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HOLY GRAIL vocalist discusses the band’s new album & touring

I couldn’t have missed the new release by Pasadena, California’s metal act HOLY GRAIL titled “Ride The Void” (Rocket Distribution / Prosthetic Records) and I truly believe YOU didn’t forget it’s out! So, when the opportunity to chat with these guys arose I jumped at the chance!

The band’s vocalist James Paul Luna found some time to answer my random questions, so here they are! This chat may give you a nice update from this metal pack, as well as a useful starting point if you don’t know the band.

HOLY GRAIL have received major recognition for the quality of their approach to metal. The following press release introduces the band and sums up their experience as a band. Check it out to get the official picture and scroll down to find out more!

HOLY GRAIL will next be seen taking part in the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise alongside IN FLAMES, KREATOR, SABATON and dozens more later this month. They will continue to promote their new album by appearing on the Metal Alliance Tour alongside ANTHRAX, EXODUS, HIGH ON FIRE, and MUNICIPAL WASTE, which includes a stop at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Full dates are listed below.

Over the past three years, HOLY GRAIL has toured extensively with the likes of AMON AMARTH, BLIND GUARDIAN, ELUVEITIE and ROYAL THUNDER in addition to performing at several of the genre’s largest international festivals, including Wacken, Loud Park, Soundwave and Download. Their 2010 debut full-length “Crisis in Utopia” — which featured two re-recorded tracks from their 2009 debut EP “Improper Burial” and the anthemic video single “My Last Attack” — earned extensive critical acclaim, with Revolver naming the album one of the year’s 20 best and calling it “the catchiest album of pure heavy metal since Maiden, Priest and Dio ruled the early ’80s.”

In 2012, around national tours with DRAGONFORCE and VALIENT THORR, the band teamed with Grammy-winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Children of Bodom) to record “Ride The Void,” which was subsequently mixed by Mark Lewis (All That Remains, The Black Dahlia Murder) and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, Mastodon). The album’s first single, the galloping “Dark Passenger,” was released digitally and on 7-inch vinyl in October, when the group toured North America with HELLYEAH. Now, the wait is over — buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Hey, guys! Great to talk to you. Let’s start off from the other way around and discuss your upcoming touring. You’ll be touring the US with ANTHRAX, EXODUS and MUNICIPAL WASTE in March and April. Tell us more about this trek. How did you ended up as a part of this insane line-up? What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to this run?

Yes it’s an awesome trek indeed! Actually, our agent and manager helped get us on that tour and thankfully we have a new album out which helped us get in the running for that. I’m looking forward to the partying, no hiding that [laughs]. We’ve toured with EXODUS before and it was a rager but I have a feeling it’s gonna be 10 times crazier on this tour.

You’ll be appearing at New England Metal & Hardcore Festival 2013, too! What’s cool about this fest?

The cool thing about NEMHF is there’s insane moshing and whether it’s in the main room or the small stage everyone is really into the having a good time. So we’re stoked we got asked back again this year! Ooh yeah!

What other treks can we expect later this year? Will you be still focusing on smaller venues, perhaps?

Nothing else is confirmed yet but we are hoping to do some headline dates and get back to Europe this summer.

Yeah! Hope to finally catch you, guys.

What do you guys miss the most while on tour? [smiles]

I miss the freedom to go out exploring and adventuring as much as I’d like to but I still manage to do some of that on tour as well. Other than that I miss the obvious like showering and being able to cook my own meals whenever I want.

Ok, let’s move on to “becoming metal heroes” part of the story [smiles]. How do you feel your recent signing with Nuclear Blast Europe has helped you so far?

I think it’s helped put us on the radar in Europe. When our last record came out it really didn’t get much press in Europe but this time it’s getting well covered thanks to NB. Besides the press I think being associated with NB is good for our credibility over there.

What’s different comparing the European and American distribution (managed by Prosthetic Records)? How would you compare both offline and online markets in these 2 areas?

It’s hard for me to compare the 2 this early in our relationship but for the most part NB is huge and powerful in Europe whereas prosthetic has more of a grassroots and underground appeal.

Ok, let’s discuss your new precious, “Ride The Void”. What inspired the new album’s cover art?

Instead of having a creature or a subject as the focal point we wanted the absence of something to be the subject matter. Hence it was inspired by Nothingness… Which is from the lyrics to the song “Ride The Void”. Then we had Dylan mix a bit of inception imagery with some KING DIAMOND flair and there you have it.

Where do you see “Ride the Void” relating to your previous albums, besides the obvious musical affinity? Where would you locate the new album’s strengths?

Ride The Void relates to our previous releases sonically and dynamically but I think the new album is stronger in its songwriting both lyrically and musically, plus it has much broader and more personal themes so I feel more connected to it.

Do you remember any of the early press you received? Do you compare the feedback you get now with the one you analyzed carefully back in your early days?

I try not to get caught up analyzing or reading old press I’d go mad if I did. Hah!

What are your next steps when it comes to writing and recording?

I’m constantly writing but as for HOLY GRAIL, we won’t be planning on  working on new material until we’ve properly toured the globe in support of Ride The Void.

How’s Southern Californian scene these days? Shoot us some cool local names to check out this year.

I’d have to give a shout out to our buddies in SAVIOURS, HUNTRESS, and GYPSYHAWK, that’s who to check out.

What other genres and styles are you into? Do you go to hardcore punk shows? [smiles]

I go to any and all shows from raves and hardcore punk to folk and jazz. I love music; it’s very personal to me.

If you could dig up one dead person in the whole world, and bring him or her back to life, who would it be? Why?

I’d dig up Ronnie James Dio so I could eat curry with him and drink beer.

Do you think the role of long hair is entirely aesthetic or does it have a deeper meaning in metal? [smiles]

I think it’s both aesthetic and symbolic. Long hair has always been a sign of savagery or rebellion and I think that’s exactly what metal is about.

What’s your personal holy grail? [smiles]

Young Coconuts are my personal Holy Grail, I could live off them solely and wish I had my own island full of them.

Thanks so much for you time and taking the time to talk with me, James! Shoot us your last words and shout outs. Anything you want. Cheers from Warsaw! [smiles]

Cheers my friends!! Hope to see you in 2013!! Party!

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