Healed by Metal is the 18th studio album by German power metal band Grave Digger, and if you were thinking to yourself “wow, 18 studio albums, they must have run out of ideas by now”, you’d be right. This album contains all of the classic power/heavy metal cliches in one neat little bundle: cheesy lyrics, bright guitar tones coupled with fast and precise playing and raspy operatic vocals backed by anthemic gang shouts. If you were expecting anything but a “paint-by-numbers” affair then you may be disappointed by this LP.
If there is one thing this album does well however, it’s that every song, despite all of their problems lyrically and creatively, is in reality quite catchy. There were a couple of tracks in which the choruses or the riffs got stuck in my head momentarily before I took it upon myself to listen to the rest of the album, and I must say that for all of the criticism I am about to give, this album isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I think the most irritating thing about this album is that it shows brief moments of excellent musicianship, in the fast shredding solos and the occasional well written riff, but the band seems to take every opportunity they can to squander a song’s good traits by reusing the same boring song structure and rewriting the same boring chorus over and over again. Let’s take the song Hallelujah as an example: the song opens with a bad-ass sounding riff that leads into these dissonant chords in the verses that provide a wall of sound to back up Chris Boltendahl’s most evil sounding vocals yet; and then the song continues into the most boring chorus of the whole album. This is the same problem with Hangman’s Eye which probably has the best riff on this record and yet completely misses the opportunity to build on what it had going for it.
The final track, Laughing with the Dead for the first 40 seconds really impressed me; it had a really unique melody that was complemented well by the bass line in the background but my hopes for this track were quickly shattered when it breaks into a riff that sounds almost identical to the opening track. The track has some nice riffs in the latter portions of it, but doesn’t really live up to its own introduction until the quite frankly great bass solo at 3:30. If you were wondering if the band managed to ruin it from then on, Grave Digger managed it. If I had to recommend you a track on this album however, I think I’d choose the 4th track Free Forever. It features a pretty standard verse, but the chorus features these layers of both acoustic and electric guitars playing in harmony that makes it sound almost folky, which fits with the chorus lyrics, sung in a folklore style about some old hero. This track is finally complemented with an excellent catchy and melodic solo reminiscent of 80’s glam metal or arena metal acts like Bon Jovi. If you’re a power metal fan then you may enjoy this album for its catchy choruses, cheesy lyrics and fast guitar solos but if you’re not then you may end up disliking this album for its formulaic songwriting, its mostly uninspired riffs and its cheesy lyrics. Overall this isn’t terrible, but I don’t think I’ll be re-listening to this affair any time soon.
Overall Rating: Average