Visigoth trying to turn their fantasy-themed metal into reality on the road
Swords, sorcery, battles and epic journeys are at the helm of Salt Lake-based heavy metal band Visigoth’s music. The five-piece got its start seven years ago when lead singer/songwriter Jake Rogers and lead guitarist Leeland Campana decided during an especially snowy December that they were ready to turn their hobby into the real deal.
“It was a cold and windy night, and the storms of prophecy blew into the Salt Lake valley,” Rogers joked. “I asked Lee if he wanted to do this sort of thing in late December, and then in January we wrote three songs and recorded a cover. We recorded these garbage-awful demos on his computer in his dorm room and threw them up online for people to hear. We built the band around that.”
Visigoth bring their “heavy metal rock ’n’ roll” sounds to The Loading Dock on Friday night. Audience members can expect an energy fueled by powerful guitar riffs, heavy-hitting ballads and a camaraderie that welcomes headbanging to music created by fans of the fantasy and gaming world.
Rogers describes Visigoth’s music as taking “a little rock and a little epic and throw it in the blender.”
Drawing their name from the Germanic tribe that conquered Rome in A.D. 410, Visigoth evolved through the addition of Jamison Palmer (guitar), Matt Brotherton (bass guitar) and Mikey T. (drums) as permanent fixtures. With lyrics rooted in Rogers’ love for fantasy fiction and a deep passion for the history of heavy metal music, it was not long before Visigoth became a reputable group within the genre. The group signed on with Metal Blade Records and has released one full-length album on the label, with their sophomore effort due out in spring.
Visigoth have enjoyed extensive touring abroad in Europe and Spain, and their rabid fan base propelled them into the nerd scene through comedian Brian Posehn’s use of their song “Dungeon Master” on his Dungeons & Dragons-themed podcast, “Nerd Poker.”
“We literally only have one song that’s partially inspired [by D&D],” Rogers said. “There’s a specific reason for that: [The song] was written about one of my very best friends. He and I grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons together. He’s been the dungeon master of our gaming group for years now. … It’s such a strong, safe, imaginative thing to do when you’re growing up. … I felt like he needed that tribute.”
Visigoth have just one song dedicated to the theme of D&D, but Rogers’ lyrics lend themselves to the realm of sorcery and swords found in fantasy literature. He sees this as a perfect fit for metal music.
“There are a lot of ways to use fantasy themes to communicate emotional or philosophical ideas,” he said. “This kind of heavy metal is served better by an appeal to the epic dissociation with the mundane because it’s heroic-sounding music. You have big power chord riffs, the pounding drums. I like to use fantasy even if the subtext is something I am feeling emotionally, or an idea I want to communicate philosophically, the aesthetic needs to have that for it to work.”
Playing the hero is the central theme in Visigoth’s forthcoming album. Rogers, whose least favorite aspect of making music is writing the lyrics, described the album as an empowering compilation of tracks.
—photo courtesy of Peter Beste
“A lot of the songs are about finding the strength within yourself to overcome obstacles in your life,” he said. “Uniting with your friends who really do care and will be there for you to find that strength to overcome. I think it’s a great topic for the kind of metal we play — traditional heavy metal.”
As Visigoth look to the future, Rogers said they plan to continue writing heroic music that offers an escape from the mundane, and work hard to live the dream of touring and making music full time.
“Road life is the best life,” he said. “It’s where we really feel happy and at home. We are fighting against our day-job identities to go do this thing. That’s always the goal: Release a record and tour on it. As long as we can keep doing that, we are happy.”