Visigoth - The Revenant King
Metal Blade
Traditional Heavy Metal
9 songs (60'30")
Release year: 2015
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

In my (real) professional life I oversee a group of people where we dabble in various chemical formulas for various applications. I won’t get technical on these pages, but it is often that the most elegant working solution is the one that is simple and straightforward. Once you arrive at it too, you feel it in your gut that Eureka just visited, and from here on out it will be mighty tough to get dislodged from the right path.

The minute the title track started playing from Visigoth debut full-length album The Revenant King I knew it instinctively that this direct traditional heavy metal is going to check off all the right boxes. From this standpoint, and given the chemical formula analogy I started with, it is probably more proper talking about Visigoth in terms of basic ingredients to this mixture, rather than do a track-by-track album characterization.

Mid-tempo, most of the time anyway, meaty dual guitars lay the foundation here and come up at times with absolutely infectious riffs (title track). If you don’t air guitar to the blistering solos (title track, Blood Sacrifice, To the Arcane Mists of Prophecy) you are either deaf or cold-blooded. Rhythm section is confident and competent, helping along with gallops on Dungeon Master, Blood Sacrifice, and Vengeance, but can turn the heat up a bit on Manilla Road cover of Necropolis. Atmospheric Iron Maiden-like spots in Dungeon Master, Vengeance and To the Arcane Mists of Prophecy, as well as the acoustic intro of Blood Sacrifice, provide for the necessary change of pace and diversions along the way. Yet, without the voice of Jake Rogers this recipe would sorely lack. When I reviewed an EP Ashen Eidolon from then obscure Salt Lake City outfit Gallowbraid I could not possibly expect that the same person doing all of the hissing and distortion on Ashen Eidolon can be such an accomplished metal vocalist. Hitting all melodic points, just begging us to sing along in the choruses of title track and Blood Sacrifice, Jake is also handsomely using his vocals in a point-counterpoint fashion with background gang singing. Some may have wanted more aggression from Jake, but I would say that the right balance was struck and these Manowarish lyrics (Dungeon Master, Iron Brotherhood) are delivered with just the proper mix of conviction and coolness, without silly overexaggeration which would have ruined the impression.

Some may complain that not everything on The Revenant King is immediately catchy as the album lacks sugary melodies and European power metal polish. Some may point out to song lengths, thinking that Visigoth overreached in that department. I feel though that the songwriting prowess served the band well, and their version of US rough’n’tumble traditional metal delivered songs on point, with just enough variety to keep the interest throughout. The closer To the Arcane Mists of Prophecy is as epic and vast as you will find, Creature of Desire is almost playful, until it shifts into a more serious mood midway. And Mammoth Rider and Iron Brotherhood provide the appropriate dragging heaviness feeling, especially Mammoth Rider, its title entirely fitting. For every Freewheel Burning there has to be its Rock Hard Ride Free and does exactly that, until 3 minutes in the tempo changes and Visigoth mammoth charges into battle until it becomes tired and heaving in the end.

While coming up with the year-end awards list, I made myself another promise not to overquote albums (an annual resolution). Our system for designating Album of the Month restricting it to 90 points and higher, I feel that this grade is just the right one for The Revenant King, so it rightfully gets such designation. The fans of Twisted Tower Dire (RIP Tony Taylor), Christian Mistress, Ironsword, Pharaoh, and maybe even Slough Feg on some levels have themselves another band they must check out.

Killing Songs :
Could pick any in this category, but I will stick with and Mammoth Rider as representing both ends of the spectrum
Alex quoted 90 / 100
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