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Album Reviews : Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath

By on March 25, 2018

At the moment I live in Japan. One of my favourite things to do here is to climb the beautiful, forest covered mountains. Every time I begin another journey though I do so with some degree of fear, as within the trees hides a dark power, natures most perfect killing machine: the Black Bear. These guys are actually pretty timid and can be kept at bay with bear bells or playing music from a radio. For the past two years, my number one bear scaring album has been Visigoth’s debut album: The Revenant King. Listening to an album with the word “Revenant” in the title while trying to keep the bears away is a little ominous I guess, but the songs on that album always enhance these adventures.

With the snow clearing and the mountains becoming climbable again soon, it is safe to say I was looking forward to this new album, “Conqueror’s Oath”, a lot. I was looking forward to more huge choruses, excellent riffs and an overall great sounding album to hike to. And let me tell you, I was definitely not disappointed.

During the first listen I was surprised at how short the album felt compared to the debut. I checked the run time and found out the new album is almost 20 minutes shorter. This actually made me happy, as I felt the first album was a little long. It took me a while to actually listen to the whole thing the whole way through as it comes in at just over an hour. This new album is 42 minutes long, which I think is the perfect length. This is due to the fact that there are songs that are much faster than the debut. The track “Outlive Them All”, is an example of this. It is really fast, reaching almost a Power Metal feel at times. I felt that this was a cool change from the debut, as I hadn’t heard them play at these speeds before.

I feel Visigoth are at their best when they are playing their mid-paced, anthemic songs though. “Traitor’s Gate” is a perfect example of this. The intro to the song, vocals and clean guitar only, is just so huge and leads into such a powerful song, you feel like trying to sing along even on the first listen through. And the final track, “The Conqueror’s Oath” could not be a better album finisher. The chorus is huge, with choir vocals. These tracks bring about feeling you might get listening to Manowar, Bathory or even Summoning. I cannot wait to be at the peak of a mountain listening to them.

I love how the guitar solos seem to weave into the songs so perfectly. When they appear they make the sections more powerful or enhance what is already going on. They are almost like an eruption like there was too much power in the song so the only thing that could be done to release the pressure was to shred it out. The solo in “Hammerforged” is a good example of this. It just doesn’t feel at all forced or unnecessary. I hate it when songs suffer so that solos can be included, but I never felt like this during the album. The drums sound very strong and suit the music perfectly. The kick is extremely meaty and the snare has a satisfying crack. The bass mainly follows the guitar with cool flourishes here and there, very tasteful.

The stand out performance is, of course, the vocals. The vocalist, Jake Rogers, has such an amazing voice. The riffs are good, the drumming is fantastic, but the vocals are definitely what makes this band stand out. At times the vocal patterns are just as catchy as the riffs. The vibrato sounds to perfectly executed like I just get the feeling this guy is a true pro. And then the multi-layered choir sections are just chest thumpingly amazing.

I think the bands choice in production is something that sets them apart from their peers. While others seek to emulate the older, more lo-fi production of the 70’s or 80’s (bands like Eternal Champion or Demon Bitch for example), Visigoth completely embraces a modern, clean production. I enjoy both styles very much, but I feel Visigoth made the right choice and I think this has definitely helped in their popularity as they can appeal to traditional heavy metal fans and people who only want to listen to newer stuff.

As I said before, my favourite moments within this album are the choir vocal choruses and the more mid-paced sections. In the future, I would love to hear them go full epic doom in a few songs, real Bathory “Twilight of the Gods” style. Having said that, I can say without a doubt this will be one of my albums of the year. I can’t wait to see what adventures I’ll be having with this album as my soundtrack!

Band: Visigoth
Album: Conqueror’s Oath
Year: 2018
Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Origin: USA