01. The Siege Of Akkon 02. Battle Cry 03. Hell Is My Purgatory 04. King of the Kings 05. Symbol of Eternity 06. Nights of Jerusalem 07. Heart of a Warrior 08. Grace of God 09. Sky of Swords 10. Holy Warfare 11. The Last Crusade 12. Hellas Hellas
When it comes to the grand heavy metal scheme of things, a band like GRAVE DIGGER can easily be overlooked. The German veterans have stuck to their guns with great alacrity over the last 40 years, never deviating from a righteous old-school path, but always in search of another windswept and war-torn story to tell. Always slightly heavier than you remember them, GRAVE DIGGER have been a reassuring, unpretentious presence for a long time.
"Symbol Of Eternity" — the band's 20th studio album! — starts with a momentous overture, and then delivers 11 bombastic and melodramatic heavy metal songs, all conceptually concerned with the Knights Templar, which makes this a sequel of sorts to 1998's "Knights of the Cross". It is undeniably familiar territory, but GRAVE DIGGER are comfortable with their long-held musical identity and never seem to run out of musical ideas either.
Devoted fans will be pleased to learn that "Symbol of Eternity" is a top tier GRAVE DIGGER record: up there with the early classics, the "Tunes Of War" to "Excalibur" era, and 2012's "Clash of the Gods". An underrated classic, "Clash…" was guitarist Axel Ritt's second album with the band, and the moment that his songwriting partnership with the indestructible Chris Boltendahl really started to flourish. A decade on, the duo are simply soaring. It is obvious from the opening "Battle Cry" that energy levels are at a peak. It's a classic GRAVE DIGGER anthem, but there's fresh venom in the delivery. Similarly, "Holy Warfare" is an all-out rager, with speed metal's black wind at its back and a tangible sense of mortal loss. The more epic "Symbol of Eternity" gets, the more impressive and irresistible it becomes. "King of the Kings" is a simply fantastic song: stately and ominous but blessed with a giant chorus and a mesmerizing burst of Brian May-style guitar histrionics, it should be the first new cut on future set lists. "The Last Crusade" is a triumphant but turbulent squall of machine-gun riffing, mellifluous soloing and unexpected mood swings, with another core refrain fit to haunt the battlefield, while the title track's doom-laden swagger and DIO-esque detours lead to one of the most evocative yarns in GRAVE DIGGER history.
Ending with a straightforward but eminently charming cover of "Hellas Hellas" (originally by Greek singer / songwriter Vasilis Papakonstantinou, and who actually pops in for a cameo), recorded in tribute to GRAVE DIGGER's fiercely loyal Greek fan base, "Symbol of Eternity" is more of the brilliant, bloody-minded same, but slightly more brilliant.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).