteen more studio albums, three live albums, six compilations and numerous singles and E.P.'S. 2016 sees the release of 'Exhumation - The Early Years' which focuses on the bands' formative years from 1984 to 1986.    
             
The mid eighties was a superb time and place to be for anyone who followed heavy metal music...from the UK, the NWOBHM evolution was in full swing, from the USA, the thrash metal movement was exploding onto the scene and from Germany, the power metal genre was beginning to take shape. Grave Digger picked up the baton from (arguably the first ever power metal band) Accept and moved the genre onto the next level. Their debut album, 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' unleashed two of the greatest heavy metal anthems of that time, the bombastic, hard hitting 'Headbanging Man' and the awesome 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' with its big, bold and brash riffing that would become synonymous with European power metal in the years that followed. 'We Wanna Rock You' is a catchy sing a long hard rock song that chugs endlessly and lyrically is kind of a prediction, to what Grave Digger have done throughout their career. 'Tyrant' is a pulsating, pounding slab of head banging power metal.    
             
A three song E.P. was released as an appetiser to the upcoming 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' album, and that E.P. is represented here by way of its title song 'Shoot Her Down', which is an up tempo, energetic and "raise your fists in the air" rollicking good song. Guitars blaze and rhythms thunder as the song belts along at speed. The following year saw the release of the bands second album 'Witch Hunter' with the title song yet another sparkling head banger of a huge riffing, catchy and addictive nature. The band were developing their signature sound with huge guitar riffs and screaming solos, with a vocal delivery that was of the raspy, gravelled edge variety. 'Get Away' and 'Here I Stand' (both also from the 'Witch Hunter' album) showcase the thundering rhythms and blistering guitars of a developing sound, with Grave Digger managing to create very catchy chorus lines, so addictive that they bring a smile to your face...a smile that said "yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa".    
             
Lyrically, Grave Digger have written a lot of songs surrounding wars, battles and historical events, with their (1986 release) 'War Games' full to the brim with such material. The big riffing and thunderous 'Fire In Your Eyes' sees the band picking up the pace and introducing elements of the (soon to be evolved) speed metal genre. With galloping rhythms and blistering guitars 'Fire In Your Eyes' is a head bangers dream. Now, a short history lesson ...1945 and the first atomic bomb dropped was from the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 bomber plane from the USA. Grave Digger took this event and created the sub four minute epic 'Enola Gay - Drop The Bomb'. The song itself has a lighter feel to it, quick paced and catchy with a chant style chorus. 'Playing Fools' is a foot tapping, head nodding solid slab of hard rock with the big riffing, guitar driven 'Paradise' chugging relentlessly.    
             
Over those early years, Grave Digger quickly established themselves as a force in the heavy metal arena. Pulsating rhythms, blazing guitars and having that magical "x-factor" to create and produce head bangingly addictive and catchy songs with memorable guitar hooks and sing a long chorus lines, is what has kept Grave Digger at the forefront of the power metal genre. Seen as pioneers of the genre, the band are still going as strong today as they have ever been and if you have never heard of them before, then this compilation is an excellent introduction to Grave Digger, with all thirteen songs taken from their formative years during the mid eighties. And with the song 'Stand Up And Rock', a huge prophetic statement, Grave Digger have done exactly that... Rock, and rock hard.    
             
Overall, this compilation of songs from the mid eighties is a superb introduction to the development and evolvement of Grave Digger as pioneers of the power metal genre.    
             
             
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
             
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV    
             
             
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