Holy Grail - Ride the Void
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
Release Date: January 22, 2013
If there was one word I had to choose to describe Holy Grail, it would be huge. Everything about them is big. These guys don't just write metal songs. They write soaring vocal melodies, thrashy and explosive drum beats, fast and driving guitar riffs, and overall infectious music. What's better than that is each song on Ride the Void provides something unique, yet when listening through the album, it's clear that each song is truly a Holy Grail song, showing off an unmistakable style indicative of everything they've established over the years.
On Ride the Void, there is a clear blend of metal styles ranging from death metal, power metal, and even some old school 80's metal in the vein of Judas Priest. This combination allows their songs to stand out on the album but still create one unique sound for the band that can be heard in each one. After a brief little intro "Archeus," which provides a taste of what's to come, you immediately find out that the vocals are one of the main center points of this album as "Bestia Triumphans" gets started. As the greeting lyric of "welcome to submission" starts to get things going, there is soon an attack of pounding double bass drums and some death metal style tremolo riffing.
As the album progresses, the lead guitar begins to take it's place at the forefront as an assault of lightning fast lead riffs and intense solos shows itself on each song. It may even prove to be too much like in "Too Decayed to Wait" as a lead riff is immediately followed by a solo, and then another solo shows up towards the end. They do sound tasteful up against the original lead riffs that aren't as fast because it creates a balanced and dynamic song structure, but each one of those parts just consists of running through scales, and that can get a little boring after a while.
An aspect of the album that keeps things interesting is the taste of modern and melodic metalcore that can be heard in many of the songs. It's a subtle change, so it doesn't feel like Holy Grail is straying too far from their death and power metal roots, but it's still effective enough to give the songs accessibility and catchiness without taking away their heaviness. Almost every chorus on the album is addicting and provides a nice contrast to the heavier parts. There are also a few guitar parts like the one during the chorus of "The Great Artifice" that could easily be straight out of a post-hardcore or metalcore song, extending the level of contrast even further because the part is followed by the thrashiest moment on the album.
All in all, Ride the Void is simply a standout album because of it's ability to be catchy, heavy, thrashy and skillful all at the same time. Also, fans of each subgenre the band draws influence from will all enjoy it because of how well you can hear each different style. This is definitely the kind of songwriting push that a band needs to mature and gain a lot of attention because of how many people would enjoy listening to their album.