A quest for knowledge, quest to see / all these things inside of me / looking in, there's something wrong / I must set out on my own
If there is any hope that Rock N Roll can change the world, as Valient Thorr believe it can, people are going to have to start to get their own personal shit together first.
In what could be viewed as a single handed, spur of the moment effort to wrestle the phrase "personal responsibility" back from the Right, Stranger, the new album from intergalactic Rock N Roll saviors, Valient Thorr eschews direct frontal attacks on politicians and their wars and instead focuses inward on personal decisions and ethical living in the world economy.
Taking lessons from legions of like minded musicians and following the musical path Valient Thorr have traveled, Stranger broadens the boundaries of what is hard and heavy, aggressive and fierce, extending an invitation to a party to be enjoyed by the heshers, head bangers, stoner rockers, thrashers, skate punks, old schoolers and the truly hardcore. If one were to imagine hearing a palpable buzz so engaging that is has its own gravitational pull, something so strong that as one is pulled closer, the buzz becomes a throb that seemingly doubles over on itself into infinity. This is the furious sound of Valient Thorr, a band whose entire being is founded and powered on the force of one huge, mass, communal headbang that has the power to deliver a unifying moment of clarity.
This may sound mystical, but in this case it is real, because as any dyed in the wool Thorrior will tell you, it is the energy of sweat soaked revelry, rather than electricity, that powers the amplifiers and drums that produce this hearty onslaught of all things future-past in the pantheon of high energy, heavy metal, ROCK n ROLL! Screeching guitar leads, low end rumble, breakneck paces and feel good shout along hooks are made to exist together, often in a single song, proving that this is the only sound possible to deliver Valient Thorr's powerful message of positive change and transformation.
Anyone that has ever sweated and headbanged can get with this.
Touring relentlessly since 2001 after crash landing in the North Carolina Triangle area, a place they now call home, Valient Thorr have this year already criss-crossed the U.S. on the Volcom Tour with Mastodon, Between The Buried and Me, Baroness and are currently in the midst of a European tour that will keep them abroad through the end of July and includes festival appearances at Hellfest, Roskilde, Serengeti and Rock Im Ring, before returning stateside for a massive U.S. headline tour set to kick off in September.
Produced, recorded and mixed by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dwarves, High On Fire, Toxic Holocaust), Stranger, set for release on September 14, 2010 is Valient Thorr's fifth album in seven years. A considerable feat since they have been averaging close to 250 shows a year for most of this time with acts as varied as Motörhead, Joan Jett and the Black Hearts, Eagles of Death Metal, Gogol Bordello, Fu Manchu, Early Man and Skeleton Witch.
To get right down to it, Stranger fuses together the roots-rock, no-bullshit beginnings of Stranded on Earth and Total Universe Man with the laser guided immediacy of Legend Of The World and the total metal shredding of Immortalizer, into one supernova burst.
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Formed in Southern California in 2008 when vocalist James Paul Luna and drummer Tyler Meahl diverged from Pasadena metal squadron White Wizzard and teamed up with San Diegan guitar hero Eli Santana, the band was called Sorcerer until it became clear that the moniker didn't quite capture the rarefied nature of the members' collective talents. Sorcerer became HOLY GRAIL. The band became so unstoppable that California just couldn't contain them and now, like their spiritual forefathers in Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio, HOLY GRAIL are poised to bring their hook-laden shred anthems to an arena near you.
HOLY GRAIL are heavy metal personified, possessing a seemingly infinite arsenal of mind-blowing riffs, skyscraping vocal melodies and devastating drum dynamism. Not mention the kind of six-string acrobatics and straight-up power-shredding that would make Yngwie Malmsteen chuck the proverbial goat in sweep-picking solidarity. "We shred and we're serious about it," Luna offers. "This is not a tongue-in-cheek thing. It's not throwback or retro. HOLY GRAIL is a modern band with a new twist on the best of old-school metal with death metal riffs, modern breakdowns and power-metal singing. We just tried to pick stuff from all our favorite bands and make the best blend of metal we could."
But don't take our word for itor Luna's. The fine folks at Decibel magazine knew exactly what they were talking about when they hailed HOLY GRAIL as "the most exciting prefix-free metal band to come out of L.A. in the last two decades." The esteemed editors at UK's Metal Hammer nominated the gentlemen of the Grail for the magazine's "Best New Band" award at their annual Golden Gods ceremony before HOLY GRAIL even had an album out. But a certain tall, handsome genius over at Thrasher summed it up best when he proclaimed, "HOLY GRAIL are the reason that heavy metal will never die."
After basking in the glory of last year's critically acclaimed "Improper Burial" EP, HOLY GRAIL have finally unleashed their full-length debut, "Crisis In Utopia." The title comes from a short story that Luna found in a 1930s-era sci-fi mag. Inspired, he transposed the tale's apocalyptic theme to the band's L.A. stomping grounds. "The way I envisioned it, it's about what would happen to Hollywood in end-times, the fate of all these people who have no idea how to survive without modern conveniences," he explains. "Then all the humans are killed off and the next species forms from their parasites. It was kind of a sick pleasure to write."
Produced by former Nine Inch Nails member and A Perfect Circle collaborator Danny Lohner, Crisis In Utopia is loaded with instant fist-pumping classics like the title track ,"Call Of Valhalla," and revamped versions of Improper Burial's modern classics "Immortal Man" and "Fight To Kill." Opener "My Last Attack" is especially impressive, showcasing Luna's soaring pipes over a dizzying series of scorching twin leads and white-hot hooks. Insanely catchy jams like "Hollow Ground," "Requiem" and "Chase The Wind" set an impossibly high standard for the next decade's would-be arena anthems. Meanwhile, the instrumental interlude "Nocturne In D Minor" features guest shots from Anna Murphy and Meri Tadic of Swiss folk-metal luminaries (and recent tour mates) Eluveitie.
Triumphant performances at the UK's Download Festival, Japan's Loud Park and Germany's Wacken Open Air have recently spread the HOLY GRAIL gospel overseas, while North American tours with metal monoliths Amon Amarth, Exodus, 3 Inches Of Blood and Blind Guardian have left the home front in a sweat-drenched state of HOLY GRAIL fever.
Yeah, you say, but What Does It All Mean? What it means is that you've been reading this thing for way too long. Just press fucking play already.
Holy Grail is:
James-Paul Luna Vocals
Eli Santana Lead Guitar
Alex Lee Lead Guitar
Tyler Meahl Drums
Blake Mount Bass
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