Album Review – Grave Digger / Symbol of Eternity (2022)

The mighty Grave Digger go back in time to offer us all a powerful sequel to their 1998 classic Knights of the Cross based on the Knights Templar, the Crusades and the Holy Grail.

One of the most important and creative bands in the history of German rock and metal, the mighty Power Metal institution Grave Digger, is back two years after the excellent Fields of Blood with another headbanging album entitled Symbol of Eternity, bringing to our ears everything we’ve learned to love in their music since the band’s inception decades ago. Produced, mixed and mastered by the band’s mastermind, the iconic Chris Boltendahl himself, at his own studio named Graveyard Studios, and displaying a beautiful artwork by Uwe Jarling, Symbol of Eternity is a concept album based on the Knights Templar, the Crusades and the Holy Grail, working as a sequel to the band’s 1998 classic Knights of the Cross while showcasing once again all the talent and passion of the aforementioned Chris Boltendahl together with his henchmen Axel Ritt on the guitars, Jens Becker on bass and Marcus Kniep on drums.

It’s time to head into the battlefield to the sound of the epic, cinematic intro The Siege Of Akkon before Chris & Co. deliver pure Heavy Metal in the exciting Battle Cry, with Marcus dictating the pace with his old school beats accompanied by the rumbling bass by Jens. Put differently, it’s pure, unfiltered Grave Digger for all diehard fans of the band to sing along with them, and the same can be said about Hell Is My Purgatory, showcasing an addictive chorus vociferated by Chris (“Hell is my purgatory / I’m a sinner, I’m your priest / Hell is my purgatory / Faith unleashed the beast / Hell is my damnation / My holy revelation / Hell is my crematory / Hell! Hell! Hell!”) and a great sync between Axel’s riffs and Jens’ metallic bass. Then pure German metal riffage flows from Axel’s guitar in the also high-octane King Of The Kings, where Marcus once again hammers his drums in great fashion, whereas the title-track Symbol Of Eternity brings forward the band’s usual heaviness and obscurity, displaying a sluggish pace, somber passages and the melancholic vocals by Chris, albeit not as exciting a the rest of the album. After the short Middle Eastern-inspired interlude Saladin, the band returns in full force with Nights Of Jerusalem, offering our ears more of their thunderous drums, dirty riffs and raspy vocals. Moreover, we all know Chris is an amazing storyteller, and he nails it once again in this classic tune.

Heart Of A Warrior presents another beyond catchy chorus (“Take my last breath / Prepared myself to death / In my last hour / I feel the power / And I was sent by God / To be victorious / I got the heart / Of a warrior”) embraced by a classic Grave Digger sonority; while acoustic guitars kick off the mid-tempo, headbanging tune Grace Of God, with its background symphonic element adding an extra touch of epicness to the overall result. Back to a more melodic sonority, it’s time for Axel to extract sheer electricity form his guitar in Sky Of Swords, perfect for banging your head and raising your fists in the air together with the unrelenting Grave Digger, followed by Holy Warfare, a pure Heavy and Power Metal feast made in Germany with an exciting pace and riffage where Marcus pounds his drums as we dive into the battle together with the band. The Last Crusade, the last original song from the album, will darken the skies to the deep, sinister vocals by Chris while the instrumental pieces sound and feel utterly powerful. Last but not least, the bonus track Hellas Hellas, featuring guest vocals by its original singer Vasilis Papakonstantinou, has been a staple in Grave Digger’s sets whenever they played Greece, since the 90’s, and this new studio version kicks some serious ass to the point it should be played anywhere, not just in Greece (and you can compare it to the original version by clicking HERE).

Grave Digger Symbol of Eternity Limited Collector’s Hardcover Boxset

Symbol of Eternity can be savored in its entirety on Spotify, but of course if you’ve always been a loyal soldier of the Grave Digger army you can purchase your favorite version of the album by clicking HERE, including the super limited collector’s hardcover boxset (and good luck trying to find that one available as it’s limited to only 500 copies worldwide) that includes the limited 2CD mediabook, a 115 x 75cm flag, an armband with metallic 3D emblem, an A3 poster, a signed autograph card and a certificate of authenticity. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news and their electrifying tour dates, raising your sword together with Chris and his horde whenever they take your city by storm. In a nutshell, Symbol of Eternity might not get even close to being their strongest effort to date, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful and gripping album of old school German Heavy Metal, proving why Grave Digger have been on the road for so many decades and showing us all they’re far from calling it quits. Long live Grave Digger, and may their Power Metal be part of the soundtrack of our lives for all eternity!

Best moments of the album: Battle Cry, Hell Is My Purgatory, Heart Of A Warrior and Holy Warfare.

Worst moments of the album: Symbol Of Eternity.

Released in 2022 ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records

Track listing
1. The Siege Of Akkon 1:03
2. Battle Cry 3:53
3. Hell Is My Purgatory 3:53
4. King Of The Kings 4:43
5. Symbol Of Eternity 5:18
6. Saladin 0:36
7. Nights Of Jerusalem 4:40
8. Heart Of A Warrior 3:46
9. Grace Of God 4:23
10. Sky Of Swords 4:16
11. Holy Warfare 3:43
12. The Last Crusade 5:20
13. Hellas Hellas (Vasilis Papakonstantinou cover) 4:00

Limited Edition Boxset/ Mediabook CD 2 (Live at Metal Hammer Paradise)
1. The Clansman’s Journey 1:31
2. Healed by Metal 4:31
3. The Clans Will Rise Again 5:31
4. Lawbreaker 3:33
5. The Roundtable 5:36
6. The Curse of Jacques 5:09
7. Season of the Witch 5:17
8. Excalibur 5:25
9. Rebellion 5:49
10. Witch Hunter 3:44
11. Heavy Metal Breakdown 8:18

Band members
Chris Boltendahl – vocals
Axel Ritt – guitar
Jens Becker – bass
Marcus Kniep – drums

Guest musician
Vasilis Papakonstantinou – vocals on “Hellas Hellas”

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