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"Metal invasion that's all what we need
—Heavy Metal Breakdown
Grave Digger is a Heavy Metal/Power Metal band from Germany. Formed in 1980, they are one of the first bands, along with Accept, Running Wild, Helloween, Sinner, Cutty Sark and Rage on the German metal scene.
They are characterized by their singer Chris Boltendahl's singing style, which ranges from a Love It or Hate It sreech to surprisingly clean.
Their early work emphasized on typical metal imagery of constant rocking and gritty reality. In 1987 the band changed their name to Digger and changed their sound to appeal the mainstream. This didn't work out, so the band disbanded. In the early 90's, the band was put back together and it took a darker approach and never looked back since.
- Heavy Metal Breakdown (1984)
- Witch Hunter (1985)
- War Games (1986)
- Stronger Than Ever (1987, released under the name Digger.)
- The Reaper (1993)
- Heart of Darkness (1995)
- Tunes of War (1996)
- Knigths of the Cross (1998)
- Excalibur (1999)
- The Grave Digger (2001)
- Rheingold (2003)
- The Last Supper (2005)
- Liberty or Death (2007)
- Ballads of a Hangman (2009)
- The Clans Will Rise Again (2010)
Singles and extended plays:
- Shoot Her Down (1984)
- Symphony of Death (1994)
- Rebellion (1996)
- The Dark of the Sun (1997)
- The Battle of Bannockburn (1998)
- The Round Table (Forever) (1999)
- Silent Revolution (2006)
- Yesterday (2006)
- Pray (2008)
- Ballad of Mary (2011)
Band provides examples of:
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: "Divided Cross" from The Last Supper.
- Ax Crazy: "Here I Stand" from Witch Hunter is about a man who causes chaos just to "leave his name in history".
- Badass Boast: "Shadowmaker", "The Grave Dancer" (both from Heart of Darkness), "The Bruce (The Lion King)" (Tunes of War), "Morgana Le Fay", "Mordred's Song" (both from Excalibur) and the "The Terrible One" (Liberty or Death).
- Ballad of X: "The Ballad of Mary (Queen of Scotts)" (Tunes of War) and "Ballad of a Hangman" from it's namesake album.
- Child Soldiers: "Warchild" from Heart of Darkness.
- Concept Album: Tunes of War is based on wars waged by Scotland and England. And it features bagpipes.
- Knights of the Cross is based on the crusades carried out in Middle-East. Also features bagpipes.
- Excalibur is based on Arthurian legends. Has a different set of bagpipes.
- The Grave Digger's songs are based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe (except two, "Son of Evil" and "Sacred Fire").
- Rheingold is based on Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung.
- The Clans Will Rise Again is about Scotland in general. Bagpipes return triumphantly.
- Convenient Eclipse: "Dark of the Sun" from Tunes of War.
- Cover Version: They have covered "2000 Lightyears From Home", "School's Out", "Children of the Grave", "Running Free", "Sin City", "Kill the King", "No Quarter", "Overkill", "We Rock", "Starlight" and "Jailbreak".
- Driven to Suicide: "Massada" from Liberty or Death, which is about titular fortress' inhabitants performing a mass suicide during a Roman siege in the first Jewish-Roman war.
- Epic Flail: Used by Grim Reaper on the cover of The Clans Will Rise Again.
- Epic Rocking: "Demon's Day", "Heart of Darkness" (both from Heart of Darkness), "The Bruce (The Lion King)" (Tunes of War), "Silence" (The Grave Digger), "Twilight of the Gods" (Rheingold) and "Crucified" (The Last Supper).
- Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: As mentioned above, bagpipes are featured heavily on Tunes of War. They can also be heard on "Battle of Bannockburn" on Knights of the Cross and "Highland Tears" on Liberty or Death.
- Evil Laugh: Featured on "Wedding Day" (The Reaper) and "Symphony of Death" from its namesake EP.
- Evil Overlooker: Grim Reaper on the cover of Knigths of the Cross.
- Filk Song: "Circle of Witches", "Heart of Darkness" and "Son of Evil".
- Forging Scene: "Sword" from Rheingold.
- Gladiator Games: "Forecourt to Hell" from Liberty or Death.
- Gratuitous Panning: The bass intro for "Demon's Day" on Heart of Darkness.
- Greatest Hits Album: They have several, but Best of the Eighties and Lost Tunes from the Vault are the ones to look for their inclusion of several Wasted Songs.
- Green Aesop: "Dolphin's Cry" from Heart of Darkness.
- Green Eyes: "Emerald Eyes" from Excalibur.
- Grief Song: "Silence" from The Grave Digger.
- The Grim Reaper: Their mascot since the reformation in the 90's.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: On the background of "The Madness Continues", the outro of The Reaper.
- Heavy Meta: "Headbanging Man", "Heavy Metal Breakdown", "We Wanna Rock You", "Get Ready for Power", "Under My Flag", "Back to the Roots", "Shout It Out".
- Heavy Mithril: Hints of it in Excalibur, but Rheingold is a straight example.
- Instrumentals: Every album either opens or closes with a small instrumental piece. Sometimes both.
- Lighter and Softer: Their brief apperance as Digger.
- Loudness War: The Last Supper album.
- Merlin and Nimue: "The Spell" from Excalibur, based on the Trope Namers themselves.
- The Messiah: "Soul Savior" from The Last Supper.
- Murder Ballad: "Shoot Her Down" from Best of the Eighties
- No Export for You: The 2CD version of Heavy Metal Breakdown, which has lots of rare songs on the second disc, was released only in Japan.
- Old Shame: The Stronger Than Ever album.
- Opening Chorus: "Tristan's Fate" from Excalibur.
- Power Ballad: Every album has at least one. Ones on earlier albums are rather silly.
- Rearrange the Song: Only way to know that "2000 Lightyears From Home" is actually a cover of The Rolling Stones is to look at the lyrics.
- Recurring Riff: There's are certain guitar riff that has appeared on many albums since The Reaper.
- Richard the Lion Hearted: "Lionheart" from Knights of the Cross is based on him.
- "Ride of the Valkyries": Can be heard on "Heart of Darkness". Sadly, it's not a metal rendition.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus: "And the Devil Plays Piano" from The Reaper.
- Self-Titled Album: With a self-titled song.
- Slouch of Villainy: Mixed with Atop a Mountain of Corpses on the cover of Liberty or Death.
- Soprano and Gravel: "Lonely the Innocence Dies" from Ballads of a Hangman features Victoria Freeman of Benedictum as the soprano.
- Stab the Sky: On the cover of Excalibur.
- Stern Chase: "Get Away" from Witch Hunter.
- Subdued Section: "Get Ready for Power" from (Witch Hunter).
- Tears of Blood: They have song with the same title and theme on Best of the Eighties.
- Title-Only Chorus: "Heart Attack", "Spy of Mas'On", "Ruler Mr. H."
- Wanderlust Song: "Night Drifter" from Witch Hunter.
- War Is Hell: "Into the War" from Ballads of a Hangman.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: "(Enola Gay) Drop the Bomb" from War Games portrays the nuking of Hiroshima as an epic High Altitude Battle.
- The X of Y