"Times of Pride and Peril"

By Professor Jocko

As the music industry progresses forward…where one style morphs into the next, every band must find a way to set themselves aside, not wanting to blend in with any certain genre. Some do it through notorious and sometimes unsavory reputations. Others may do it with stage theatrics, or some kind of gimmick, which usually disappears as fast as a shooting star. Holy Grail on the other hand, relies exclusively on the strength of their music to make their mark on hard rock culture with raw power and detailed varieties of emotional expression. 

There are many elements of this album that deserve individual praise from the writing all the way down to the overall production, but what strikes me the most are the vocals; mainly the range and the control of such an incredible voice. Just as with any successful band, variety within each song and from one track to the next as well are the key to keeping the listener involved with just more than the first and last song. Paul Luna really seems to pick up on what the perfect pitch of the song is, which helps to capture not just the meaning behind the lyrics, but the mood of the band as a combined unit.

"Times of Pride and Peril" opens up with a track called “Crystal King”, which gives you the full experience of the electricity that is involved with such intense vocal power. I do have to say that the first several songs border on more of a power metal vibe, where everything is more technical; mainly with the guitars, complimented by the vocals which are at more of a tenor range trying to sustain the composition of the song. Perhaps it’s Holy Grail’s way of trying to write a song that would earn a spot with popular radio play; listen to a track called “Those Who Will Remain” and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. The following song is titled “Descent Into the Maelstrom”, and seems to further into something a little more diverse, with fast guitar leads and catchy vocal harmonies that forge the path for consecutive tracks that border on a slightly heavier side, also seen with “Apotheosis” which delves into the bands darker side.

One of the more notable songs off the release is a tune called “Psychomachia” which turns its focus slightly towards the rhythmic elements the band has to offer. The opening guitar riffs from Eli Santana seem to flourish into heavier components with the bass and drums. The chorus really helps to contrast these components, allowing the song to breathe in well-planned intervals. The conclusion of the album relies on kind of contemporary, classic metal track called “Black Lotus” which has an anthem-like quality to it that gives the avid listener something to revel in which is seen towards the middle of the track with the bass and lead guitars dueling simultaneously toward the pinnacle of such a triumphant ending, bordering on death-metal fashion.