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Grails Doomsdayer's Holiday album cover
3.07 | 31 ratings | 4 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Doomsdayer's Holiday (3:24)
2. Reincarnation Blues (4:25)
3. The Natural Man (4:41)
4. Immediate Mate (5:43)
5. Predestination Blues (6:20)
6. X-Contaminations (4:56)
7. Acid Rain (8:00)

Total time 37:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Alex John Hall / guitar, sampler
- Zak Riles / acoustic & electric guitars, baglama, oud
- William Slater / bass, piano, synth, guzheng, vocals
- Emil Amos / drums, electric & lap steel guitars, keyboards, melodica, tape, vocals

- Alan Bishop / vocals (5)
- Randall Dunn / analog synth
- Erik Nugent / flute
- Kate O'Brien-Clarke / violin
- Jordan Hudson / vibes

Releases information

Artwork: Alex Hall

CD Temporary Residence Limited ‎- TRR 144 (2008, US)

LP Temporary Residence Limited ‎- TRR 144 (2008, US)

Thanks to Dim for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GRAILS Doomsdayer's Holiday ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GRAILS Doomsdayer's Holiday reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dim
3 stars The second album by American psychedelic instrumental rock (say that five times fast) band Grails this year. Take Refuge in clean Living was a much more tangible album, with less spacey moments, and less song oriented. This one is either heavy with a much more busy atmosphere i.e. Predestination blues, reincarnation blues, or almost completely ambient i.e. The natural man, and X-contaminators. Still the albums are very similar, this one just hits the extremes a little more.

If you read my review over Take Refuge, you know that that album does not have a lot of action, save one song. Doomsdayers Holiday on the other hand starts spacey, but quickly gets very busy in the first song three minute song, and then follows into one of the more intense songs on the album reincarnation blues. Afterwords the album takes a turn for the spacey side with the next few songs, with the same eastern vibe as their last album, but this time, the feeling is much darker, I feel much less optimism and mystery with this album than on Take Refuge. Doomsdayers Holiday, while very eastern influenced, they use the eastern instrumentation to create eerie soundscapes, and percussion to add to the darkness. Anyways, this gives way to the almost metallic Predestination blues, another busy song, with some excellent guitar action and drumming. The album closes greatly with the subtle, but not subtle X- Contaminators, and the very Pink Floyd like Acid Rain, very ballady and serene,coming in and out of of the barrier between ambient and very chill music.

One thing that really disappointed me with this album is that it didn't wait to climax for one big triumphant song like the title song for Take Refuge. Instead there's a bunch of shorter songs that are heavy, but don't seem nearly as memorable, or it might just be because the riff on take refuge is just so addicting. Another thing you should not is that the electric guitar is much more prominent on this one than their previous, which is a plus if you got a little tired of hearing the harmonic minor scale from the previous album.

Solid album, but I think I like Take Refuge in Clean Living a little bit more for it's consistency, but not by much, and no less deserving of Three stars.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Between their debut Burden of Hope and their sixth, the present Doomdayer?s Holiday, it?s been six years and just about as many albums, but you can?t say that Grails was set up to change the world. Besides a lush illustrated booklet filled naked mademoiselles in forest, the group is now a quartet as Tim Horner is now out of the picture, but there is a violin in the guest instruments. In that very list of guests, we find also Earth?s Randall Dunn and Sun City Girls? Bishop on a rare sung track.

So what has changed in some 5 years is that the post rock has blossomed into a slightly psychedelic post rock, but remains firmly in the post rock realm. Yet, this appears to be their spacier or psychier album yet as there are a few tracks that veer semi-cosmic via a touch of Indian music, but this is nothing that wasn?t already present in a form or another on their debut album. Don?t get me wrong here, Grails is not static, they slowly moves within the boundaries of their musical realm they set up early on and they explore. For example here, metal is a usually present ingredient (but generally lesser amounts), but here it?s one of the key elements of this album, even inducing more eventful music while not being necessarily so.

Although I?ve seen the group live (in support of Woven Hand in the spring of 09) and they were a sextet, there was a psychedelic dimension to their music that expressed itself to semi-Ozric feel, which I think is totally absent in this latest album. In either case, and despite the fact I haven't heard the intermediary albums, Doomsdayer's

Review by maani
2 stars This was my first foray into Grails, and I am very much on the fence about this album. The band essentially creates heavily-textured soundscapes full of studio and other effects, some of which compositions have more structure than others. And while many of the tracks are interesting, experimental and even creative, none of them are really compelling; i.e., the band does not seem to be adding anything to either instrumental prog or the soundscape "lexicon."

The opening track, Doomsdayer's Holiday (which is remarkably brief for a title track), is a bass- heavy, ultra-textured paranoid romp, beginning with some of the most unsettling screams I have ever heard on CD. Reincarnation Blues is okay, but probably the weakest track on the album. The Natural Man is a theme-y, film soundtrack-y composition, the main theme of which is definitely based on a known film theme (I just can't put my finger on it yet...). Immediate Mate is a comparatively wild, quasi-improvisational piece. Predestination Blues, a Middle Eastern-inflected composition, is the "straightest" uptempo track, and possibly the best. X-Contaminations is an eerie, hypnotic track full of odd effects of every stripe. Acid Rain is another film soundtrack-y cut. Oddly, although I liked most of the other tracks, the two theme-y ones are as successful, if not moreso, than some of the more experimental ones. (If they have not already done so, Grails could have a successful side career writing film theme and incidental music...)

Influences here are quite far-flung - from the blatantly Crimso-Floydian, to the soundtrack work of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream, to bits and pieces of Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Church, and even early Porcupine Tree.

Ultimately, my rating would be two-and-a-half stars, since I think it falls somewhere in between "for collectors only" and "good, but non-essential."

Still, I liked it enough to go out and purchase the album with the highest rating at PA (Burning Off Impurities). And in that regard..........(watch for my review......)

Review by Bonnek
3 stars Just like the preceding album, "Doomsdayer's Holiday" is a very short album from Grails. If they slammed the best bits from both albums on one CD they might have been close to a masterpiece. As it stands it's another near excellent album.

The opener "Doomsdayer's Holiday" sets the tone with a huge and heavy theme, sounding like a sluggishly paced down-tuned riff from King Crimson's "Red". Tons of reverb and noise blow this into epic proportions. "Reincarnation Blues" revolves around a children-song melody that gets gradually deconstructed to a rough swamp blues. The second half of the track is more ambient. It flows into "The Natural Man" where a nice gentle acoustic tune gradually rises from the quiet.

"Immediate Mate" is more experimental, with some touches of free jazz booming in the distance. Interesting but it makes the album lose some momentum for me. "Predestination Blues" restores the swampy blues pace but it's not their most remarkable composition. The slow and minimal "X-Contaminations" is very moody and atmospheric, but it isn't till the closing "Acid Rain" that the band reconnects with the strong quality of the 3 opening tracks. The guitar melodies and arpeggios remind me a bit of the Cocteau Twins. Nice one.

Overall a good Grails album but given its short length it left me somewhat disappointed. If the best material had combined on a CD together with the preceding "Doomsdayer's Holiday", they would have delivered another excellent package.

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