Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Holy Grail - Times Of Pride and Peril (2016)

I can't tell you how many times I had written these guys off, but Californian modern heavy/power metallers Holy Grail actually managed to catch my attention this time. People really seemed to enjoy the band's last one (2013's Ride The Void) quite a bit, but to me I still thought it had too much of a modern core feel and was not all that pleased with it. That being said, it's got a solid 90% over there at Metal Archives and all three reviews are relatively positive. Times Of Pride and Peril however, sees the band playing this kind of metal the way it's supposed to be, albeit with more of a classic heavy mentality. There was that huge Dragonforce surge along with Guitar Hero III back in the day, and this band really took off on the heels of it. It's just a good thing to hear that it's gone, because these guys really seemed to suffer from that “modern power metal” feel and seemed to be directly eating right off the table of that trend. It's also interesting to note that these guys are made up of several members of additionally popular act Huntress. In particular, they feature drummer Tyler Meahl, and guitarist Eli Santana, who also handles the vocals for this act. Though I should mention that he only appeared on the group's newest release, Static (2015) and has not been apart of the act since day one. The same can be said for Meahl, which makes current Huntress half of Holy Grail. This interests me quite a bit, as I always wondered why the power/thrash sound had dissipated in favor of a more traditional style. 

For this album, Holy Grail really seemed to have dug into metal's ancient history, as influences from Judas Priest, and Helloween come into view. They still remind me of acts like Hybria and Skull Fist as well as radio rock acts like Avenged Sevenfold. Eli Santana definitely has that sort of youthful clean, which reminds me an awful lot of American radio 101 even though I'll definitely add that the record is constructed well enough that it comes across listenable to metal fans as much as it would for fans of professional wrestling. We get a number of singalongs here that would work well as the entrance theme for any wrestler or Pay Per View event, and that's where the real meat of the record lies. Times Of Pride and Peril is full of catchy, short and easy to digest pieces that ultimately make it an easy to digest and extremely accessible record. People who liked the last Avenged Sevenfold will actually find something to like here and it could be seen as a slightly harder gateway drug into the world of metal. If you don't expect any more out of this than what you should expect from such a band, you'll be pretty satisfied with it. As I said, I found it pretty catchy, and quite enjoyable. I wasn't going to review it all at first, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Your enjoyment of this record ultimately depends on what kind of person you are, and what you enjoy outside of less accessible heavy metal realms. Times of Pride and Peril straddles the lines between hard rock and classic heavy metal pretty well and there's most certainly an audience for it. It's worth a listen if you know what you're getting into, as it won't be everyone's cup of tea.

(10 Tracks, 48:00)


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