Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath (Metal Blade)

Thursday, 8th February 2018
Rating: 9.5/10

It’s always easy to make a solid first impression in heavy metal. The follow-up product however can show a group’s true worth – as they often say you have a lifetime to create those first batch of songs, but a compressed timeframe to see if lightning will strike in a bottle again. That’s the position Visigoth face for Conqueror’s Oath after epic/traditional heavy metal fans took to The Revenant King debut magnificently – allowing for triumphant touring/festival opportunities here and abroad with Night Demon plus appearances at Keep It True, Hellraiser, and Pounding Metal in Germany and Spain.

Seasoning on the road reigns in some of the longer passages for these eight songs – but do not think that they’ve lost any semblance of hook/harmony ratios on both musical and vocal fronts. The warrior/marching guitar run that signals “Steel and Silver” matches up to the majestic, mid-tempo arrangement, the choir/mead hall chorus tailor ready for unison backing action from audiences when aired across live stages. Twin Maiden-esque guitar charges and an equally addictive Steve Harris-oriented bass line makes “Outlive Them All” a front half barnburner – Jake Rogers racing with words and bellowing out key parts like ‘There can be only one!’ with passion and pride. The tales of fantasy, mythology, and history serve as alluring storylines against the epic, soaring musical landscape – inspiration coming from a bevy of European and American bands (think Omen, Manilla Road, Grand Magus, Manowar, and Twisted Tower Dire if you need comparisons). “Salt City” showcases a bit more of their 70’s classic hard rock side, the main riff very similar to the explosiveness that put “Detroit Rock City” from Kiss on the map – while the epic side of the band where they flesh out instrumental passages and shift moods/tempos comes to the forefront on “Traitor’s Gate” and the doomier, closing title track.

As stated before in constructing a tighter, shorter album (hitting the 42-minute mark versus the hour plus debut), Conqueror’s Oath will place high on many year end lists- for this is memorable material that uses classic tools to churn out anthems for galvanizing the strength, power, and eternal presence of heavy metal. Put Visigoth near the top of the American epic metal class, brandishing iron to invite all in the grandeur of this genre.

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