Salt Lake, Utah, is currently drowning in a weight of fan mail – or it would be, if such a thing existed these days. As it is, the various devices of a collective of young metal heads are pinging with platitudes, praise and sites and zines falling over themselves to pay tribute to the greatest thing since ale was quaffed for the first time.
For here is a band, Visigoth, who are revisiting a template established over 30 years ago – a template forged in the fires of “proper” Metal. And on their debut release, The Revenant King (Metal Blade), they doth verily show both their might and wares in a display of muscular, chunky traditional metal. Embracing a rich heritage, their roots of American Classic Metal shine through in the touches of Dio, ‘83-‘85 era Manowar and Manilla Road in their sound. Indeed, halfway through we are greeted with a cover of ‘Necropolis’ from the Road’s seminal Crystal Logic, (Black Dragon/Iron Glory), but this is not a one-trick elephant, as ‘Mammoth Rider’ brings a doomy, epic Candlemass crush before riffing off into Iced Earth territory.
There is a tendency at times for critics and punters alike to fawn more over the concept, ideology and premise of a band, or to be honest entire sub-genres – mix some brooding passages with some sludgy riffs and screams and your band is guaranteed some serious beard-stroking – rather than paying attention to whether what the band is actually delivering merits such a response. Playing traditional metal shorn of the normally pre-requisite Power Metal trappings and singing of armour and days of “yore” also garners similar stroking, though this time not of a beard of hipster origin, and some of the acclaim and commendation of Visigoth is over the top. Yet this is a furrow much ploughed over the past three decades (except for that bit in the 90’s when no one would touch classic metal, even with someone else’s bargepole) and this fledgling quintet have turned in a very respectable effort that shows reverence to the revenant spirits of metal of a bygone age without being derivative, which is no mean feat.
If there are criticisms, while they manage with professionalism the weightiness of penning a series of epic songs (with the exception of ‘Necropolis’ all our adventures weigh in over the five minute mark) some including several sections, at times this does go on a bit. Elsewhere, Jake Rogers vocals, while entirely appropriate, lack a touch of character or distinctiveness, but sharpening and maintaining their weapons is something fledgling warriors learn over time. Visigoth certainly have the weapons and steeds to be successful riding into what promises to be a long and successful campaign. The first skirmish has been won, but great war-leaders make their name by being victorious in a series of battles. Visigoth’s name and reputation is growing, though, and with time many may ride at their side to ultimate victory, glory and fame.
7.0 / 10