Visigoth – The Revenant King
Release date: January 27, 2015
American heavy metal is often said to leave a bit to be desired. A lot of European countries have a fourth of the population, but ten times the successful bands, and this American writer wouldn’t deny that in general, that sentiment is true. However, once every couple of years, a band will pull itself out of that sea of eyeliner and swooping bangs, and completely blow that stigma out of the water. Forming in 2010, American heavy metal band Visigoth hit the Utah scene with a force so heavy and sharp, that just a few short years later they were picked up by Metal Blade Records. Visigoth is a perfect blend of the traditional heavy metal sound that hasn’t been heard in decades, with the boldness of modern production and varied musical influences. Their debut full length, The Revenant King, was a surprising twist of a follow-up to the 2012 EP, Final Spell. Either way, the two-and-a-half year wait between releases was obviously put to good use, as this release is far deeper than expected.
Title track and single, “The Revenant King” kicks off the album with galloping rhythms and crunchy guitar riffs. At just over eight minutes, one might expect the track to get repetitive and boring, however that is far from the case. Jake Rogers‘ crystal clear vocals soar above the gritty music, until about halfway through when an amazing instrumental break takes over. This is where the music takes an epic, surreal turn, that will leave the listener craving for more. The band released an official video for the track, (proving Joakim Brodén isn’t the only one who can rock aviators) and couldn’t have possibly been more heavy metal if Manowar directed it themselves.
Immediately following is “Dungeon Master” which was released as another single to the record. This track is a step up in the straight forward, riff driven heavy metal that was expected from the band, complete with great driving bass lines and a killer, speed metal-esque guitar solo. “Mammoth Rider” in my humble opinion is the best track on the new release, providing a hard-hitting groove, all while being heavy as hell. Yet again, the vocal work takes the spotlight, but the galloping yet simple drum work and great riff after great riff just scream out in their haunting perfection.
Visigoth nailed “Necropolis”, a Manilla Road cover, and also included the re-recorded track “Creature of Desire” from 2012’s Final Spell. Now I can’t lie, this is probably my favorite Visigoth song, so hearing this new version gave me the chills. The song in all reality, is relatively simple, but there is this catchy genius in its simplicity that cannot be ignored. While I prefer the original version (I’ll chock that up to nostalgia), this kind of driving hook, to me, is what most heavy metal bands in the 80s set out to achieve.
The album ends with the track, “From the Arcane Mists of Prophecy”, which if you can’t tell by the title, is by far the most power metal song on the release. From the ethereal intro full of layered, harmonized vocals, to the triplet-filled, galloping music beneath them, this is a perfect, high-energy way to end this release.
The Revenant King is a fantastic debut album, with quality that would be expected of a much older and seasoned band. The fact that Visigoth is only about five-years-old makes it that much more impressive. It is well-known that bands will take a few releases to truly develop their sound, so I cannot wait to see where the band goes from here. It makes me proud as an American heavy and power metal fan to have this band represent our country at an international level, and I wish them the best as they begin their Western United States tour in April!
Jake Rogers – Vocal
Leeland Campana – Lead Guitar
Jamison Palmer – Guitar
Matt Brotherton – Bass Guitar
Mikey T. – Drums