Do you remember heavy metal? I mean, real, proper heavy metal, with pounding drums, wailing guitars and fantastical tales of derring do, battles fought and won, heroes forged and evil vanquished? Yes, THAT kind of heavy metal- the heavy metal of my now all too distant youth. Well, blow me down with a 4/4 beat, Visigoth also remember heavy metal and here they are practising it as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
“The Revenant King,” the latest opus from this Salt Lake City outfit is not going to win any prizes with any hipsters or the metal fashion police but for doing exactly what it says on the tin, “The Revenant King” is rather splendid, if you ask me. I know you weren’t but you know what I mean.
Part of the charm of heavy metal is that it is knowingly atavistic and there are plenty of cap-doffin moments on “The Revenant King”. ‘Mammoth Rider’ could easily have been a cut on a mid-period Dio album with its- frankly- absurd narrative set to a chuggin’ riff, primed for fist-pumping and headbanging aplenty. The pounding of ‘Blood Sacrifice’ is classic NWOBHM territory- in tone, content and exposition; admittedly, no cliche is left unturned and it’s quite ridiculous from its ballad type opening, through the riffage and mid-song guitar solos and its closing bars. As you might have gathered, I think it’s terrific.
By the time that you get to ‘Necropolis’ and the galloping ‘Vengeance’, the band have ensnared you and you’ll find yourself sewing a Visigoth patch on the back of your denim jacket and ringing around the local heavy metal merchandisers to enquire whether they’ve got any bullet belts or studded wrist bands for sale. I’ll forgive the nonsensical lingusitics of ‘From the Arcane Mists of Prophecy’. OF COURSE it doesn’t make any sense, but, frankly, if you’re worrying about syntax and grammar rather than revelling in the grandiloquent warbling and frenetic musicianship then you, dear reader, are in the wrong game.
In recent years, a number of bands have refashioned the NWOBHM aesthetic in commendable ways; we can safely add Visgoth to that roll call. Perhaps most closely resembling the Viking titans Amon Amarth, Visigoth have taken the classic heavy metal framework and imbued it with a freshness and vibrancy, revelling in the glorious majesty of epic songwriting and enormous riffing. Visigoth clearly love heavy metal; we could do a lot worse than send a little love of our own back their way.