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Improper Burial is the debut EP of Holy Grail, another band rising to join the growing legions of traditional heavy metal bands. Any follower of the NWOTHM (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal) movement won't be strangers to vocalist James Paul Luna, drummer Tyler Meahl, or James LaRue, seeing as they all performed on White Wizzard's critically acclaimed EP High Speed G.T.O. before receiving the boot by bassist Jon Leon. Any fans of the Wizzard's EP shouldn't be expecting the same brand of NWOTHM, as Holy Grail are out to forge their own name for themselves in this movement.
The album opens with Fight to Kill, a power-metallic speed metal number in the vein of, say, Restless and Wild-era Accept with Defenders of the Faith-era Judas Priest, but with a touch of modern power metal in the vein of Hammerfall. Immortal Man isn't so much different from Fight to Kill, carrying on in those traditions of unique classic metal. The covers of Judas Priest's Exciter and Accept's Fast as a Shark are impressive, doing the songs justice and showing that the band's heart is in the right place with their music.
One improvement over High Speed G.T.O. is that James Paul Luna has taken on a more metallic vocal style, one arguably better than the somewhat pop-type voice he had during his time with White Wizzard. With Luna's new-and-improved vocal style and with the rest of the band going over the top with the performance on this album, I believe Holy Grail have the potential to become major players in this NWOTHM movement.
However, I do think that it's a little early to be making such judgments as to say they're worthy of super-stardom just yet, seeing as they've only offered two original songs and some covers so far. I do, however, think it's safe to say that we can expect some great things from the Grail in the future. If you are a fan of any other NWOTHM band, such as White Wizzard, Enforcer, Cauldron, or Icarus Witch, then chances are you're going to really dig Holy Grail. A must-have for NWOTHM fans.
This band is really promising and awesome; this little EP is charged with great riffs, speed, great vocals, and virtuosity. The two tracks are well structured and the production is great so you can enjoy those fast solos.
The sound of Holy Grail is much more polished and worked than the sound of White Wizzard, and the result is like a blend of 3 Inches of Blood and Painkiller of Judas Priest with clean vocals.
The first song “Fight to Kill” starts with a great riff, sounds epic and is near to be power metal, has good musical passages and yes the chorus sounds a little poppy but is a great sound.
Immortal Man sound more aggressive, it has a different musical structuture from “Fight to Kill “, is harder to listen and sounds epic and is great too.
About the covers, they chose the perfect songs for the sound of the band; (especially “Fast as a Shark”) both covers are faster and aggressive than the originals and with an excellent work on guitars. The original version of Fast as a Shark is a song that I don’t like but I can listen without problems. I really liked this version much more than the original.
Consisting of only two original tracks and two covers, Holy Grail's debut EP (though I prefer to think of it as a demo) is a relatively solid debut by one of the many retro-traditional metal bands that seem to have gained popularity recently.
If you're familiar with White Wizzard's (the band from whom most of Holy Grail's members were kicked out from) own debut EP, this can sound very similar due to Luna's unique vocal style. However, it's intrinsically different when you consider the huge difference in songwriting and instrumental work; this demo is pretty thrashy and dark (you might even consider it to be speed metal, not just heavy metal) and contains a lot of shredding and vocal exposition (Luna does a lot of pretty impressive screams and wails). The bass and drums are done well, even though most of the time I don't really notice them (especially the bass). I have to admit that there are some awesome drum beats at times, but I really feel as though the drums aren't used enough; there could be some killer solos and fills if they just put them in. The guitar work is quite impressive during solos and there are some pretty cool riffs (although the first riff in "Fight To Kill" sounds like it's synthesized). The biggest feature of the music are the vocals. If you don't know what James Paul-Luna sounds like, imagine Rob Halford mixed with Tom DeLonge (Blink-182's singer). Although it sounds like a beastly abomination, it's actually not bad. The childish vocals can sound very evil and mean at times, but ultimately they are still childish, so they can be quite bothersome.
My personal favorite of the two songs is "Immortal Man", because of the pissed-off demeanor and badass solos. The largest issues with the demo though are the vocals and the limited tracks. I would've liked to hear more of this band, but I guess we can all look forward to their full-length later this year. If you like fantasy-based speed metal, this would be a nice buy for you. Nothing too special, but a small gem nonetheless.