With 35 years of experience and more than 18 albums under their belt, Grave Digger is one of the most influential and yet one of the most underrated heavy metal bands out there. Their career started in Germany at the time that bands like Running Wild, Rage & Helloween were opening the path of heavy metal in Europe and in the rest of the world.
Grave Digger developed their signature sound early in the 80’s, and since then they have not looked back. Constantly coming with new material all done under the seminal heavy metal sound, with interesting historical references and stories beyond imagination. But it was until 2015 that they were able to tour North America properly, they did some scattered dates in 2004 including one stop at the legendary Mason Jar in Phoenix AZ.
Almost 10 years later they came back to the valley of the sun on a tour with Blind Guardian that stopped at Marquee Theater last Sunday night. While I was looking at the crowd that converged at Marquee Theater that night, I saw a mix of anxious faces that have waited a lifetime to see this band (including myself) along with so faces full of expectative as they have never heard of them or were too new into their catalog.
Either way, they took the stage around 8 pm opening with the classic Headbanging Man from their début album Heavy metal Breakdown (1984) followed by The Round Table (Forever) out of the Excalibur album (1999). The classic Witch Hunter from their 1985 album, then a more recent song like Ballad of a Hangman out of their Ballads of a Hangman album (2009).
At this point, the crowd was thrilled with the energy and how amazing Grave Digger live is, the show continued with Season of the Witch and Tattooed Rider some of their newer songs taken from their latest album Return of the Reaper (2014), then back in time to the Excalibur album. Their heavy metal party continued with one of my favorite songs, Highland Farewell from The Clans Will Rise Again (2010). Then the last trip down to memory line with Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching) from their Tunes Of War (1996) album followed for the revisited version of the classic Heavy Metal Breakdown (1985).
It was a definitely a show to scratch out from my personal wish list, as I never thought I would be able to see Grave Digger without traveling to Europe, but they were here, they played the classics, and they delivered a pure heavy metal show. I hope is not the last time I get to see them in American soil, but rather the first of many times.
Before the show The Age Of Metal chat with Chris Boltendahl vocalist and founder member of Grave Digger, we talked about their experience touring North America, the new Exhumation album, their legacy and much more.