Those of you who frequent this website will most likely know I like my music buttered on the cheesy and heroic side. It’ll therefore come as no surprise to learn I love the Grailknights which means I’m very happy to present a review of the long overdue album, Calling The Choir.
The previous album, Alliance, dropped in 2008 and was followed closely by a tour with the Swedish war machine, Sabaton, which pushed them into the public conscience. A DVD and EP followed, keeping the knights name out there. However, line up changes would hit the band shortly after, putting a spanner in the works, slowing their progress and, of course, slowing the battle against the evil Dr. Skull (for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I’m going on about, click here for explanation/further confusion).
The latest video doesn’t feature on the album, but sums up the band well
While some bands try to find members similar to their departing band mates in order to sound as close as possible to old material, the Grailknights have taken a different approach. Former guitarist, Sir Optimus Prime has assumed vocal duties and the band as a whole have moved away from the melodic death metal sound towards a heavy power metal sound. Sort of like if Iced Earth decided to wear capes and battle villains instead of lead singers.
Death growls are still present though, such as in Absence of Gravity, but they are often complimented by clean backing vocals. Old fans of the band will also be relieved to hear the all important whoa-oh’s are still firmly present, though perhaps not to the degree that they used to be (ie Moonlit Masquerade).
If you don’t whoa along, you’re clearly dead inside
For those worried they’ve moved far from the original Grailknights sound, tracks like End of the World will keep you appeased. There’s a difference, there’s no doubt in that but they are still unmistakeably the Grailknights.
Anna Lee is one of the strongest tracks on the album, which feels odd for me to say because generally ballads are my kryptonite and despite an almost new line up, shares a similar sound with Tranquillity’s Embrace.
The greatest graphics since Microsoft Flight Simulator
Sea Song, which many will know from the EP is also one of the best tracks. With a painfully catchy chorus and whoa-oh section it is one of those songs is best performed live (I assume, I haven’t seen them since they conquered Glasgow with Sabaton).
The production values have come on leaps and bounds since the days of Across the Galaxy (2004) and I’m tempted to say this is the best Grailknights album to date. Obviously it is still basking in the glow of newness though, which makes it hard to form an accurate opinion. I would be surprised if my opinion changed though.
This is meant as no disrespect to the old knights who have moved on in their quests, together they forged many powerful songs and watching them call a pink caped panto horse onto the stage to give beer to the crowd is still one of my favourite/most ridiculous gig memories.
Some of you will be scanning this, not giving a damn about what I have to say, you just want to know if the immortal words are included on the album…