When one attends a folk-metal show it is generally expected that there will be the highly talented folk-metal headliner and prior to their set will be a collection of folk metal bands who have yet to find their niche but are trying with various folk instruments thrown into their music awkwardly.
Waiting for the band Holy Grail to finish their sound check left me very perplexed. Here was a band opening for Eluvietie with absolutely no folk instruments. The lead singer looked as if he was plucked directly out of the early ages of thrash metal as he had a hoodie and a denim cut off jacket with an old school Ride The Lightning Metallica patch on his back and long curly hair that often covers his face. As soon as the sound check was finished and the band was given the green light they were out of the gates with a fury and passion that was completely unexpected.
The next surprise to me was that the lead singer was singing in a voice comparable to Bruce Dickinson rather than the much more common growling route taken by most modern metal bands. So many things that this band did harkened back to earlier times in metal. The topics for each song were classically metal, perhaps cheesy on paper(with songs about war, Norse gods and predatorial animals), but bad ass with their extremely aggressive yet auditorially pleasing melodies. This band was completely comfortable with their “metalness” as they had no problem throwing in riffs that at moments seem almost dancy.
The singer had such a great high range, the songs were memorable, the solos had great virtuosity, and the drums were brutally fast. My only complaint with this bands set is that it was too short, when they were finished I would have loved to hear them play their entire set for a second time. This band can be described as an Iron Maiden on steroids however, even this does not do them justice as they were brutal enough to throw down with any modern metal band. This is definitely a band you will want to keep your eye on if you have any interest in metal.