Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Visigoth - The Revenant King

When I reviewed Salt Lake City's Visigoth's 2012 EP, Final Spell, I knew this band would turn out to be something very special. I was vaguely familiar with front man Jake Rogers' blackened folk metal project, Gallowbraid so I thought I knew what this guy was made of. The EP was actually quite surprising because it was not folk metal or black metal but straight up old school heavy metal and it was really good. So when I heard that Visigoth got signed to Metal Blade Records I was awaiting their full length debut with great anticipation. The Revenant King is the name of this monstrously epic debut and not only did they live up to my expectations, they went way beyond anything I imagined.

I expected more of the same from this band because it seemed that they had a great formula and I assumed they would stick to that formula. They didn't....the threw some shit into the game. They went full on epic with a sound that could only be compared to Manilla Road's classic era. They took a huge chance on this album going for long epic songs that have many layers, instead of going straight up metal, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. Coming right out of the shoot is the title track clocking in at just over eight minutes. That could have been hit or miss for a young band like this but they not only find a way to use all eight minutes to their advantage, they created a new formula that gives this band a new identity. The song is multi-layered with great riffing, great solos, a rhythm that drives the song and melodies that are truly infectious. Vocalist Jake Rogers is a gifted singer with a great baritone that compliments the song, especially the chorus that just sucks you in. Every second of these eight minutes will have you spellbound as they take you on a journey, pulling you inside the story that they are telling.

But wait, they throw another twist into this album as the follow up song, "Dungeon Master". This song doesn't bother to be over the top epic but instead just kick your ass with major riffage all the way through, kicking it up a notch with a more speed metal oriented song. This is another song that has a great chorus as well as great guitar work. It slows down in the middle only to kick your ass with dual lead solo battles that are nothing less than godly. Another song that has this driving speedy rhythm is their cover of Manilla Road's "Necropolis." They not only did this song justice but just they killed it. It was this cover that actually made me go back and have a new found appreciation for Manilla Road. They also re-recorded "Creature of Desire" from the EP but for some reason I prefer the original. That song seemed to work better for the production on that EP and may be the only song on this album that did not seem to fit in with the rest.

For the most part, though, this album is just plain epic metal. You have songs that are metal anthems like "Mammoth Rider" with it's slower tempo and crushing riffs that even touches on doom with the riffs towards the end. You also have the absolutely heavy and pounding "Iron Brotherhood" that is the metal anthem for this generation of metal heads. Then you have a song like "Blood Sacrifice" that begins slowly, almost as if it was a ballad with clean guitars with a lead part and Jake Rogers' incredible vocals building up to an all out speed metal assault. This song just slays from beginning to end with it's catchy chorus, pounding rhythms, monster riffs, monster solos, and melodies towards the end that grab you and never let go. To round out the album they end it as they started it...with an almost 10 minute epic monster of a song, "From The Arcane Mists of Prophecy." If you thought the opener was as epic as they could get, think again. This song has so many layers and twists but never becoming chaotic or falling apart. The riffs, the melodies, and just the overall triumphant feeling of this song will make you want to pound your fist in the air.

As I said, this band took a chance it it paid off, in spades. They aren't showing off or over reaching and there is nothing here could be construed as pretentious. This band is the future of traditional epic heavy metal. The torch has been passed, they ran with it... and they will make heavy metal history. I predict only great things for this amazing band.


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