October 28, 2019 Angel Witch – Angel of Light (Album Review)
One of England’s unsung Heavy Metal heroes, Angel Witch returns with the new album, Angel of Light, scheduled for release on Friday, November 1st, 2019 via the legendary Metal Blade Records.
Creeping out of England’s dark and angst ridden music scene, Angel Witch emerged into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal back in the early 1980s. Among good company, Angel Witch were pioneers in bringing a fresh new taste of Heavy Metal from England and into the United States along side acts like Def Leppard, Venom, and Iron Maiden. Aesthetically pleasing, the sound of Angel Witch became popular among Metal fans for subtle vocals layered over evil pieces of Heavy Metal best listened to in a cold, dark basement, similar to Black Sabbath.
After the release of their eponymous 1980 debut, simply titled Angel Witch, the band known as Angel Witch would only release two more albums, 1985’s Screamin’ ‘n’ Bleedin’ followed up by 1986’s Frontal Assault. Working The States, Angel Witch attempted to make a bigger name for themselves in the U.S., however, Lead Songwriter/Vocalist/Guitarist Kevin Heybourne ran into some issues both personally and with immigration sadly causing Angel Witch to cease to exist and disbanded.
A spirit living on, the music of Angel Witch went on to influence some of Heavy Metal’s biggest stars including Metallica and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. Taking another shot at it, Angel Witch attempted to reunite in the early 2000s and performed some shows on occasion. Then, in 2012, after releasing a few live albums, Angel Witch graced fans with their first new album in twenty-six years, called As Above, So Below.
Over the years, Angel Witch has survived a slew of line-up changes but still stand tall today led by founding member Kevin Heybourne. At the core of Angel Witch, Heybourne is joined by Rhythm Guitarist Jimmy Martin who joined in 2015, Drummer Fredrik Jansson Punkka who joined in 2016, and the second longest tenure goes to Bassist Will Palmer who in 2019 celebrates ten years performing in Angel Witch. Together, these four men of Metal worked closely with seasoned Producer James Atkinson (Gentleman’s Pistols/Voorhees) on what would become Angel of Light, Angel Witch’s fifth studio release.
Turning down the lights and the volume up, Angel of Light opens beautifully with the most New Wave of British Heavy Metal riffing out there on “Don’t Turn Your Back.” Engaging, “Death from Andromeda” is next with a stifling thriller of rhythm before the dynamite “We Are Damned.” Seven minutes plus, “The Night is Calling” was lost in the Angel Witch archives and only in circulation as a live bootleg until now. A cold and dreary listen, this track presents haunting black emotion for the first five minutes until Angel Witch unleashes the monster with wicked melodic riffs. Thereafter, “Condemned” is charged with emotional melodies to satisfy the need for all elements of dark, fast, and impassioned music. Rounding out the eight song collection, “Window of Despair” is effectively distorted, “I am Infamy” lends a certain stigma, and then this classic Metal entity fades to black with the dark mood of the title-track “Angel of Light.”
A breathe of fresh air, Angel of Light is the kind of album that is easy to listen to and will keep your eardrums busy all the way through. From start to finish, Angel of Light exposes this cut throat line up of Angel Witch who will give any listener something they may not have felt from a Heavy Metal album in a long time, and they will love it! The one thing Angel Witch set out to do was create a collection of music void of overly polished production, sampling, and the type of smoke and mirrors which some acts try to pass off as true talent. Instead, Angel Witch created Angel of Light, a true symbol of original Heavy Metal in 2019. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Angel of Light 4.5 out of 5 stars.