Band: Holy Grail
Album: Times of Pride and Peril
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Label: Prosthetic Records
I came across the new release from Holy Grail recently and, having some familiarity and fondness for their previous album, gave it a full spin, a few full spins in fact without actually intending to review it. So what gives, you ask? Why do I suddenly feel compelled to neglect some other task for this fine institution of worldwide broadcasting and tell you how I feel about Times of Pride and Peril?
The simple answer is I was hunting through new releases recently looking for great tracks to play on Too Metal For Church and came across the latest from Holy Grail. I recall enjoying their last album, 2013’s Ride the Void and I’ve spun a few tracks from that for the show in the past so I was intrigued to hear the new one. The first time I queued it up I pulled up reviews online to have a gander at what the pundits were saying, again, never intending to review it myself. Well, that cupboard was a little bare I’m afraid with only two reviews of any substance. In short, one gave the album a disappointing 6 out of 10 but was lengthy and thoughtful in its criticism while the other gave the album a 9 out of 10 but wrote a bare bones paragraph about it. I rather enjoyed the record and thought it would rate highly were I to review it. Did I say that was the simple answer? Perhaps I am delusional but even if that’s the case, I present my thoughts thusly:
After hearing Times of Pride and Peril several times my initial reaction to the six given was that the author was too critical, too nit-picky about aspects of the band’s songwriting from an insider’s point of view as a musician – the writer stated he had been in a band who shared a stage with Holy Grail at one point. That’s cool and all but the average listener isn’t a music insider so I think that criticism found in that article was a little harsh. What we have here from Holy Grail is an excellent traditional metal album with a solid mixture of 80’s elements from thrash to hair. Apparently the album is somewhat of a concept piece with a story but without a lyric sheet it’s impossible to critique the narrative. In circumstances such as this I consider the vocals as I would another instrument and the with the best aspects being tone, melody and timber. Using those criteria the vocals on Times of Pride and Peril are stellar. Where the story is concerned however, you’ll have to make your own decision.
Highlights include the opener, Crystal King, the riff-tastic Descent Into the Maelstrom, the melodically memorable No More Heroes and the epic nine plus minute Black Lotus. If you really dig traditional metal with a great thrash vibe, dual leads and great riffs then Holy Grail is for you.
But, we hear you ask, where does it sit between our two previously mentioned reviewers’ scores, the 6 and the 9? I rated it a solid 8, slightly above the median between those two.
Holy Grail Times of Pride and Peril is absolutely worth your time and trouble. Listen for tracks on Too Metal For Church with Reverend Rock on Metal Nation Radio.
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 8/10
Holy Grail on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/holygrailofficial/?fref=ts
Reverend Rock is host of Too Metal For Church on Metal Nation Radio, Mondays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST and Fridays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST.