(By Kira Schlechter, Guest Contributor/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
The Salt Lake City quintet follows their 2015 debut “The Revenant King” with a set of uncompromising just-as-it-used-to-be purist metal. Singer Jake Rogers, guitarists Leeland Campana and Jamison Palmer, bassist Matt Brotheron, and drummer Mikey T. eschew guttural vocals, detuning, and blast beats in favor of European-style melodic power to fill your heart with glee and involuntarily push your fists in the air.
Rogers is definitely in the old-school vocalist mold. He boasts no operatic, stratospheric flourishes, mind you, but delivers just straight-ahead, beautiful singing with plenty of vibrato and emotion.
Track one sets the stage. “Steel And Silver” is pure sing-along Old-World majesty, with gorgeous vocal harmonies and crisp, clean – yes, metallic – guitars.
The main character in the punchy “Warrior Queen” is no scantily-clad “Conan” type maiden, but Lagertha from “Vikings,” confidently wielding her sword, ready to lop heads, and definitely in charge. Stellar guitar harmonies and a tragically stark, barren bridge (complete with drifting flute) mark this standout.
“Outlive Them All” is the next coming of Maiden, so pummeling fast, but light on its feet, rich with harmony, and did we mention these guys can write choruses?
“Hammerforged” is a true battle hymn for warrior and desk jockey alike, preaching self-reliance and unity. “Traitor’s Gate” begins with a stately acoustic passage and goes through several tricky time changes as it motors along, powered by double-kick drumming and a message of holy vengeance.
The ode to the band’s hometown, “Salt City,” borders on funky, booking along with a wicked swing and proclaiming them the kings of their turf. It’s a nice change of pace and shows their range and potential.
“Blades In The Night” is a ballad to the silent assassin, the deliverer of judgment to the evil under cover of darkness… yeah, it makes you get all poetic like that.
The closing title track is along the lines of Hammerfall’s “Heeding The Call,” serving to bring us metal masses together and giving us strength and purpose… there I go again.
You can’t help it with Visigoth’s record – it’s the best reminder that there are bands out there still who love the classic sounds and riffs and themes, and care enough to make them relevant anew. Bully for them!
Kira spent 11 years at the Associated Press in Philadelphia, and another 11 at the Harrisburg Patriot-News covering music, specifically and frequently heavy metal. She’s been writing about and listening to metal since she was 15. Currently she also freelances for the Reading Eagle newspaper; in the past, she has freelanced for RIP, The World Of Hibernia, and Mademoiselle.