Prosthetic Records (2013)
The Grail's last record, 2010's Crisis in Utopia, was aptly titled; prior to its release, hotshot lead guitarist James J. LaRue bailed, potentially putting this hot metal lixx machine in jeopardy. But Holy Grail are, in the end, one of those metal bands that are destined to turn the anguish of member rotation into the basis of its fiery, pissed-off riffwork. Here, the band further develops the transition from trad-metal re-creators to blazing tech-death warriors that has consumed them since they bailed en masse from White Wizzard to form HG in 2008. On "Dark Passenger" and "Bestial Triumphans," vocalist James-Paul Luna displays the upper register of his unearthly shriek whilst new axe virtuoso Alex Lee saws the whole thing in half with a mix of classical attentiveness and psychopathic fury. Ride the Void is the work of road-grizzled ür-metallers; here's hoping they continue transmogrifying the drudge of metal's day-to-day grind into pure, pummeling nirvana.
DANIEL BROCKMAN »DBROCKMAN@PHX.COM
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