Holy Grail: Dark Passenger (Digital Version)

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Holy Grail: Dark Passenger (Digital Version)
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Holy Grail: Dark Passenger (Digital Download)
Heavy Metal
Prosthetic Records
October 2nd, 2012
Release length: 4:13
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When it comes to Heavy Metal, one of the first names of the modern traditional entries on the lips of fans everywhere is Holy Grail. Formed by former White Wizzard members back in 2008, they issued their long awaited debut in 2010, titled Crisis in Utopia, following an EP in 2009, and a single one year later. Since then the group had issued the Seasons Bleedings EP in 2011, followed up by a split recording in 2012. Now, they gear up for their highly anticipated follow-up album, Ride the Void in January of 2013. But, before that, they and Prosthetic Records present the first single, “Dark Passenger,” which is available for purchase now. But, is this one song item worth tracking down, or are you better off waiting for the full thing?

The audio quality here speaks volumes for the upcoming album. “Dark Passenger” has a moderate heaviness to it thanks largely to the deeper guitar distortion and rather dominant bass. The cymbals are crisp and really stand out over the slightly dulled clicks of the bass kicks, and the tighter snares end up kind of lost in the mix due to how low their volume is. Of course, the vocals are handled with a mixture of cleaner material and a slightly harsher harmonization, as well as some falsettos later on. This all leads to more of a modern quality that sounds good, but really isn’t the most impressive you’ll hear for a traditional Heavy Metal recording.

The galloping mid-tempo is catchy, allowing the bass kicks to tear through the mix, while the melodic chorus is pretty simple. The vocals throughout aren’t the most enthusiastic outside of certain areas, such as the end of certain verses or the chorus, or a later bridge that might actually remind some listeners of the better elements of Avenged Sevenfold given the nasal performance and slower pace. Even the guitar solo towards the end and what it transitions into will feel like familiar territory. But, it’s obvious the song was picked due to it’s safer sound. Things never really hit the listener too hard, coming off more a laid back performance that never really picks up until the end when things start building with various lead chords. Some sound great like the very final hook, but others just tend to create a mess before the final solo that wraps things up.

“Dark Passenger” is a rather generic offering that’s enjoyable for what it is. The lack of enthusiasm all around really holds it back, though there’s still just enough to find yourself getting into it at times. The production quality is great and really casts a positive light on the upcoming Ride the Void in that respect, but other than that, everything is still up in the air. Unfortunately, Prosthetic Records only supplied this song for review, and not “Go Down Swinging,” which is included on the seven-inch vinyl pressing. Hopefully that adds a little more value to it, because “Dark Passenger” simply isn’t enough to make fans any more anxious for Ride the Void than they already are.

01. Dark Passenger – 4:13 Overall Score: 5/10
Holy Grail (band)
Holy Grail
Digital review copy of this release provided by Prosthetic Records.