Crisis In Utopia
25 October 2010
by Tom Dare
Aren’t we all getting a bit bored of bands looking back with a sense of nostalgia they aren’t possibly old enough to feel? There’s only so much ironic pastiche/tribute you can take. The complete absence of either sickening nostalgia or knowing parody is why Holy Grail succeed where most fail. They aren’t taking the piss or just having a laugh – they sound like they mean it.
If your memory of the 1980s is of a time when Thundercats were not being a part of retro fashion but an essential part of your formative televisual experiences, you could be forgiven for thinking that Holy Grail have listened to far too many In Flames records. The chugging beef of the guitar riffs underlying the cleanly melodic duelling lead guitar parts is highly reminiscent of the Gothenburg greats, but the true origin of Holy Grail’s style comes from some of the classic metal bands – the Judas Priests and Iron Maidens of the world. Where some bands sound like they have spent far too much time wanking over Piece Of Mind and couldn’t think of any ideas for their own sound, Holy Grail sound like this is simply who they are.
The song construction is rather telling in all of this – there isn’t an obvious formula in sight. There is no predictable plod from riff section to requisite minor key melodic lead, or from an attempt at an anthemic chorus to a pointless solo. The more natural feel, where some of the duelling leads and widdling solos last only a few seconds and can turn up in any section, makes a vast difference.
Watch Holy Grail talking nonsense in the studio:
Pretty much all of the “revivals” currently on-going could do with a thorough cull to purge the stragglers, but Holy Grail are one of the strongest of any of those herds. Crisis In Utopia is a timely reminder of why what we now think of as “traditional” metal took off in the first place, but still has something to say for itself rather than trying to simply rehash a bunch of Diamond Head riffs. This is the sound of a band well aware it is now 2010, and carving enough of an identity of their own.
Sounds like: Iron Maiden & Judas Priest with a touch of Accept
Top tracks: Fight To Kill, Crisis In Utopia, Chase The Wind
Holy Grail – Crisis In Utopia tracklisting:
My Last Attack
Fight To Kill
Call Of Valhalla
Crisis In Utopia
Nocturne in D minor
The Blackest Night
Chase The Wind