Rating:
8.0
Holy Grail - Crisis In Utopia
22 October 2010


01. My Last Attack
02. Fight To Kill
03. Call Of Valhalla
04. Crisis In Utopia
05. Immortal Man
06. Nocturne In D Minor
07. The Blackest Night
08. Chase The Wind
09. Hollow Ground
10. Requiem
11. Cherish Disdain


Crisis In Utopia is the first full-length from Holy Grail, a newer band in the metal scene, but nonetheless, they have put forth an impressive effort here. Basically, they mix a power metal style and a straight up heavy metal style, the album is quick, full of tight melodic riffage, and an enjoyable debut.

The first thing I'll address is the "hardcore" vocals that occasionally pop up in the background. They are nowhere near as pronounced as, say 3 Inches Of Blood, and I really don't think they have much of an effect on the album. In fact, the vocals here are actually quite well done. The vocalist has a voice with good range, and finds his own style, it's distinctive but doesn't seem like a copycat performance.

Aside from the vocals, the rest of the band shows some talent here too. Shortly into the first track, "My Last Attack", we get an idea of the melodic leads we'll be hearing, the guitar work on this album is crisp, fast, and tight throughout the album. Mix that with some very catchy melodic riffage, which to me was some high quality stuff, and you've got the formula for some awesome songs (for this kind of songwriting, look no further than "Call of Valhalla" or "Crisis in Utopia"). The drum work could use a little extra spice at times, but it does its job and provides the pounding backdrop for the rest of the music.

So the songwriting is solid with some really great riffage, the performance is solid all around, and the overall vibe of the album feels fairly original. They're definitely not hopping into a trendy genre to sell albums. So what are the problems? Well, the songs are good all around, but none really seemed to jump out and grab me. None had that wow factor, that song that is to music what the ShamWow is to cleaning products: something special, something people will really remember, something where they can look at the album and say, that's where we nailed it, that's the one. Luckily, the album didn't get boring, and there were memorable songs, but it lacked that song that grabs you and really takes you away. There wasn't much variation in song length either, and other than a 2-minute instrumental every song lay in the 3.5-5.5 minute range. Not every album needs it, but I think a longer piece would've helped this one out.

So in the end we are left with an enjoyable album start to finish. The songwriting quality doesn't taper, the riffs are super catchy, and there's some material with good live potential here. Holy Grail have crafted a very good album, but in the end it fell short of being a classic. Nevertheless, it is a commendable debut, and this is a band I will surely be watching out for in the future.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Holy Grail
Album: Crisis In Utopia


 


written by Mattybu | 04.01.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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psykometal - 04.01.2012 at 21:31  
Awesome review. I agree with almost everything about it however I do have to disagree about "that one song that grabs you", imo "My Last Attack" was that song; this song made me pull out my air guitar and shred away from start to finish.
Mattybu - 04.01.2012 at 21:34  
Written by psykometal on 04.01.2012 at 21:31

Awesome review. I agree with almost everything about it however I do have to disagree about "that one song that grabs you", imo "My Last Attack" was that song; this song made me pull out my air guitar and shred away from start to finish.


Yeah, I guess it would vary for different people in that aspect. Personally, no song really grabbed as much as, say, Septuagint off Obscura's latest (different genre I know but when I first heard that song... I became a man). I was however impressed by the consistency and the fact that the album was enjoyable from the moment I press play to the very end.

And thanks for the kind words
psykometal - 04.01.2012 at 21:49  
Written by Mattybu on 04.01.2012 at 21:34

I was however impressed by the consistency and the fact that the album was enjoyable from the moment I press play to the very end.

Very much agree, love this album. The "core screams" didn't bug me at all, they didn't add to the experience but I didn't feel they detracted from it either so I can't complain about them.
Milena - 04.01.2012 at 23:47  
A nicely written review, though I have the feeling that for an album without a song that didn't "grab" you, the rating is a little high. But I'm usually not the person to talk to about ratings since I quite often put the wrong number on my reviews.
Mattybu - 05.01.2012 at 00:01  
Written by Milena on 04.01.2012 at 23:47

A nicely written review, though I have the feeling that for an album without a song that didn't "grab" you, the rating is a little high. But I'm usually not the person to talk to about ratings since I quite often put the wrong number on my reviews.


Well there were stronger tracks and memorable tracks, but it lacked the kind of song that really stood out as something really special, that is destined to get hundreds of plays in my iTunes. Hope that explains it better. I felt an 8 was appropriate, "Very Good" is an accurate description of the album in my books.
Milena - 05.01.2012 at 00:07  
Written by Mattybu on 05.01.2012 at 00:01

Well there were stronger tracks and memorable tracks, but it lacked the kind of song that really stood out as something really special, that is destined to get hundreds of plays in my iTunes. Hope that explains it better. I felt an 8 was appropriate, "Very Good" is an accurate description of the album in my books.

Okay then you're pretty much allowed to put any sensible rating here as long as the words reflect it, here I probably just wasn't reading between the lines as much as I should have

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