The Revenant King

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The undisputed kings of the mythical Salt Lake City power metal scene, Visigoth hold true to the genre's myriad tropes (fist-pumping riffs and soaring choruses populated with references to usurped kings, necromancers, and non-specific prophecies), but are so effective at delivering the chainmail that the Utah outfit's Metal Blade debut may as well have arrived via a studded leather-adorned time capsule from 1982. Named for a nomadic Germanic division of Goths from the third century (the ones who more or less took down Rome), the quintet may feel a bit out of time, but the deliciously old-school Revenant King never feels anything other than immediate, due in large part to the group's flawless execution and keen ear for melody. This isn't the empty, impossibly compressed, and relentlessly chromed Dragonforce version of power metal. Visigoth's interpretation is pure Piece of Mind-era Iron Maiden with a little bit Amon Amarth (tight, always economical guitar work) tossed in for good measure -- the foundation of the beefy (woolly?) "Mammoth Riders" is pure "Flight of Icarus" -- resulting in something that's more akin to early Manowar or Judas Priest than it is the overwrought symphonic posturing of a band like Rhapsody of Fire or Nightwish. It also helps that Visigoth possess a lead singer with a powerhouse voice that's as emotionally compelling as it is capable of hitting all of the right frequencies, and Jake Rogers leads the charge throughout the nine-track set like a true metal warrior, with highlights arriving via the dense and stoic title track, the aptly named "Vengeance," and a spot-on cover of Wichita, Kansas cult metallers Manilla Road's "Necropolis." Is it a tad derivative? Yep, but it's also cocksure, lovingly crafted, and delivered without a trace of irony, which in the end is the formula from which all true metal should be sired.

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