VISIGOTH! The mortal enemy of Invisijock? Of course not. Long before the goths became the darkly clad fugitives banished to the murkiest recesses of our high school commons, they provided a suffix for the Germanic brutes that sacked the goddamned Roman empire. Clearly a most suitable handle for most any conquering heavy metal band, and conquer these particular salty-laked city dogs surely do.
The Revenant King is heavy metal tailor-made for the patched-up troopers who’d drive 500 miles at the drop of the hat to catch Ironsword opening a show for Manilla Road. An ideal match for those who routinely chomp down on heavy pummelers such as Grand Magus, DoomSword, and Argus where the focus is placed mostly on mid-paced gallopers glutted with thrust and vigor.
Potent bruisers such as “Mammoth Rider” and “Iron Brotherhood” (the album’s stirring ode to gauntleted fellowship) will gratify those comforted by a slower, doomier slant, while greazy burners like “Creature of Desire” and “Blood Sacrifice” are sure to bring it home for the blazers in the house. The album’s brilliant opening title track and its follow-up “Dungeon Master” are the true show stoppers, though, thanks to the way both cuts go heavy on the melodic fire, leaden rumbling and wickedly catchy choruses.
The Revenant King also offers up an exceptional rendition of Manilla Road’s classic “Necropolis.” Simply mentioning that particular tune will likely wedge its infectious refrain in the truest of true brains for a week, so it’s a fitting choice for a record stacked deep with an hour’s worth of classic metal anthems.
In truth, it’s that “hour’s worth of classic metal anthems” point that stands as the sole blemish of this record. Historically, albums of this style have averaged around 35-40 minutes, and that’s really about perfect. I assume Visigoth simply wanted to jump from the chute flexing as many of their strengths as possible, and really, groaning about 60 minutes of heel-to-the-throat heavy metal seems fairly silly.
2015 has already managed to flex one hell of a traditional metal strut with releases from Crypt Sermon and Night Demon, and now we can add Visigoth to the list. In a realm where there ain’t exactly a shortage of bands interested in “keeping it old-school,” Visigoth just landed one hell of a natural 20. The Revenant King is essential listening.