Sometimes the best nights just aren’t planned at all. I received an e-mail from the wonderful Kelly over at Prosthetic Records about two weeks ago asking if I would like to see Holy Grail at Club Dada and write about it. Uhhh…YEAH!!! As a fairly recent convert to this amazing band I jumped at the chance. Even better was the fact that my good friend Wendy was going to be there shooting great photos, and providing great company. Win-win, no?
After a brief interview with the band (you’ll read about that later, guys) which was a ton of fun, by the way, it was showtime. For the uninitiated, Holy Grail play a blend of good old-fashioned power metal while incorporating elements of thrash. The twin guitar attack of Alex Lee and Eli Santana is fearsome, bassist Blake Mount and drummer Tyler Meahl serve as the last line of defense rhythmically, and vocalist James Paul Luna can go from zero to banshee wail in 30 seconds. Got all that? Good.
Opening with a quick one-two punch of “Bleeding Stone” and “Crosswinds” from newest album Ride the Void the band had everyone in attendance screaming along loudly, and their energy level was nothing short of nuclear. From the moment these guys get onstage they have one speed…GO!! The title track (one of my favorites!) was up next, and is just one of MANY times that I watched Eli and Alex with bulging eyes and dropping jaw. The dual harmonies these two come up with are intense, and even after seeing it with my own eyes I’m still wondering how they do it. You all know Murray/Harris and Tipton/Downing. Well, now you can add Santana/Ree to that list. Fact.
“Hollow Ground” from Crisis In Utopia changed the tempo a bit, but the intensity never wavered, not for a second. Holy Grail are dedicated to putting on an amazing show every second they’re up there. The solos on this one should be the stuff of legend, too. One more new song, “Dark Passenger” was next before they offered up a triumvirate of killers from the Crisis album to close out the set. “Call of Valhalla”, “My Last Attack”, and “Fight to Kill” all tell tales of swordfights, bloodshed, vanquishing thine enemies, and dying gloriously in battle, subject matter right up my alley, and judging by the front row headbangers, right up theirs, too. The drums really drive “Attack” and in a room like Dada you feel them right in your chest. I loved it!
Every member of Holy Grail is top notch at their respective instrument, especially Luna. His vocals never ceased to amaze me throughout the eight song set. I mean, I’ve listened to him on the albums, but witnessing him live is mind-blowing. Guy’s got pipes, people. And the vocal harmonies between him and Eli were on point for every song. Plus, as I said, everyone in the band is really into the show. No one’s just standing there, Hell No!! They’re all rocking and headbanging like a kickass heavy metal band is supposed to. Let me say this: My first Holy Grail show was a thousand times better than advertised, and I can’t wait to do it again!!
Ride the Void
Call of Valhalla
My Last Attack
Fight to Kill