Sunday, 15 February 2015

Visigoth - The Revenant King (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/01/2015
Label: Metal Blade Records

‘The Revenant King’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. The Revenant King
2. Dungeon Master
3. Mammoth Rider
4. Blood Sacrifice
5. Iron Brotherhood
6. Necropolis
7. Vengeance
8. Creature of Desire
9. From the Arcane Mists of Prophecy

Visigoth is:

Jake Rogers | vocals
Jamison Palmer | guitar
Leeland Campana | guitar
Matt Brotherton | bass
Mikey Tee | drums


Visigoth is an American trad-metal band and have unleashed this opus on Metal Blade. The art work is superb- old school and Cirith Ungol or even The Gates of Slumber-esque. In fact, the cover really sums up what you are getting here. This is sword and sorcery, warriors and wizards, keepers and keys, man and war... you get the idea. Musically, then, this is somewhere between Iron Maiden, Grand Magus, Manowar and 3 inches of Blood. The opening title track is an 8 minute gallop through trad-metal territory. The riffs come thick and fast and fleet of foot. ‘Dungeon Master’ follows this with vocals lower in pitch than Dickinson but no less grandiose. This being an American band, dare I suggest that they actually take this (too) seriously?!

Maybe there is a playfulness lurking here- but for the most part these tales of dungeons (if not quite dragons) seem deadly serious in delivery. Iron Maiden have always had a slightly raised eyebrow when it comes to epic songs and monsters wandering around the stage, while still performing with absolute conviction, while Manowar  have never been less than adamantly straight faced (even in the face of ridicule and contempt). There is nothing wrong with either approach, necessarily- you have to say or play it like you mean it either way and all bands mentioned so far most certainly do, including Visigoth. And why not? There are people out there that long for simpler times, when honour, victory and glory were the only worthwhile things to strive for. You know, when people had actual problems, before the only warriors you heard about fought for social justice (whatever that is) and dangerous foes were met in battle instead of non-dangerous soft targets were sniped at from behind a keyboard. Visigoth play with conviction and dexterity throughout. Hell, Manowar have made a thirty something career (and counting) out of hymns to battle and glory so if you accept the conviction that the songs are delivered with you will enjoy this.

‘Mammoth Rider’ continues the blueprint while ‘Blood Sacrifice’ is catchy and engaging in the extreme (it also contains the word “pentagram” Yes!). ‘Iron Brotherhood’ is ludicrous in all the right ways before ‘Necropoli’s delivers the kind of track you would expect from the title. ‘Vengeance’’s tale of wandering a desolate landscape following the destruction of one’s homestead and familial demise is pure Conan-esque revelry while ‘Creature of Desire’ delivers yet more riffs and leads, galloping on towards the final lengthy opus ‘From The Arcane Mists of Prophecy’ with its epic conclusion.

The instruments are superbly played, the vocals are grand and quasi-operatic and suit the music well. There are many great riffs here and lots of time changes, galloping rhythms and... well, heavy metal. For me, this does not quite reach the heights of Grand Magus and it doesn’t have the sinister vibe of a band like In Solitude (even if the cover might suggest otherwise) but what you get is unashamed heavy metal of the type once revered and then ridiculed in the 80’s going into the 90’s. Most bands don’t make records like this anymore, but then again, most bands suck. So: All hail Visigoth. Keepers of the true metal flame!

Words by: Richard Maw

You can pick up a copy here

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