Review Summary: Rheingold may seem like very creative Power Metal, but Mr. Boltendahl's heavier singing and style makes it a legendary release.
Power Metal is a very unique genre of music. Every band that creates music in this style adds their own unique twists and turns to separate from the pack, such as experimenting with a higher dosage of melody or heaviness. That is what makes the genre so enjoyable; bands like Mystic Prophecy and Stratovarius are so different, yet still creative and entertaining. One such band that experiments with a heavier style of Power Metal is Grave Digger, but finds a way to stand out amongst bands like Iced Earth. Focusing on a darker mood instead of a Thrash Metal influence, along with containing a heavier atmosphere, Grave Digger’s album Rheingold
is definitely a Power Metal album everyone should own.
The dark atmospheres are apparent throughout the entire forty-four minutes of the album, and make it a very unique listen. Songs like “Valhalla” and “Giants” feel much grittier and angrier compared to many other Power Metal bands; containing a much heavier sound in the instruments. Starting off with a bang, these songs (and more) are absolutely remarkable for their sheer aggression and darkness; though they do not forget that they are Power Metal songs. The guitar riffs are both powerful and catchy, and will be memorable for fans of both heavier and lighter styles of Heavy Metal. As for Chris Boltendahl, the band’s singer, he appeals to both groups of metalheads as well. Featuring a voice more comparable to Lemmy Kilmister than Michael Kiske, he adds the final push necessary to complete a truly dark atmosphere. Growling through verses and adding a gruffness to the melodic choruses, his voice is certainly like none other in Power Metal; and completes the band’s style of Power Metal on Rheingold
The diversity of this album is also a major plus, adding to both the aggression and melodies present in the album. The fifth track, titled “Maidens of War,” might be the greatest example of the different elements of this LP. Featuring numerous melodic sections, as well as crushing heavy moments, the song packs in a lot of creative ideas and succeeds in just under six minutes. Other songs, like the rage-filled “Sword” and the ending ballad “Goodbye,” also demonstrate the band’s will to branch out with different styles. Outside of the first few songs, the band constantly mixes up their formula with each passing track; making an incredibly enjoyable listen overall. Unfortunately, the album does have flaws with some of this variety, as some of the songs do fall flat. “Goodbye” is a bit too sappy for Power Metal, and drags on and on in length, being what might be the one true issue with this album.
Featuring diversity and a distinct sound, Grave Digger’s 2003 release is certainly gold. Containing plenty of diversity, a creative sound, and a very unique singer, you will not be disappointed with this. By creating one of the more unique Power Metal albums released, it is a shame that Grave Digger never received much attention. That said, anyone who either feasts on or dabbles in Power Metal should give this album some love; it is assuredly one of the most creative and enjoyable Power Metal albums from the past decade.