HOLY GRAIL - Times Of Pride And Peril
February 22, 2016, 2 years ago
Not a ballad in the bunch! This Cali outfit have always been one of the few American hopefuls to graduate to the big leagues, i.e. internationally viable headliner. Their third album shows no signs of derailing that goal, in fact correcting some of the miscalculations evident on the sophomore effort (embracing gruff/death vox and staccato riffing). After a couple seconds of falsely subdued intro, “Crystal King” jumps out of the speakers, right into the Grail's enthusiastic mix of traditional (oft neo-classical) metal and speedy, Accept approved anthems. In fact, several of these songs will replace former "favorites" from the Crisis In Utopia debut! Singer James Paul Luna hits some scaled heights here, as the guitars blaze. Dual guitar interaction greets “Waste Them All Away”, the quick moving follow-up. No dip in energy on “Sudden Death” a speedy NWOBHM inspired number begun with syncopated kick drums.
Showcasing his lung power, Luna holds an a cappella note on “Those Who Will Remain”, the last vocal utterance. With a tasty flourish, “Descent into The Maelstrom” kicks off, returning to blistering fingerwork each verse. “Psychomachia” begin slower/heavier than the rest, but don't confuse it with a ballad. No way! The infectious, clean throated “No More Heroes” is the sort of fast paced song Dio might be writing in 2016, complete with spirited break. Military themed “Pro Patria Mori” (phrase dates back to ancient Rome; "it is glorious to die for one's country") talks about soldier/sailor's honor. Disc closer “Black Lotus” is yet another dexterous fretboard workout, this time, twin leads. Glad they're back on track. Road warriors, they begin 2016 on tour with Black Tusk. Check 'em out!