Upon beginning the auditory roller coaster of 2013’s Ride the Void, the listener is lured into a seemingly calm, mostly instrumental opening track. This feeling is similar to a roller coaster ride starting slowly, but as soon as it seems easy, an upwards slope appears, signaling an intense drop and potentially exhilarating ride. That is exactly what “Archeus” exhibits. Shortly after lead singer James Paul Luna’s harmonious vocals enter, a heavy riff kicks in, beginning the ascent up the slope. Then, all of a sudden, the first drop occurs, including a finger-tapping guitar solo, creating a rush to the head of the listener/rider.
The intensity does not pause as “Bestia Triumphans” opens with Luna screaming “Welcome to submission/Welcome to your home/Just sit and watch the mindless march of drones.” The precision of the instrumentation sends the rider through corkscrew after corkscrew. Guttural screams accent Luna’s melodies about halfway through this track, followed by a quick guitar solo.
Despite Holy Grail’s clear influences of bands like Iron Maiden and others from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), many of the songs on Ride the Void sound much more modernized than those on the band’s debut album, Crisis In Utopia. The riff on “Dark Passenger” sounds like something Killswitch Engage would write. However, Holy Grail stamps their trademark sound on it with Luna’s unforgettable voice.
The roller coaster ride finishes with the very melodic “Rains of Sorrow,” closing out Ride the Void with one last loop.
Other noteworthy tracks include “Crosswinds,” “Sleep of Virtue,” and “Silence the Screams.”
Holy Grail will be performing alongside High on Fire, Municipal Waste, Exodus, and Anthrax on this year’s edition of the Metal Alliance Tour this spring, hitting cities across the United States.