I’ll clear one thing up straight away, Visigoth aren’t Goth in any way. I was once misled in a similar way by Belgian Metallers Ostrogoth, who also aren’t Goth-like…but they do have a little in common with Visigoth ironically. Not that I wanted either of them to be Gothic in any way at all, and maybe it didn’t cross anyone else’s mind, it’s just their name…tell you what – I’ll start again;
Visigoth are Heavy Metal. True, unpretentious, powerful and proud. Lop off one of their legs and it would have the word “Metal” written right through it (no need to sever the other one just to check, you can be sure it would read “Heavy”). They take a cue from European and UK acts from the early to mid eighties, with great riffs, delicious twin guitar segments, strong vocals, anthemic choruses and glittering guitar solos. So obviously there’s a nice healthy helping of Iron Maiden within their music, but they are happy to throw in what feels right – for instance, the first track, the excellent ‘Steel and Silver’, has a good dose of Running Wild in it’s veins, just as other tracks have hints of say Pathos, Grand Magus or Kiuas maybe.
But Visigoth aren’t just Heavy Metal, they are also American, with lyrics that embrace Battle Metal and in turn evoke thoughts of Manilla Road, Omen or even Manowar, though the latter mainly shines through on the slower, epic, pounding title track. Most of the 8 engaging, dynamic Metal monsters on offer here are pacey and energetic, driven forward by the powerful bass and drums (plenty of fabulous double-kick scattered throughout!), the rhythm guitar follows their stance and the lead-work stands proud as the musical embellishment. The vocals suit the whole thing perfectly, never soaring off into German Power Metal territory, just perfectly delivered in a varied, gutsy mid-range – time-honoured and just right!
And that’s probably the phrase right there – “Time Honoured”. No-one is going to hear Visigoth and claim total originality, it’s not what they are setting out to do, but what is closer to original about the band is how utterly professionally and comprehensively they conquer (pun intended) each track they deliver. It’s rare to hear a band set out to deliver a style of Metal and nail it so well. It’s like Visigoth are the ultimate sound for the genre they inhabit, such is their commitment and talent. This album will totally enthrall any recently converted Metal fan just as much it will thrill older aficionados. There is little more you could want from classic Heavy Metal that Visigoth don’t have and I’m really pleased to see a label with the superb vintage Heavy Metal pedigree of Metal Blade getting right behind them.
(9/10 Andy Barker)