Grave Digger - Heart Of Darkness
Grave Digger is one of Germany's best and most charismatic Power Metal bands; I have always loved their bombastic, historic and extremely hard-hitting approach.
This album somehow divides Grave Digger's career into two, it was the beginning of an era that was marked by a more mature, epic based and stronger sound, with the most important aspect being the development of more close knit and memorable song writing skills.

Uwe Lulis' monstrously heavy guitar sound and Chris Boltendahl's rough and powerful vocals are the two most important aspects in the basic Grave Digger formula.
The bass also plays an important part through these songs, supporting the already deep and heavy drumming but also adding minor sophisticated details. The tremendous impact laid forth by the rhythm section is as solid and tight as they come.
Let's take a closer look at the nine songs on this brilliantly raw and intensely produced album.

After a tense key intro, the brutal and genius drum/guitar opening sequence of Shadowmaker makes me smile with delight every time; it doesn't get any heavier than this.
This song is a good example of forceful and uncompromising Power Metal, refusing to take any prisoners and only feeds on its own level of unlimited rawness.

When talking about monster riffs, The Grave Dancer has a prominent place in my favourite list, I mean if you can't feel this massive force running through your veins, you must be either close to being deaf or dying. A special mention must go to Frank Ullrich's enormously groovy and technical drum delivery on this hard-hitting piece, and of course Chris' striking vocals that rips all the way through.

Demon's Day slowly builds tension through acoustic tones before taking form as a mid-tempo song with yet another tight rhythm section, not equally ingenious all the way, but it has so much bite and attitude.

If you really need a wake up call to get out of bed in the morning, Warchild offers the perfect solution. Starting out with a nice bedtime melody, it literally explodes into pure madness. This is an ultra fast and intense composition, gaining additional strength from a thunderous guitar solo.

This release offers especially two tracks where the band's dark and atmospheric style shows itself. The title track is the first one up, being a nearly 12-minute epic with a cool gloomy beginning, created by a hypnotic bass and moody guitar lines.
Apocalyptic choirs, dynamic keys and expressive acoustic guitar work creates a fantastic passages in the middle of the song, before the tension is raised towards the dramatic ending.
The powerful chorus works as a memorable thin line and when such an extensive track passes by this quickly, it's a sign of good structuring.

As a contrast to the proportions of the title track, Hate is a down to earth and direct "in your face" banger. The rhythm guitar simply blast away while the powerful drumming tries to follow suit. A cool, uncomplicated, raw and aggressive cut with lots of nerve.

Circle Of Witches is the album's second epic based song, having a rather stretched out beginning. But when it first gets started it's a really great and creative effort, the creeping vocal passages are no less than awesome and hauntingly convincing.

As the final note Black Death sends heavy vibrations through the air, once again the monster tight rhythm section carries out the forceful execution of a rather predictable, but nevertheless vigorous and strong track.

Lyrically the album presents a view into a very dark and depressive world; I mean that in the positive sense. The gloomy words about inner demons, witchcraft and war go hand in hand with the sombre and heavy tone.

When evaluating the important aspects of creativity, musical performances, production, lyrically abilities and how the songs come together, I must conclude that this is a thrilling piece of blistering Power Metal.

Written by Tommy
Monday, February 6, 2006
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Tommy: 8/10

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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by VonSeux (Anonymous) - Wednesday, February 8, 2006
to me, the best Grave Digger in all!

Comment by gizmo (Member) - Tuesday, February 17, 2009
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Comments: 140
Ratings: 4
Have to strongly disagree. Not as bad as the latest albums but this one was nowhere close to the 3 classics. Tunes of war, The reaper and Knights of the cross IMO.

Somehow this album were very differnt from what you would expect from gravedigger at the time. It is not bad but does not have the high quality the other albums did.

After Excalibur and The gravedigger they just lost their way to write good quality songs.

Heart of darkness stands out in the prime period of gravedigger, not for being great just for being different. I would give it 7

Excalibur and The gravedigger 7.5 and 8

Tunes, Reaper and Knights 9.5, 9 and 9.5

Posted by gizmo
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Review by Tommy

Released by
GUN - 1995

1. Tears Of Madness
2. Shadowmaker
3. The Grave Dancer
4. Demon's Day
5. Warchild
6. Heart Of Darkness
7. Hate
8. Circle Of Witches
9. Black Death

Power Metal

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Grave Digger - Official Website

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Tunes Of War - (Tommy)

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