Holy Grail – Ride The Void
Holy Grail has followed up their debut, Crisis In Utopia, with a highly technical, melodic, thrash-inspired album that aims high but ultimately fails to elicit much excitement. The instrumental “Archeus” leads off the album with a promising start before kicking into “Bestial Triumphans”. “Bestial Triumphans”, along with the next two songs, “Dark Passenger” and “Bleeding Stone”, really typify the whole album. Most songs are mid-tempo gallops or fast thrashers that have potential, but two aspects of Holy Grail’s approach dampen my enthusiasm. First, the technical guitar flourishes that populate Ride The Void like an album from old shred label Shrapnel, while impressive, are excessive and quite often seem out of place. Second, the clean melodic singing and a production with little bass suck all attempts at heaviness from the album. Quite simply, if this sounded like an honest-to-goodness metal album with balls and if the guitar noodling was toned down a bit, Ride The Void could be a great album. I lost interest after the first four songs, and it was a relief when the slow ballad “Rains Of Sorrow” closed the album. Give Holy Grail some credit for doing something different in a world of retro-thrash clones, but this style of melodic thrash-lite doesn’t cut it. I’d be willing to bet these songs sound better live, so it’s worth getting out to First Avenue early if you’re going to the Anthrax show tomorrow.
Holy Grail performs Thursday, April 4 at First Avenue in Minneapolis as support to Anthrax, Exodus, High On Fire, Municipal Waste.