"Conqueror’s Oath"

By Colonel Angus

I have been seeing a lot of news lately about heavy metal is slowing dying as many of the older “guard” are retiring or are in the sunset of their careers.  Sometimes I have to sit back and really think about that statement and just as I’m about to somewhat agree, I’m given an album like "Conqueror’s Oath" to dispel any notion that metal is going away.  Visigoth’s latest release has all the hallmarks of a great traditional metal record; the soaring vocals, the chugging guitars, and the tight rhythms.  This is their second effort and I have to admit I am a poser for not hearing their 2015 debut "The Revenant King".  But like many a great disk, "Conqueror’s Oath" not only grabs you right off the bat, but it makes you want to research the band for additional material.  The band, while being kind of “faceless”, works as a well oiled machine.  The vocals from Jake Rogers don’t have the same charisma as say a Bruce Dickinson but he sings with such conviction that you really feel the lyrics.  Speaking of lyrics, there is a lot of Dio-esque imagery which may sound a bit cheesy in 2018 but it is done so well that you forget what year it is and you’re immediately transported back in time.  Leeland Campana and Jamison Palmer really pull out some catchy riffs throughout the record with the lead work being especially good.  Mikey T and Matt Brotherton round out this metal outfit by providing a foundation of NWOBHM styled rhythm section.

The album starts off with the six minute epic sounding “Steel and Silver” which has all the hallmarks of NWOBHM and Manowar rolled into one.  Things stay pretty much the same for “Warrior Queen” but “Outlive Them All” pulls heavily from Iron Maiden’s early years.  In “Hammerforged”, we get similar material as the first two track and it isn’t the fifth tune that we are presented with, in my opinion, the centerpiece of the record.  “Traitor’s Gate” starts off slow but builds into an epic that shows off some great lead guitar work along the way.  It is hard to make these types of songs catchy but somehow I found myself humming it throughout the day.  As good as that track is, they momentum drops with “Salt City” which reminds me a lot of “Prodigal Son” off of Iron Maiden’s Killers.  While the Maiden tune is good, this one fails to match the rest of the record.  “Blades In the Night” and the title track finish off the disk in fine form.  All this makes me wonder how “Salt City” made the cut for this release.  It really is the odd man out and seems out of place when compared the other material on offer here.  While it is not a bad tune, it does break the flow of an otherwise solid release.  Well, one song will not make or break a record for me so all in all, this is a great record that is worth getting.  If you like the NWOBHM with a good dose of Manowar and Cirith Ungol thrown in the mix, then get "Conqueror’s Oath".  And if anyone tells you metal is dying, let them know that Visigoth is flying the metal flag and doing the genre proud.