Visigoth 'Final Spell' review
Just look at that cover, if that doesn't instill you with confidence from the outset then you're a lost fucking cause. Visigoth are a relatively new band hailing from the heavy metal wasteland of Utah, and coming at a period when it appears the latest traditional metal revival trend is slowly winding down, are an absolute breath of fresh air to these ears. Fair enough, as far as finding originality goes, especially in the traditional metal scene these days is about as fruitful as pissing up a rope but when it's performed as well as this, who the fuck needs originality? 'Final Spell' is the band's second release after their decent enough demo 'Vengeance' from 2010, and where it was set firmly in barefaced doom laden Omen territory, 'Final Spell' has all the characteristics and glint of a band who have finally 'found' their sound, where much bigger and better things inevitably await.
So they have abandoned the epic, pounding US style for more traditional style of flat out heavy metal with a strong aroma of Euro power metal, much like countrymen Twisted Tower Dire, in fact so much so 'Final Spell' is what their last album could have sounded like without the scourge of Johnny Aune. At times the similarities are uncanny and especially on “Call of the Road” which bears a striking semblance to 'Make it Dark', sound a bit more than coincidental, still I guess there are worse bands you could sound like. Jake's vocals are what really bring these tracks to life though, and imagine my surprise when I discovered this was the same voice behind the Agalloch worship act Gallowbraid. The tenacity and conviction with which he tears through the vocal melodies present on 'Final Spell' is astounding.
“Creature of Desire”, an anthem to metal's favorite two wheeled warrior machine has all the echoes of early Hammerfall and Priest with its sublime vocal harmonies, rolling riffs and spiraling guitar leads making the only place you want to be is hitting the highway with wind in your hair and metal coursing through your veins. The title track raises the bar even higher with it's criss crossing Maiden-esque shred and high tempo drumming, and when Jake nails that final scream you can't help but feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, even Halford himself would be proud. I cannot stress enough how strong the vocals are here, the polished production really does them justice. I'd liken them to Rain Irving from While Heaven Wept if I had to chose anyone. “Seven Golden Ships” has a imposing crunch to the riffing in it, the guitars noticeably heavier but no less effective [And how cool is to have that old Running Wild vibe in a song with such fitting name? - ED] Closer “Call of the Road” is more of a straight forward infectious 'rocker' for want of a better word, lively rhythms, blazing guitar leads and stratosphere piercing vocals, which as previously stated sound suspiciously like a couple of tracks from Twisted Tower Dire's last effort.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, no matter what genre of metal you tend to favour, there is nothing greater than pure unadulterated adrenaline pumping heavy metal performed the way the masters intended it, and this is exactly the way they envisioned it. Jake delivers his vocal lines like a man possessed and the performances on the guitars are nothing short of spectacular. Simply put if leather clad, fist-clenching and testosterone fueled metal borne from the smell of burnt tarmac and rubber is your thing then go buy this, if it isn't then go fucking buy it anyway and be converted. Bring on a full length, I'm getting withdrawal symptoms already, this shit is like musical crack.