Purchase includes signed CD booklet.
For over 40 years, Angel Witch’s influential spirit is one that has endured through all of heavy metal thus far, with figures as disparate as Exodus’s Gary Holt, Dissection’s Jon Nötveidt and Ghost’s Tobias Forge plighting their troth to its combination of malice and magic. Yet there has been no one record that so wholeheartedly manifests it for nearly forty long years.
Armed with such an arsenal of weapons grade material, the band – now comprising Fredrik Jansson Punkka (drums) Jimmy Martin (rhythm guitar) and Will Palmer (bass) – decamped to the Stationhouse in Leeds to deliver the goods in as straightforward and direct a fashion as possible. Under the auspices of producer James Atkinson (Gentleman’s Pistols/Voorhees) the band set to buck the trend of the overly Pro-Tooled and interchangeable metal releases of the here and now by capturing these infectious songs in the full trademark Angel Witch roar of heavy amplification and thunderous rhythmic drive. Thus, laying down his parts with the very same Marshall JPM amp head that he employed for his debut, Kevin Heybourne could both embrace and transcend the glories of his past.
The result is a revelation, the thunderous opener ‘Don’t Turn Your Back’ sets out the band’s attitude and energy right from the outset, with incisive guitar hooks vying for attention with the kind of anthemic chorus that is Angel Witch‘s trademark. Yet this is followed swiftly by the epic science-fiction-themed sermonising of ‘Death From Andromeda’, a thunderous cavalcade of riffs and finely-honed songcraft which climaxes in a twin-guitar harmony theme replete with cinematic drama.
Similarly, elsewhere there’s grand guignol horror to be had aplenty – as witnessed in the case of the swashbuckling groove and infectious chorus of ‘I am Infamy’ – before the final climax occurs with the earthshaking endtime intensity of the closing title-track, which revels in demonic grandeur and dynamic aplomb both, not to mention a lethal dose of the occultist allure that forever looms large in the band’s classic transcendental attack.
Even when revisiting a lost classic – the twilit ballad ‘The Night is Calling’, which previous existed only as a scarce bootlegged live version (enough to inspire the young Leif Edling to cover it in his pre-Candlemass band Nemesis) the band has the ability to essay it with enough style and gusto to make it indistinguishable in character from Heybourne’s freshest compositions. Emotionally resonant yet boasting a hard-driving mid-section boasting an embarrassment of riff riches, it’s scarcely conceivable that this song has gone unrecorded for nearly four decades.
Angel of Light is a record to reignite dormant passions, and one to reconnect the listener to a potent and life-affirming musical elixir that revels in renegade spirit and mystical allure. The spirit lives on; a supernatural force, and a more powerful one than ever.