HEAVY METAL's been around a long time. Long enough that it was inevitable that some young bucks would discover their—gulp—father's Judas Priest records.
Jake Rogers was one of those kids, picking through his dad's albums based on their cover art. CCR and ELO led to Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath, which ultimately led to his band Visigoth proudly cranking out heavy metal thunder that nods to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and European power metal without a hint of irony.
"I take metal very seriously... to the point where people think it's funny," says Rogers by phone, the day before the Salt Lake City five-piece—which also includes drummer Mikey T., bassist Matt Brotherton, and guitarists Leeland Campana and Jamison Palmer—kicks off a two-week tour of the West Coast.
Talking metal with Rogers is fun, and he really does take metal seriously. But he can also take the piss out of the genre—in particular, the recent popularity of trad metal and the fashionable battle-vests and bullet-belts that come with it. But when it comes to his band, it's all for the true love of the genre. "Visigoth is just a worshipping of our idols," Rogers says. "We come more from a diehard mentality. I couldn't be buggered to worry about what others think."
Visigoth's full-length Metal Blade debut The Revenant King delivers plenty of riffs, licks, and double-kick, and Rogers' operatic howl bolsters the record's big, fist-pumping, devil-horned choruses. It's slightly more polished than their 2010 demo, Vengeance, but the concept is the same: epic metal with lots of swordplay and dragons.
Songs like "Dungeon Master" and a cover of Manilla Road's "Necropolis" only further prove Visigoth's dedication to the faith. And the anthem "Iron Brotherhood" literally spells it out: "Leather black in the night/Hammers, chains, and spikes/No fear or weakness." There's no reason to believe the sentiment is any less pure than when Metallica sang about banging your head against the stage in "Whiplash." But don't expect Visigoth to release their Black Album... well, ever.
"We'll never do anything unexpected," Rogers says with a laugh. "We're the most predictable band ever. It's like Motörhead—not that I'm comparing us to Motörhead—but you like the fact that you know what you're going to get with each record."