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Album review: Holy Grail - Times of Pride and Peril


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Thrash/power metallers Holy Grail are back!

It’s been three years since the California quintet’s last record – the stunning Ride the Void – and since then, eager metalheads have been salivating at the thought of a third Holy Grail album.

And finally, that which we have lusted so strongly after has been served: Times of Pride of Peril.

And not only has this album been served; Holy Grail kindly added a free helping of a kick in the teeth to truly blow their fans away.

This isn’t just a simple power/thrash metal fusion to be placed with contemporaries like Savage Messiah and Iced Earth.

The instrumentation of Times of Pride and Peril alone covers a wide array of sub-genres.

From AC/DC-esque rock n’ roll on 'Those Who Will Remain' to the pure-blooded thrash of 'Apotheosis' to the death metal pounding that is 'Psychomachia' to the progressive, ten minute opus 'Black Lotus', it feels as if the musical characteristics of every rock style are present.

Naturally, this level of variety may sound like an excessive and inconsistent feat, but there is one factor that ties all of these musical endeavours together: the vocals of James Paul Luna.

Luna’s soaring singing and broad range is a perfect and constant fusion of power metal and NWOBHM that prevents Times of Pride and Peril from becoming an overly varied mess of metal tropes. Luna ties the entire album up in one neat little bow.

Times of Pride and Peril, instrumentally, is all over the map, and I both adore and admire Holy Grail for not only attempting that, but even more so for pulling it off. And Luna’s vocals craft that perfect “similar but different” aesthetic that is quintessential to the sound of any good band.

But normally, that is something achieved over the course of several albums: one album has a certain aura, then the next keeps some elements and changes others. Yet Holy Grail does this over the course of only one record! It’s an astounding feat.

Everything about Times of Pride and Peril is perfect: the diverse instrumentation, the crystal clear production, the intense vocals, the Steve Harris’ British Lion-esque album artwork.

It is easily a contender for the title of “album of the year”, up there with the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse’s amazing King and Dream Theater’s epic rock opera The Astonishing.

It is a progressive record, maybe not in its song structures, but in its achievements across its 45 minute running time: every song is unique. I cannot emphasise this enough.

In a world filled with monotonous music that somehow gets a large following, Holy Grail make the successful appear immature by comparison.

Times of Pride and Peril is available physically and digitally now via Prosthetic Records.

Read more about Times of Pride and Peril and our review of its lead single, "No More Heroes", in our "Most anticipated metal albums of 2016" list.

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