Holy Grail: Crisis in Utopia CD Review // Show at Gramercy Theater on Feb. 2nd ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holy Grail: Crisis in Utopia CD Review // Show at Gramercy Theater on Feb. 2nd

Holy Grail: Crisis in Utopia CD Review // Show at Gramercy Theater on Feb. 2nd Holy Grail formed from the ashes of the original lineup of White Wizzard (Earache) and created a buzz with their non-stop touring (with bands like Exodus, Saviours and 3 Inches of Blood) and their 2009 EP “Improper Burial”. While the two originals on the EP provided an initial view into the band’s thrash-infused power metal sound, Holy Grail firmly established their sound with the release of their debut full-length disc Crisis in Utopia this past October (Prosthetic). Breaking from their White Wizzard / NWOBHM-revival roots, Crisis in Utopia incorporates significant elements from thrash and speed metal which pushes them closer in sound to bands like Armored Saint and Accept.

Across the disc’s ten tracks, the band combines a strong sense of melody with an equal level of aggression. The band leads this charge with a combined attack of dual-lead guitars and James Paul Luna’s vocals. Luna sings in a rawer, raspier voice than he did on White Wizzard’s debut CD which he can take up to a falsetto scream. Backing vocals range from clean vocals harmonies to the (expected) melodic “wow-oh-oh” to a death metal growl. Lyrically, the band’s focus is on sword and sorcery imagery but, while some of the songs are shout-along fist pumpers, the lyrics seem to take a backseat to the raw sonic power of the music.

Guitarists James LaRue and Eli Santana skip the NWOBHM power-metal leads and play fast-paced, technical, speed metal riffs (check out the dueling leads on the disc opener “My Last Attack” and “Fight to Kill”, which is an aggressive hold-over from the 2009 EP) and the drumming stops just short of death metal blast beats. The only exception to this is “Nocturne in D Minor” which breaks up the disc mid-way with an atmospheric instrumental which highlights a flute and acoustic guitar.

Holy Grail were in town with Exodus and Bonded by Blood this past August (video from the show is below).

The band is coming back to the Gramercy Theater with 3 Inches of Blood, Eluveitie and System Divide on Feb. 2nd. Tickets are $18 (+$9 LiveNation surcharge if you buy tickets using LiveNation.com) and doors are at 7PM.

Holy Grail