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Grailknights are a fun band. Your average metal band puts up a show , revolving around the music, and the music only. And of course, at a gig you wouldn’t expect anything else. Grailknights, however, put up a show and incorporate superhero elements in their metal show. It’s a good laugh, with a steed (Beer/Zapf Beauty) supplying beer (Grailbrew) for the crowd (Battlechoir), with heroic poses in between the songs and with a villain with a skeleton mask (the evil Dr. Skull). But of course, if the music is worth nothing, the show is worth even less. But fortunately, the music is good.
“Return to Castle Grailskull” is the second album by Grailknights. It features the Battlechoir for the first time. The album has a positive vibe to it, but at the same time stays ‘death’ enough to earn the term of melodic death metal. It’s not brutal or dark all the time but the screams and grunts, combined with the fast guitars and steady drums give the album it’s heaviness. Most songs are vivid, though at some points a change of mood occurs. At the end of “Raving Storms”, the lyrics change from surviving a storm to drowning and the music itself changes too to some darker mood. After the second chorus in “Hail to the Grail” the music slows down, death works its way to the lyrics, and the Battlechoir starts to shout. After which the chorus takes off once more and brings the tempo back.
A brilliant song is “Moonlit Masquerade”. It’s lyrics remind me of Star Wars. The line “A battle raged in a galaxy far away, a long long time ago” reminds me the most of Lucas’ space saga. But it’s not just the lyrics. The structure of the music, the change of vocals and tempo… The first verse is being grunted, the second one is sung clean/whispered and the bridge is a constant change between grunts and screams. And yet, without becoming a brutal or sinister song. One of my Grailknights’ favourites.
The only song I don’t like as much as the rest is “Home at Last”. It’s a ballad, and I’m not a ballad kind of person. Although, after a few listening sessions I started to appreciate it, and with the especially second part, where the distortion joins in, it’s a decent song after all.
Before I forget, the cries. A returning element in Grailknights’ music are the melodic cries. “Moonlit Masquerade” begins with a cry, “Return to Castle Grailskull” has one and the “Alliance” album has them too. They’re easy, something like “Heya heya hey”, but surprisingly catchy. This makes it easy for the fans to become part of the music rather than just being a spectator. At a live gig, the band starts by learning the cry to the audience so they can shout together with the band. By providing these kinds of shouts in their songs Grailknights make music that is very accessible. It’s not difficult to understand, it’s not too technical, it’s just fun.
“Return to Castle Grailskull” is a very fun album, which is heavy enough to get you banging your head but without being ‘dark’ or brutal. This is an album to drink to, the sing with or just party. For anyone who thinks metal hasn’t got to be sinister and elite.
Personal favourite: “Moonlit Masquerade”.