Visigoth – The Revenant King (Metal Blade)Sunday, 18th January 2015
Striking a chord for epic heavy/power metal, welcome to the world of Visigoth, a quintet hailing from the metal metropolis of Salt Lake City, Utah (insert dripping sarcasm). Never one to detour their determination for the cause, these gentlemen have been slugging it out in the underground for 5 years, recording a demo and EP in the process- the former including a cover of 80’s Metal Blade favorite Omen with “Battle Cry”. There’s just something admirable about a North American band singing about battles and mythology while another classic Kris Verwimp cover hedges bets that we aren’t in for deathcore or technically shred-oriented songwriting for these 9 songs.
It’s clear after a few spins that The Revenant King as a debut album has a lot in common with the 1980’s scene when charging riffs, mid-tempo marches, and melodic vocals bellowed from the mountain tops. Drummer Mikey T. has that classic metal groove at hand during immediate appealers such as “Vengeance” and the twin guitar harmony/gallop fueled “Dungeon Master” (harkens back to my Advanced Dungeons and Dragons days of youth). Fans of early David-Wayne led Metal Church, Cirith Ungol, and possibly a newer act like Germany’s Atlantean Kodex will gravitate easily to these exciting riffs, lengthier arrangements that give plenty of cultural instrumental ammunition plus dynamic build-ups, and lyrics that champion by gone eras of sorcerers, brotherhood, and goddesses.
Between the fiery lead breaks of Leeland Campana and solid rhythms from fellow guitarist Jamison Palmer, there will be plenty of songs to scream and shout for – current favorites include “Mammoth Rider” that takes Grand Magus to epic proportions and the 9:44 closer “From the Arcane Mists of Prophecy” which will make Warning of Danger Omen mavens giddy at the spider web salvos leading the charge. Topping things off are Jake Rogers’ masterful (and tasteful) vocals – where I hear tinges of Falconer, Omen, and Twisted Tower Dire in terms of depth, power, and range.
Even Manilla Road’s “Necropolis” midway through the track list gains a Visigoth energetic boost which pays respect to the epic metal kings while making the song their own. Kudos to Metal Blade for remembering their roots as a label and taking a chance on signing an act that will surely gain traction overseas first (Germany, Greece…anyone?), but let’s see if North Americans can rally around their own brethren, as The Revenant King is worth its weight in ancient treasure.