Formed from the ashes of members leaving White Wizzard, Holy Grail has made quite a name for themselves in the metal community. Why? Because they play HEAVY FUCKING METAL THE RIGHT WAY!! Explosive guitar riffs and solos from Alex Lee and Eli Santana, thunderous bass and drums from Blake Mount and Tyler Meahl respectively, and the incredible voice of James Paul Luna, all coming together to make metal that would sound just as awesome on your 80’s Walkman as it does on your iPod, CD player, or however the hell you get your music nowadays! Firmly ensconced in both eras, Holy Grail have made an even stronger statement with sophomore album Ride the Void, and they were gracious enough to give me a few minutes before they went out and ripped the roof off of Club DaDa:
Amps: So since the band’s inception, you guys have really taken off, it seems.
Tyler: It’s great, you know? I mean, where were we a year ago compared to now?
Eli: We recorded an album!
Tyler: I think playing the Metal Alliance tour with Anthrax has been the biggest thing to happen to us.
Amps: You guys really managed to capture a sound that’s NWOBHM, yet it’s got such a thick rich tone of even older stuff, while sounding current. How did you get that balance in your sound?
Eli: I know we just started writing songs, and the stuff that made it on the record was the stuff that we ALL liked and had a connection with. And some of the things you mentioned are the things that we all really like. 80’s metal, shredding, and all mixed in a melting pot. A big DIO-goulash, if you will!
Amps: Tell me about the progression between Crisis In Utopia and Ride the Void.
Blake: We got a new guitar player, for one thing.
Eli: (To Alex) Yeah, you play different notes! (Laughs)
Tyler: I think we just took the songwriting more seriously and we really tried to tighten that up. And it’s kind of funny how that sent us into a NWOBHM kind of style because I think they also took songwriting as not just riff-based metal, and we tried to do that, too.
Amps: Speaking of writing, there’s five of you. How does writing work?
James: It depends. The first record was a lot of Eli’s riffs, and a lot of my vocal melodies on top of that and we collectively wrote lyrics together. Tyler tightened up the lyrics as to what’s cool and what’s not.
Blake: Yeah, he’s got the tough filter. If it sounded like wussy, girly-shit, he’d be like, “Nope. I’m sorry!”
James: And musically, too, he’s the last line of defense in the band.
Amps: You’ve been playing almost nonstop it seems. Where have some of your craziest crowds been?
Eli: I think for us on the headlining show in Brooklyn, maybe it’s the coastal communication breakdown, and Luna said, “Why don’t you guys come up here?” to the crowd. Now I took it as, “Get closer to us”, but the whole crowd jumped onstage! It ended up being awesome, though, ‘cause the crowd was really respectful of our equipment. And the last song we usually play is “Fight to Kill”, so it was like leading a chorus of angry thrashers on my actual mic, and this one thrasher kid guarding my pedals so no one would step on them. It was all ages, so it was fun.
Alex: I took it as Luna saying he wants to see more stage divers, and THEY took it as he wants people onstage! What did you actually mean, Luna?
James: I said, “I wanna see more stage divers!” and then everyone just got onstage.
Blake: I think you said, “I wanna see all of you guys on the stage” and you meant “all you guys DIVING off the stage”, but it was all good.
Eli: We’ll never know for sure.
Amps: Now you guys are steady on the road. Will you take a break after this run, or keep going straight through 2014?
Tyler: We’re gonna try and tour as much as possible. We don’t really have anything lined up just yet, so we might just take that time off to start writing.
Amps: I think the offers will come in, though. This album has serious legs, so I have a feeling you’re far from done.
All: Thank you!
Amps: Here’s a question: This will be my first Holy Grail show…what can I expect?
James: We like to say it’s gonna be action-packed.
Alex: A lot of notes. And a lot of hair.
Blake: Imagine Expendables 2, but in music.
Amps: Expendables 2 was even better than the first one, so that’s good!
All: YES!! THANK YOU! Alright he gets it!!
Blake: Oh, Chuck Norris comes out at the end of our set and beats up everyone in the front row.
Eli: Shhh, not everybody’s seen it!
Tyler: It changes day-to-day, but right now it’s “Too Decayed to Wait” or “Bestia Triumphans”
Alex: Yeah, “Too Decayed to Wait” is probably mine.
James: For me, probably “Sleep of Virtue” and “Take It to the Grave”
Blake: It’s probably “Take It to the Grave” right now
Eli: “Bestia” is the most fun for me to play, even though I have to concentrate on it the most.
Amps: Say something to the Holy Grail fans, guys.
James: Thanks for your support. Stay in touch with us on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, all that good stuff.
Eli & Blake: Stay hard, stay wet!
Do I really need to say anymore? Suffice to say the guys in Holy Grail are a lot of fun, I pretty much laughed through this whole interview, and they are just as crazy offstage as they are on it. As I said in my previous review, my first Holy Grail show was even better than advertised, and getting to spend a few minutes with them beforehand was the absolute icing on the cake.