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  STEVE GÖLDBY'S METAL CHRONICLES

VISIGOTH
'The Revenant King'
(Metal Blade Records)
Release Date: 27th January 2015


steve goldby



visigoth

The word Visigoth carries many different connotations and your interpretation of it solely depends upon your own personal experiences.

I shall have to take you far back into the murky midsts of time to tell you mine, all the way back to 1987 in fact, and the day my sister announced that she was going to form a band.

"Heavy Metal?", I enquired... "Yes"... so far, so good. "And what will the name of this band be..?"

And that's where it all started to go wrong. "Visigoth!!" I spluttered through my racous laughter as I fell off my chair and she stared at me, dripping with the coffee that had landed on her after I spat it out in disbelief...

"That's a terrible, dreadful name," I de-enthused. "It's just so, so... 1980..." Oh, how wrong I was...

Article continues below...





But needless to say, the English version of Visigoth never got past the avalanche of liquidised Brazilian beans that were spewed forth that day but fast forward 28 years and guess what - someone else has taken the idea and when my copy of 'The Revenant King' landed in my inbox, my monitor also ended up covered in coffee as I remembered where I had originally heard the name.

It may have been totally overlooked but for that and expectations were low as I listened to the first bars with trepidation. But guess what - behold, this is one seriously, seriously good album and if it doesn't make you raise your fists in triumph and have you reaching for the air guitar, you could well be dead from the neck up.

visigoth

Before I tell you all about the gems within 'The Revenant King', a little bit of history.

Just what is a Visigoth and where can I get one?

Well the Visigoths were branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples and were referred to collectively as the Goths. That doesn't mean they wore black make-up and drank cheap cider in graveyards, no, these guys were pretty fearsome actually as they kept kicking the Roman Army's butt.

They first invaded the Roman Empire in 376AD and defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Then they invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. That was a worst defeat for the Romans than when Italy were beaten by Costa Rica in last year's World Cup.

After the Visigoths sacked Rome they began settling down. Well they were probably a bit tired after all that sacking and battling and they first made homes in southern Gaul and then in Spain and Portugal, where they founded the Kingdom of the Visigoths which remained in existance for several centuries.

visigoth
The Visigoths sack Rome in 410AD. Totti must have been suspended.

So exactly 1600 years to the day the Visis sacked Rome and according to the scrolls that were delivered to the MetalTalk offices by a Barbarian messenger on horseback, in the year 2010AD, "the Gods called for Metal traditional and true and Visigoth answered.

"Jake Rogers allied his bardic magic with Lee Campana's six-string sorcery to forge a tribute to the old sound of Heavy Metal. Thus the demo 'Vengeance' was born."

OK - there was no Barbarian messenger on horseback really and there were no scrolls either. It was a press release that was emailed by Andy Turner from the record company and it went on to say: "Its ['Vengeance'] completion sent tremors throughout the salted wastes of the Salt Lake City underground, attracting the attention of powerful musical forces. Jamison Palmer slung his mighty axe over one shoulder and trudged his way through the ice and snow of this inhospitable realm, lending his soul-rending riffcraft to the legion.

"He was soon joined by the mystical bass groove thaumaturgies of Matt Brotherton and the unrelenting storm-throned siege of Mikey Treseder's furious drumming. Together, they became known as Visigoth.

"As a constellation they travelled throughout the Salt Lake Valley, determined to liberate their allies from the enemies of true Metal. All who heard their mighty riffs, scorching leads, and infectious choruses joined the Iron Brotherhood, becoming acolytes of all things heavy. After many hard-fought battles, the band came together to record the 'Final Spell' EP in 2012, sealing the pact between them with rites ancient and sorcerous."


***This is not the version of 'Iron Brotherhood that is on 'The Revenant King' album. This is from the 2010 'Vengeance' demo - the album version is updated and improved but this is still more than well worth a listen...***

I wouldn't normally reproduce such a lengthy portion of a press release but I like this one so much it would have been a shame not to but I must raise a couple of points gentlemen.

First of all, is Salt Lake City really an icy, snowy, inhospitable wasteland? Try growing up in the north-east of England, Teesside to be precise, and then you'll know what an icy, snowy, inhospitable wasteland really is.

Secondly, I love the prose so much but can't help the feeling that I have heard something very similar before. Were you visited by a big black shape that stood before you recently; a figure in black that pointed at you and made you want to turn round quick and start to run?

If you have no clue as to what I am talking about, the answer is in the last review that I wrote, which you can read here.

And thirdly, just what is this thing you speak of - "thaumaturgies"?

A quick check on the Google Machine Of Doom tells me that someone called Isaac Bonewits defined Thaumaturgy as "The use of magic for nonreligious purposes; the art and science of 'wonder working'; using magic to actually change things in the physical world."

I think I may seriously consider changing my name by deed poll to Bonewits now. With an umlaut over the "o" of course...

But it doesn't matter that the Visis are utilising every Metal cliche ever invented (and some new ones of their own as well) - Heavy Metal is a precious gift presented to us by the Gods Of Valhalla and its manuscripts belong to the mighty warriors who carry the battle into this age and beyond and the Visis wave a mighty banner, drenched in the blood of their foes and their axes are honed from the finest steel and they will crush the infidels who deny Heavy Metal's birthright to be played stupidly loud whilst wearing lurid spandex pants. Or something roughly along those lines...



What the Visis have done here is produce an offering that stands worthily side by side with their peers. It's a thoroughly significant album containing nine slabs of steel that will have you punching the air in delight and recounting tales of glorious battles from the past that may or may not have happened.

From the very first bars of the opener and title track, you are assaulted by a tidal wave of furious and delicious riffery and harmony encased in molten iron that conjure up images of barechested warriors battle-axeing their way to victory.

This is Metal straight from the modern era but without the monotonuos sound of click-tracked drums and air brushed vocals you too often are presented with these days. This stuff is very much for real.

'Dungeon Master' and 'Mammoth Rider' are both as powerful as they are memorable. The opening vocal and subsequent melody to the former are simply tremendous, making this one of my very favourite tracks of the whole album while the latter could be one of those songs that the US Army play at full blast through concert sized PA systems to smoke out terrorist cells. Allegedly. That chorus is simply killer.

'Blood Sacrifice' starts off on a gentler note but kicks into another memorable hook mid-way through and all this is before we get to another of the album's gems, 'Iron Brotherhood', an anthem that may just see lighters waving and horns flying at concert halls somewhere near you soon. Here's hoping...

'Iron Brotherhood' is the kind of track that when you shout it to yourself while walking down the street, small dogs and old ladies cower in fear as you pass. Just listen to that phenomenal bass refrain in the middle of the song.

I defy you to not shout the chorus to 'Necropolis' out extremely loud and next track 'Vengeance', also gleaned from the very first EP, contains a gallop that you better move out of the way of if you see it coming towards you and a refrain that is straight from the Manowar book of Carrying On The Battle After You're Knackered From Too Much Fighting. Wonderful stuff.

'Creature Of Desire' is a song about wanting to get laid that consists of a brilliant tune, another wonderful melody with seriously hooky chorus and the cleverest set of lyrics on a song about wanting to get laid that I may ever have heard.

Clocking in at a mammoth nine minutes and 44 seconds is album closer, the epic 'From The Arcane Mists Of Prophecy, which is definitely not a song about wanting to get laid. It's straight from the ancient times of sorcery, dungeons and dragons and contains enough hooks and time changes to keep you in listening until the Valkyries come home.

visigoth

"We've traveled long, we've traveled far
With shining steel and morningstar
We call upon the Gods of old
In ancient texts it was foretold."

All Heavy Metal fans would be unwise to ignore this album. Just buy it and save yourself from a violent and bloody fate brought about by the hammer of Thor or a visit in the night from a big black shape.

'The Revenant King' was engineered, mixed, and produced by Andy Patterson at Boar's Next Studio in Salt Lake City. Alan Douches at West Westside handled mastering while Jake Rogers's powerful vocals lead the charge and when combined with the twin guitar attack of Leeland Campana, Jamieson Palmer, and the rhythm section of bassist Matt Brotherton and drummer Mikey Tee, form an immensely potent traditional Heavy Metal attack.

Tracklisting:
The Revenant King
Dungeon Master
Mammoth Rider
Blood Sacrifice
Iron Brotherhood
Necropolis
Vengeance
Creature of Desire
From the Arcane Mists of Prophecy

Online:
https://www.facebook.com/visigothofficial

Visigoth are:
Jake Rogers - vocals
Jamison Palmer - guitar
Leeland Campana - guitar
Matt Brotherton - bass
Mikey Tee - drums


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20.1.15

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