Concert Review + Photos: Holy Grail at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, CT
It was a fine night of metal indeed at the Arch Street Tavern, when Holy Grail and friends put on a show presented by 666 Days of Metal (yes, that’s exactly what you think it is).
Graven Image kicked things off with their love letter to classic heavy metal. Overkill-esque vocals topped guitar leads straight out of the Judas Priest playbook without sounding like a carbon copy of either band. A few technical difficulties paused the set once or twice, but Graven Image plowed through and gave a memorable performance.
Following that was Sever the Drama, another local act. In contrast to their predecessor on stage, Sever the Drama bow at the New Wave of American Heavy Metal altar. Their mix of hard rock and metal was reminiscent of the explosion of genre bands in the early 2000s, and they did a fine job pulling people away from their barstools and towards the stage.
Along came Holy Grail, the Bay Area band that’s been taking the metal world by storm. They’re often lumped into the “retro/thrash revival” category, but that’s not entirely accurate. Sure, they wear their influences on their sleeve, but there’s so many of them blended into a cohesive whole that just writing Holy Grail off as a retro act is disingenuous. The band’s talent is undeniable, and it translates into a great live performance. A twin guitar attack that alternated between blazing riffs and solos (often jumping from one guitarist to the next) was driven by a pummeling rhythm section. All the while, frontman James Paul Luna parboiled our brains with his impressive vocal range, with high notes bouncing among the rafters.
Holy Grail’s set contained much from their latest release Ride the Void, like “Too Decayed to Wait” and the killer title track. Things slowed down a bit towards the end with “Rains of Sorrow,” but the band finished off the night with a bunch of high-speed anthems including their first single and video, “My Last Attack.” Through it all, Holy Grail kept up an intense pace that had the crowd throwing up the horns and fist pumping non-stop.
All things considered, Holy Grail and the opening bands certainly crushed it, leaving behind a satisfied audience (and a few very confused barflies).
Holy Grail Photo Gallery: