The Revenant King
Metal Blade Records/Rocket Distribution
Reviewed By Sean Dudley
Old school true heavy/power metal is alive and kicking
When you look at the name Visigoth in terms of metal music (originally the name referred to a Germanic tribe who invaded and conquered Rome a number of times from 376 AD and eventually settled in modern day Portugal and Spain around the seventh century); you would believe Visigoth could be a Norwegian or Swedish black metal band. But then you look at the cover of the band’s debut album, The Revenant King, and then maybe they could be a folk metal band. Nope, wrong on both counts as Visigoth are an epic true heavy/power metal band from Utah, USA, with a sound in a similar vein to Grand Magus, early Manilla Road, early Virgin Steele, Omen, Twilight of the Gods, and Twisted Tower Dire.
Signed to Metal Blade Records, Visigoth impressed with their 2012 EP, Final Spell, and now the much anticipated debut full-length release, The Revenant King, has burst onto the scene. Combining a raw-ish sound and formula found in the early days of American traditional/power metal, with modern epic melodic heavy metal techniques and structures; and finally a touch of doom and folk thrown into the mix. The end result is a sound rarely heard much these days, but warmly welcomed due to the pummelling of heavy bass (Matt Brotherton), the fiery downtuned guitar chords, killer old school riffs/solos (provided by Jamison Palmer and Leeland Campana) and creative song writing.
The nine tracks on offer here (ranging from five minutes up to 10, except for the Manilla Road cover) are superbly supercharged with melody, driving rhythms, powerful beats and overall metal hymns with fantasy related themes that will keep the true epic heavy metal fan from the ‘80s extremely happy, excited and raising their fist in the air for the entire 60 minutes of this album. Throw in the throaty and doomy styled vocals of Jake Rogers and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. Songs vary in styles including doom metal passages, sombre acoustic passages, to all out ‘80s American speed metal; giving the album more depth and diversity, rather than the same script from beginning to end.
Coming in to this release with no expectations, as I had never heard of Visigoth before, I am quite impressed with the quality and consistency of The Revenant King; from start to finish there are no dull moments, no fillers, and every track is on par with the previous. It’s one of those albums where you could take a poll from fans, asking them which song is their favourite, and any of the nine superb tracks can be mentioned. Each song is strong enough to stand completely on its own, offering up something new every time you hear it; you know you’ve done something right when that scenario can happen.
With that said, the smallest of gripes that I found on this release was that in parts the drumming sounded sort of weak, a bit faded, where a small tweak in the production would have brought them right up there and sounding more powerful and fuller. In the big picture, it doesn’t really take much away from the total enjoyment that this CD provides. However, one of the best things that has come from this album is its ability to immediately grab your interest and mesmerise you with its epic metal wonders with all the trimmings. It’s not your “typical” metal release, but while it’s not a new sound you’re hearing, the freshness of something different draws you in and the quality of the musicianship, the catchy and heavy true metal tracks never lets you go from its grasp.
Those old school metal fans of the early true American heavy/power metal era, including enjoying the bands I mentioned earlier will revel in what Visigoth has to offer with their stunning debut album. It delivers the sound of the early ‘80s with a few combinations of other genres combined with today’s production, however they haven’t fully given the album that over-the-top glossy shine that the majority of album productions have these days. The best way to zone out in The Revenant King is to grab a few beers, get comfy in a beanbag or couch and then crank it up on your home hifi system and just rock out to the old school sounds.