"Conqueror's Oath"

(Metal Blade)

01. Steel and Silver
02. Warrior Queen
03. Outlive Them All
04. Hammerforged
05. Traitor's Gate
06. Salt City
07. Blades in the Night
08. The Conqueror's Oath

RATING: 7/10

Someone apparently needs to claim MANOWAR's torch following that band's "Final Battle" farewell pillage. IRON FIRE is one contender, PRIMAL FEAR and ANGEL DUST are others. 3 INCHES OF BLOOD had its chance. HAMMERFALL is the most logical successor to the leftover vacancy in sword and sorcery-themed power metal, but don't tell VISIGOTH that.

History pinpoints the momentary reign of the Germanic Goths to be from the fifth to eighth centuries after sacking Rome between years 376 and 378. Naturally, Goth means an entirely different thing in the 21st century, which would no doubt stir the Visigoths to rampage once again if lineage in mass quantity provided the opportunity. As for Salt Lake City's VISIGOTH, its prospectus is laid out through the annals of MANOWAR's "Hail to England" and "Battle Hymns". The group's music is daydream warfare slung from a viewpoint overtop a bloodthirsty cruciform.

"Steel and Silver", the opening track's title, what more needs be said if you're acclimated with this style of heavy metal? Captain Obvious would compare it to MANOWAR since VISIGOTH all but replicates its elders verbatim. That being said, there's a confidence in this hearty imitation that warrants a stomp and a hoist of Renfest-bought flasks in tandem to the song's strident march—though please have some respect for yourself and avoid those stupid "dilly dilly" Bud Light chants at all costs. You'll feel even less cool once you hear it spread throughout the 1700s folk song "Lavender's Blue".

"Warrior Queen" is an ambitious mini-epic, assumedly in honor of Red Sonja, whose popularity has never been greater amongst nerds, crank yankers and cosplayers alike. "Warrior Queen" is flat in spots, but the flailing swiftness of "Outlive Them All" afterwards more than compensates. The latter cut—no doubt inspired by "Highlander" with its "there can be only one" nattering—is a rumbling berserker demanding you to kneel and bow your heads, suckers: you know what comes next.

It takes a few ugly, bass-puked sputters for "Hammerforged" to catch fire, but once VISIGOTH's course is laid out on this number, it rouses all headbangers to assume the position and thump away. "Traitor's Gate" likewise gains steam after a melodramatic opening, fortified by ironclad ramparts and pounding away on the offensive. Extra point, Mikey Tee's reverberating bass kick is as true as any of his peers here.

"Salt City" being a nod to the band's home turf, this one refreshingly changes the scheme with a jiving two-step as VISIGOTH next rips into the speedy "Blades in the Night". The six-plus minute title track is an undercooked finale at times, overblown in other spots; its main gratification is gained by the elegant acoustic sweeps throughout the verses.

All told, VISIGOTH has the base talent to succeed in its mission to honor tried and true metal, but whether the band's audience sustains it and allows it to grow is going to be the telltale trick.


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