Personnel: Chris Boltendahl (vocals, background vocals); Manni Schmidt (guitar); Hans Peter Katzenburg (keyboards); Stefan Arnold (drums); Hacky Hackmann (background vocals).
Recording information: Principal Studios, Senden, Munster (08/2006-10/2006).
Well over a quarter century since their 1980 inception, Grave Digger are at this point basically the Mot?rhead or AC/DC of German power metal bands: they know what they do and are not interested in creative risk-taking for its own sake. There is something to be said for the positive qualities of creative stasis in the proper hands, and there isn't a single song on Liberty or Death, from the epic, grandiose title track opening the album to the Led Zeppelin-inspired North African vibe of "Massada" nearly an hour later, that wouldn't sound out of place on any of Grave Digger's earlier albums. (Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this is how little singer Chris Boltendahl's voice has changed after 27 years of high-register keening.) While on the one hand this means that Liberty or Death will do nothing to change the mind of non-fans, it also means that Grave Digger's 20th studio album is sure to please all those who loved the first 19. ~ Stewart Mason