Holy Grail – Ride The Void (Prosthetic Records)

LA 5-piece traditional metallers, Holy Grail, release their sophomore album, Ride The Void, in late January via Nuclear Blast and Prosthetic Records. The follow-up to 2010's Crisis In Utopia, Ride The Void was recorded with producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Hatebreed, Children Of Bodom) and his influence shows.
Release Date: 
21 Jan 2013 - 11:30pm

Holy Grail’s debut, Crisis in Utopia, set them on a path and established them as a band worth serious attention. They’ve spent the two years since touring with the likes of Valient Thorr, Royal Thunder, Dragonforce, Amon Amarth, Blind Guardian and Exodus (just to name a few), and this record is a sign that they’ve matured even further into their sound and style on the back of that. Hopefully it will receive more of the kind of attention it deserves, because it is excellent.

 

The album is packed with all the good stuff. Vocalist James Paul Luna describes Holy Grail as "a modern band with a new twist of old-school metal with death metal riffs, modern breakdowns, and power-metal singing." It’s not a bad description.

To me they’re a perfect mix of galloping thrash, power riffs, cloud-scraping vocals and ripping guitar shreds. Then again, I am a shameless thrash and power metal fan, so this band are right up my particular alley. Probably the best example here is track three, Dark Passenger, that literally gallops out of the gates like a frothing racehorse and leads into sky-high vocals and excellent solos, with that solid riffing we love so much underneath the whole thing. But that’s just one example of many and no surprise it was the early single/video release off this album.

The musical skill of Holy Grail is evident in every track, brought out brilliantly by superb production levels. Matt Hyde’s production influence is clear and the album is a very polished artefact. There’s not a weak point on the album, though some tracks do stand head and shoulders above the rest. But everything on this record has something memorable about it. The thrashy of opening of Dark Passenger, mentioned above, the lyrical solo towards the end of track 4, Bleeding Stone, the melodic intro to track 5, the title track, Ride The Void, the blindingly intricate opening to track 6, Too Decayed To Wait and on and on right through to the sublimely classical feel of the opening of track 12, Wake Me When It’s Over. This band showcase every aspect of their skillset through these songs.

To enjoy this album you have to be a fan of the old school, a fan of NWOBHM and a fan of power metal, with all the things those styles bring with them. And if you are a fan of those things, you will fucking love this album. The fact that it’s combined with occasional death influences and something perhaps unique to Holy Grail only enhances the experience. Where the band go from here, I don’t know. But if they keep making records like this one, I’m going to keep on digging them.