Review HELLRYDER ‘The Devil is a Gambler’

As everybody know, Chris Boltendahl and Axel Ritt are the driving forces behind legendary Grave Digger. Next to ‘mothership’, the veterans had the idea of starting a project that puts the origin of metal to forefront, or how they call it “Dirty Kick Ass Heavy Metal”. Having such an idea is one thing and finding time for realization is another ballgame. Busy agendas made it tricky to find some space for transfer the idea into reality.

There is for sure a lot of bad impacts of the pandemic on the music industry but there are always two side of a coin. Suddenly there was time available since touring wasn’t and isn’t possible. This was the moment in time for Boltendahl and Ritt to sketch further details about their project that is know known as Hellryder.

Hellryder evolved step by step. First songs have been recorded in September last year and since the dust settled more and more, Hellryder became band that also includes Timmi Breideband and Steven Wussow in the line-up.

End of May is the release date for the debut called ‘The Devil is a Gambler’, a longplayer that invites for headbanging from start to finish. It’s the thundering ‘Hellryder’ being the portal to this exciting and dynamic longplayer. Hailing the roots of heavy metal and still sounding quite modern, that’s what the quartet offers in pole position.

‘The Devil is Gambler’ fires on all cylinders, manifested in songs like the smashing ‘Night Rider’. This tune is a real highlight on the album, not only due to the merciless drive, but also due to the anthemic chorus that’s made for live shows. Although many songs are brisk and with higher velocity it’s the moderate paced tracks like ‘Faceless Jesus’ that adds some rock’n’roll spirit to the metal. Another highlight is ‘Passion Maker’. Also, slower than some of the other songs, the tune is a riff beast that takes its energy from the pumping bassline. Last but not least there is with ‘I don’t Wanna Die’ a Domain cover as bonus track too, showing the entire heaviness if you put the Hellryder version next to the original.

There is no weak moment on the album and Hellryder also doesn’t annoy with a standardized ballad. This metal engine is built for speed and power. Although being rooted in heavy metal too, Hellryder sounds different than Grave Digger. No clansman and Scottish highlands. Instead, it’s dirty heavy metal that follows the heart more than the expectations.

Rating: 8 out of 10.


  1. Hellryder
  2. Sacrifice in Paradise
  3. Night Rider
  4. The Devil is a Gambler
  5. Jekyll and Hyde
  6. Faceless Jesus
  7. Chainsaw Lilly
  8. I Die For You
  9. Bad Attitude
  10. Passion Maker
  11. Harder Faster Louder
  12. I Don’t Wanna Die


Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: May 28th, 2021



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