13.09.2018 • Michal Roháč
German heavy metal legend Grave Digger is back in the game. The new album fans have long been waiting for, but they were also surprised by the departure of long-time drummer Stefan. The guitarist Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt responded to this change, album, but also how the band spends time before releasing the album in the following interview.
In September, The Living Dead comes out. How do you spend the time before your release?
Believe it or not, Chris (Boltendahl) and I are already collecting ideas for the next album. We do have some great plans for 2020, the 40th anniversary of the band and the development is already on the run.
The band left the longtime member Stefan Arnold. Why?
It didn’t work out anymore. Working together in band is like a marriage, sometime it lasts a few years, sometimes it’s forever. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more to say.
The fans almost immediately responded to this change. What were their reactions?
I understand, that the fans are interested in the line up change. Of course, a few were upset about this development, but the majority assumes that there will be some good reasons to do so.
So you did not even look for the drummer and Markus replace keyboards to drums?
Because as you can see at his Youtube Channel, Marcus is a hell of a drummer, indeed he’s a ten times better drummer than keyboarder, with his skills, he could join Dream Theater as well. He’s diligent, interested in many kinds of music and instruments.
The album will be even more musical to classic heavy metal. And what about his lyrics? What inspired you to compose it?
The lyrical part is completely in Chris’ hands, so he’s the only one who can tell about the story behind the words. This time, we did a new concept of songwriting. In regular cases, metal bands start with guitar riff, putting the song around the riff. This time all of our songs started with the vocal hook of the chorus, which I asked Chris for to do so. So he sent over vocal lines and lyrics, everything what had been in his head, sometimes only a hook without words and I wrote the final song around this chorus ideas. So this time we do have the strongest and most ambitious vocal hooks Grave Digger ever had.
The song has already been published and the fans have not praised the song. How are you satisfied with the album?
It’s awesome. We never had such a long list of best songwriting before.
Will there be some special limited edition albums, or will some Aureum whiskey edition?
There will be a lot of limited editions of the album by our record company Napalm Records, which can be considered and ordered at their online shop or probably at Amazon. At the moment, there will be no new Grave Digger Aureum whisky released, because the Classic and the The Bruce edition are selling pretty well. But there are plans for a third edition, which will last some more time indeed.
The tour starts next year. You have been in Slovakia for the last six years. Do not plan to come back here again?
We’d love to visit Slovakia, but we need a proper offer of the local promoters. It’s never up to us, it always depends on the local promoters. So ask your local club owner and we will play at your country, it’s as simple as that.
Thank you for your time spent on my questions. What would you like to say to your fans in the end?
Hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows.