Saturday, January 8, 2011

Initial Impressions: Holy Grail: Crisis in Utopia

One of the most highly anticipated debut albums last year was this one from the traditional metal band Holy Grail. After a critically lauded and successful EP, Improper Burial, the band was set to release their first full-length in 2010. Featuring three former members of trad metal band White Wizzard, Holy Grail had already built up a bit of name recognition and were able to release the aforementioned EP on Prosthetic Records.

Musically, this is is high-speed traditional metal drawing on such influences as Iron Maiden, Jag Panzer, and some other bands of the American power metal scene in the 1980's. Oftentimes the sound does come close to being more of a power metal style, although not the flowery European power metal. The album is somewhat similar to Cauldron, of whose 2009 album I was a big fan.

Holy Grail writes very melodic, but oftentimes powerful, and otherwise very fast songs. The riffs fly by quickly and they also utilize shredding guitar solos. The vocals are done in a typical traditional metal style, clean and soaring over the riffs.

The band often hints at more extreme metal styles, such as in the song "The Blackest Night" during the vocals over the power chords. Holy Grail never quite reaches this more extreme sound, but does throw in a thrashier riff once in awhile.

Holy Grail is lumped in with the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, and for good reason. This album clearly sounds stuck in the 1980's. It is a a great fast album to listen to, making it a great album to exceed the speed limit to. Do not take that as legal advice, even though I am a lawyer. Just listen to the damn album.

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