Angel Witch
Angel Witch


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
August 29th, 2006 | 74 replies | 23,367 views


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist


In the late 70's a new style of rock music emerged from the UK. Dubbed NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), metal's first major movement spawned many well known acts such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard (though the band themselves does not personally consider this of themselves), Diamond Head, and Girlschool, as well as being joined by the mighty Judas Priest. However, the NWOBHM also had hundreds of lesser known bands that never made it big. In that regard we have the likes of Samson, Legend, Praying Mantis, Blitzkrieg, and of course Angel Witch. In its original state, the band released their debut album, simply titled Angel Witch. Unfortunately, internal strife grew in the band, and in less than two years, the band was no more. Angel Witch would resurface and die several times over the next few years, seemingly being put to rest for good in 1989. But once again, founding member Kevin Heybourne restarted the band in 2000, only to have it breakup and reform by 2003. I wish Heybourne would find on a stable line-up, seriously, what the hell.

Anyways, again, the band released their debut album, Angel Witch in 1980. To this very day the album is regarded by many as a NWOBHM classic along side the likes of Iron Maiden's s/t album, One Through the Night, and Wheels of Steel. The album's opener, which happens to be the title track, is a very good example of why the album is held in such high esteem. Each member displays a great deal of energy constantly throughout the release, and not once should they put fans of the genre to sleep. One notable aspect of the band's music is their infectious choruses. No matter how simplistic and cheesy the lyrics are, who can deny loving memorable lines such as: "You're an angel witch! / You're an angel witch!" or "It's falling it's falling / The final bell is tolling"? Really fun to listen to, as guitarist/vocalist Kevin Heybourne has a very fitting voice.

Musically, Angel Witch is a fantastic band, with many fist pumping riffs, excellent drumming, and driving, audible bass lines. Superb leads, excellent rhythm guitar can be found all over the album. The very riffy Angel of Death has the band performing both of those characteristics at their best, as does the album's third track, White Witch. As mentioned before, the bass lines of bassist Kevin Riddles are very audible. In fact, Angel Witch's bassist has his bass loud enough where you can hear it just as clearly as the guitar. As Riddles is an ace bassist, this can only be considered a good thing. Combined with the pounding drumming of Dave Hogg, Angel Witch was blessed with a rhythm section that was the envy of many of their NWOBHM contemporaries. Too bad they quit the band not too long after…

So I've mentioned several positives about this fine album, so are there any negatives? Unfortunately, the album is not perfect. So yes, the album could have been better in a few aspects. One flaw I found in the album is the production of the guitars. At times there is a killer metallic sound leading the fray which sounds great. On other occasions, Heybourne seems too lose this edge, and his guitar sounds fairly dull. Now this is likely just because Angel Witch is an old record, but I can't say I enjoy this inconsistency very much. Another flaw I find in the album is that the middle section feels weaker than both the beginning and ending of the album. The songs Confused and Gorgon are lacking when compared to songs like the ballad Free Man or the opener Angel Witch.

Much like the American Thrash movement in the late 80's, there was a large influx of young bands during the NWOBHM in the late 70's and early to mid 80's. While several were met with some sort of successes, others, like Angel Witch, never really achieved what they deserved. Rightfully so, Angel Witch's self-titled debut is regarded a classic in NWOBHM circles, a gem if you will. If you are lucky enough to somehow come across this, by all means pick it up, as the band delivers.

Recommended Tracks:
Angel of Death
Free Man
Angel Witch
White Witch



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user ratings (133)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
August 30th 2006



3709 Comments


Surely, somebody's heard of these guys, right?

victim of changes
August 30th 2006



42 Comments


Of course, this was my first Angel Witch album

Mikesn
Emeritus
August 30th 2006



3709 Comments


So that makes two of us...

ASberg
January 17th 2007



2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fine ol' band this...the title track is truly a classic in metal.

Mikesn
Emeritus
January 17th 2007



3709 Comments


Definitely. That and Free Man never get old for me.

ASberg
January 23rd 2007



2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would like to hear some other lesser known NWOBHM act's but i don't have that knowlage...tygers of pan tang, are they any good?

Confessed2005
January 17th 2008



3314 Comments


Nice.

moltenlava
July 1st 2008



312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, I'm listening to this album right now and wondering who else? What are the other big names of the NWOBHM? Actually, not the big guys like Maiden, but more of the rather obscure bands. I've heard of a band named 'Egypt' and one called 'Bleak House'. Does anyone know if that stuff is any good? How about some other obscure names?...I recently learned about 'Bleak House' because, supposedly, one of their tracks, 'Rainbow Warrior' is what Metallica copied when writing 'Sanitarium'. The clean parts do sound very similiar:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4F0skwb__A



moltenlava
July 1st 2008



312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I forgot to say that I'm already well acquainted with things like Diamond Head and Venom. What else is there though?




ASberg
August 17th 2008



2161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well now that i know of some i might be able to help. Tygers of pan tang were pretty good. I heard some Bleak House and there's a song called Isabdhlvana or something that is really good. Then theres a bunch of other names im just gonna drop.

Samson, Blitzkrieg, Sweet Savage, Tank, Holocaust, Raven, Witchfynde, Praying Mantis and i even think Girlschool was in that "genre".

SylentEcho
September 10th 2008



1570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of the best NWOBHM albums Ive heard in a long while. Nice review Mike.

Papsmear
March 30th 2009



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My Opinion This Album was 1 of the top 3 of the (NWBHM)
1)Iron Maiden (Killers)
2) Angel Witch
3) Iron Maiden
All 3 of these Albums Made A significant inpact on my Life.


Meatplow
July 20th 2009



5524 Comments


good review, this album should be more popular

ImpendingSpoon321
August 11th 2010



237 Comments


just found this album, really good stuff

illmitch
August 11th 2010



5429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great nwobhm

BigHans
September 13th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty badass NWOBHM here.

RippingCorpse
September 13th 2010



1086 Comments


need this

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2010



20263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album rules and definately deserves more recognition.

BigHans
October 13th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

YOURE AN ANGEL WITCH YOURE AN ANGEL WITCH!

Nagrarok
October 13th 2010



8170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gotta love that old-school NWOBHM



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