Grave Digger - The Clans Are Still Marching - Live at Wacken 2010 (DVD/CD)
Napalm Records
Heavy Metal
15 songs (76'00)
Release year: 2011
Grave Digger, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
Filmed in front of a wild and crazy capacity crowd at the 2010 edition of the Wacken Open Air Festival in Wacken, Germany, Grave Digger pulls out all the stops in delivering one of the most important live performances in their entire 30 year career. That's right, 30 years prior in 1980, lead vocalist (and then bass player) Chris Boltendahl formed Grave Digger. What better way to celebrate than to perform in its entirety what is arguably their best album and crowning achievement, the medieval Scotland themed Tunes of War album from 1996. Guest appearances include Doro Pesch and Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian and helping out on backing vocals for the entire show is the a cappella "metal" band Van Canto.

The whole spectacle begins with The Brave as done by the Baul Muluy Pipes and Drums Band. At first, three pipers begin the Scottish anthem of Scotland The Brave front and center stage before the whole ensemble of pipes and drums slowly snakes its way through the crowd and onto the stage. Seeing the whole group of pipers and drummers hammering out this uplifting Scottish hymn is a spectacle in its own right. Grave Digger immediately charges in with Scotland United as the pipers leave the stage and from there, its full on Grave Digger. The Tunes Of War album is played first with the first guest of the evening, Doro Pesch accompanying Chris Boltendahl for the haunting power ballad, The Ballad of Mary (Queen of Scots). This chilling and very moving version of the song is simply the best I've ever heard and Doro delivers an amazing and emotional performance. Blind Guardian's Hansi Kursch lends his voice to the track Rebellion after an a cappella intro by Van Canto. The set finishes with Ballad of a Hangman, Excalibur and the traditional set closer Heavy Metal Breakdown.

I avoided a more in-depth analysis of the Tunes of War set because that album deserves a classic review of its own someday. The live version of the album is amazing and even sounds much stronger overall than the original. Van Canto and their choruses of voices add a rich vocal texture to the material and it sounds fantastic. When not singing, they can be seen headbanging ferociously the whole concert. The sound of the show is state of the art and new guitarist Axel Ritt (Domain) gets a chance to bask in the spotlight. He really is a very talented musician and handles the material as if he wrote it in the first place.

As a bonus, the entire audio of the show is included on CD and you get the video for a new track Highland Farewell from The Clans Will Rise Again, their latest album. There are some behind the scenes footage as well, a photo gallery of the Wacken show and a sit down interview with Chris Boltendahl where he discusses the entire history of the band and the virtual revolving door of musicians who have been in and out of the line-up over the years. The best live DVD yet from Grave Digger is a must for the fans. The real treat is the Tunes of War album. My favorite Grave Digger album gets a whole new makeover here.....and for the better.

Killing Songs :
Scotland The Brave, Scotland United, William Wallace (Braveheart), The Bruce, The Battle of Flodden, The Ballad of Mary (Queen of Scots), Rebellion, Ballad of a Hangman and Heavy Metal Breakdown
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Other albums by Grave Digger that we have reviewed:
Grave Digger - Clash of the Gods reviewed by Olivier and quoted 74 / 100
Grave Digger - Ballads Of A Hangman reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
Grave Digger - Liberty Or Death reviewed by Chris and quoted 86 / 100
Grave Digger - The Last Supper reviewed by Mike and quoted 67 / 100
Grave Digger - Rheingold reviewed by Danny and quoted 99 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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