Record Review: Holy Grail

Holy Grail
Crisis in Utopia
San Diego, CA

“Guitar Heroes”

Holy Grail parties like it’s 1991. This heavy metal quintet focuses on throwback thrash riffs combined with classical guitar licks that flurry like a featherweight’s fisticuffs, whilst high kicking in their fat tongued Reeboks.

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Unfortunately, the dudes come off as more technicians than musicians. Too much attention is placed on the obvious talents of the axemen, and not enough on the actual song structures. Thankfully, Holy Grail chooses wisely in varying the tempos of the songs, so they aren’t all blindly flying by like a runaway railroad cart. They even dabble in light acoustics, which help depict the perfect society before it crumbles into oblivion.

Comparisons to contemporary acts such as DragonForce (arpeggio sweep solos) and Avenged Sevenfold (the M. Shadows-styled vocals) certainly pervade the noxious air, but this utopia is too pretty to be in crisis. The album looks and sounds expensive, from the winged beast painted on the cover to the pristine production.

While the neo-thrash movement isn’t as awful as nu-metal, the genre has become very diluted and bands like Holy Grail are the Firehouses of this era; polished and proficient, but lacking the dirt and grit that tröö heavy metal really needs. Despite the shiny exterior, like the Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail still melts your face. (Prosthetic Records)

Produced by Danny Lohner // Engineered by Danny Lohner and Matt Appleton at Castle Renhölder and Sage and Sound Recording // Mixed by Mark Lewis // Mastered by Scott Hull


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