25 To Live

Grave Digger

(note - 25 To Live is available as both a double CD, a DVD, as […]
By David Kaluza
November 24, 2005
Grave Digger - 25 To Live album cover

(note - 25 To Live is available as both a double CD, a DVD, as well as a special package containing both these versions, but due to not being in possession of the DVD yet, this review centers purely on the CD)
It seems that since the mid 90's Grave Digger have been on a roll. Whereas other traditional Metal bands struggled to stay on top of their game (to say the least), Chris Boltendahl & Co. apparently found some sort of new leash on life. Ever since the Tunes Of War album, the band has delivered one solid release after another. This in contrary to many of their colleagues, who either disbanded completely or slowly sunk into mediocrity, never to rise again (*cough* Running Wild *cough*).
Now, during all those years, the fans have been crying out for a live release, which they eventually got in the form of Tunes Of Wacken. Sadly this turned out to be a rather unspectacular effort. Not so much due to the quality of the performance, which was still rather decent , but mainly because it was pretty much impossible to capture 20 years of band history on just a single disc. Safe to say of course that plenty of Grave Digger fans, including me, were hugely disappointed.
It seems that the band is making amends for this with 25 To Live though, because let me state this upfront, this is easily the best and most worthwhile live document you'll get your paws on this year. Simply put, it is everything that a good live album should be. During the more than 2 hours of setlist recorded in Brazil, the band seemingly pulls no punches and delivers classic upon classic. Ranging from more recent killers like Son Of Evil or Grave In No Man's Land down to decades old classics like Heavy Metal Breakdown or Witch Hunter, the tracklist is every Grave Digger fan's wet dream.
Not only is the setlist an absolute stunner, the band also seems to be in an absolute top shape this time around themselves. Tighter than ever before and accompanied by a more than excellent live sound, you could have mistaken Grave Digger to be a bunch of hungry young dogs who just recently joined the Metal scene, instead of a band that has been around for 25 years now. Surely there are many other performers out there who could take an example from this! Not in the least those that deem it necessary to release a new live album every single year or tour, often with the same old tired sounding songs and uninspired performances on it (I'm not calling out names on this but I'm sure you can figure out who I mean for yourselves).
So, my final conclusion on 25 To Live is really quite simple and short. This is easily a must-have for any traditional Metal fan and deserves to get picked up as soon as possible. Definitely one of the best live releases of the past couple of years.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

"25 To Live" Track-listing:

Disc 1

Passion (Intro)
The Last Supper
Desert Rose
The Grave Dancer
Shoot Her Down
The Reaper
The House
Circle Of Witches
Son Of Evil
The Battle Of Bannockburn
The Curse Of Jacques

Disc 2

Grave In The No Man's Land
Morgane LeFay
Symphony Of Death
The Dark Of The Sun
Knights Of The Cross
Twilight Of The Gods
The Grave Digger
The Round Table
Heavy Metal Breakdown

Grave Digger Lineup:

Chris Boltendahl - Vocals
Manni Schmidt - Guitars
Jens Becker - Bass
Hans Peter H.P. Katzenburg - Keyboards
Stefan Arnold - Drums

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