Holy Grail – Crisis in Utopia


Artist

Album

Crisis in Utopia

Label

Prosthetic

Year

2010

For Fans Of

Iron Maiden - Judas Priest - Dio

Summary

Modern take on classic metal with brilliant results.

Rating

89 / 100

Crisis in Utopia marks the impressive debut full-length for Californian old-school metal revivalists Holy Grail. The band was formed from the ashes of White Wizzard, and features most of the line-up- vocalist James Paul Luna, guitarist James J. Larue and drummer Tyler Meahl abandoned White Wizzard in 2008 after the release of High Speed GTO.

Crisis in Utopia respects and resurrects the legacy of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, with elements of thrash and speed metal within its powerful, fast paced riffs and ambitious melodies. The vocals soar, the speedy drums are alive with energy, and the guitar-work kicks some serious ass. Lyrically, the album is all sorcery and medieval mythical imagery. Tacky? Perhaps. But there’s something so purely old-school metal about this album that gives it a certain charm.

Produced by former Nine Inch Nails member Danny Lohner, this album is packed full of hook-laden, shredding metal anthems, with never a sign of the pace slowing down. Holy Grail’s arsenal of mind-blowing powerful riffs seems never-ending. Opener ‘My Last Attack’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album- scorchingly swift riffs overlayed on breakneck speed-metal drum beats. ‘Call of Valhalla’ is a slower track but still a highlight, lyrics of mythical legends sung through an insanely catchy chorus. ’Chase the Wind’ is mind-blowingly fast, while ‘Hollow Ground’ slows it down to bring to light the incredible, multiple-octave voice of frontman James Paul Luna. ‘Requiem is a dark, fist-pumping metal anthem, alive with blazing guitar solos. Closer ‘Cherish Disdain’ finishes the album beautifully, starting off raw and powerful then slowing down by the end to a beautiful piano melody. The album is coherent, captivating, and I can’t really find fault with any of the tracks.

Holy Grail are a modern band with an irresistible old-school charm. That said, this is more than just a metal revival kind of album. Holy Grail put their own modern twist on traditional metal, and the result is a perfect mess of intense, melodious, insanely enjoyable metal. Rather than a simple paint-by-numbers 80s metal tribute band, Holy Grail are an oasis in a sea of modern metal, and take things back to basics while keeping things fresh. Crisis in Utopia will have your fists pumping, your head banging, and leave you hungry for more.

Conclusion

I can’t express how badly I recommend this album to traditional metal fans. The best modern take on the legacy of classic metal I’ve heard in a long time, Holy Grail are an irresistible, fierce, mind-blowingly talented band. Just listen, for the love of God listen!

Tracklisting

1. My Last Attack
2. Fight to Kill
3. Call of Valhalla
4. Crisis in Utopia
5. Immortal Man
6. Nocturne in D Minor
7. The Blackest Night
8. Chase the Wind
9. Hollow Ground
10. Requiem
11. Cherish Disdain

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