Artist/ Band: Iain Ashley Hersey
Title: The Holy Grail
Label: Lion Music
Year of Release: 2005
Artist/ Band Link (click for details/ ordering)

The Review:

Iain Ashley Hersey is a very versatile guitarist and composer from the United States who released two worldwide acclaimed albums to this day, called “Fallen Angels” (released in 2000 in Japan only, and then in Europe in 2001) and “The Holy Grail” last fall, which is composed of 12 tracks for a length of about 1 hour 10 minutes. Nice music! Iain’s musical influences started with bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and many more in that vein, but after having studied music for some time, he would have felt like improving and getting his own style instead, which seems to have succeeded quite well, because we really can feel it in “The Holy Grail”! Besides all the guitars, he also plays some bass and some keyboards on it. Iain played with an impressive load of great talent musicians all along the way – just check the line-up and you’ll see! Indeed, so many different people play on “The Holy Grail”, which make that every song is very different and individual from each other, apart from the fact that they never loose that touch of old rock and blues inside. In Iain’s own words, that release is “a kind of heavy Bluesy Classic Rock with a hint of Fusion overtones”.

It’s obviously really cool to can hear all those tracks sung by so many different people. The vocals – and songs – that I prefer here, are those of David Montgomery (tracks 1, 2 and 3) and that of Randy Williams (track 4). They really have “warm” voices, but sweet at the same time, while that of Carsten Schultz (tracks 5, 6 and 7) is more “rock”, or let’s say between sweet and hard and that of Graham Bonnet (tracks 9, 10 and 11) is more “dry” and “hoarse”, or “throaty”. Incredible! The vocals thus change completely the feeling and the mood of the songs. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but seems like from the first song till the last one, the vocals start very sweet to end up more and more rock. Well, wanted or not, the effect is very cool and special. For what concerns the guitars, they’re excellent and the blues mixed with the music adds a very special feeling.

“Auf Wiedersehen” (instrumental piece), for example, is ultra relaxing and entrancing, while “Going Down” is very “hot” – the keyboards part is just amazing! I don't have any doubts that you'll get amazed by instrumental Iain's "Toccata in D Minor" too...;-) There, you really can see the versatility of that great guitarist! I can not say much about the guitars except that it’s all good from the beginning till the end and as Iain adds himself, “My aim was to keep it simple, heavy, bluesy and melodic, as well as having a strong groove and pocket. I also wanted to have a nice canvas allowing me to be able to let things rip ”. I guess that there can’t be a better way to describe his album.

Briefly, this album is very personal and original and I guess it’s really Iain’s style. It’s a huge mix of many rock moods from the 70’s to the beginning of the 80’s.

Iain Ashley Hersey is clearly an other good musician that is really worth to be more known !!! I guess those who like great old rock mixed with some blues won’t be disappointed. ;-) “The Holy Grail” definitely fits perfect for that album as it’s a unique piece of music.

Reviewed by Vikie Martel on March 18th, 2006


1- Blood of Kings
2- In the Light
3- To the Sea
4- Blink of an Eye
5- Empty Planet
6- Lost and Foolish
7- Calling for the Moon
8- Toccata in D Minor
9- Going Down
10- Walking the Talk
11- The Holy Grail
12- Auf Wiedersehen

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