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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Witchkiller - 1984 Day Of The Saxons [EP]
Witchkiller - 1984 Day Of The Saxons [EP]

ARTIST: Witchkiller
ALBUM: Day Of The Saxons (EP)
LABEL: Metal Blade
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1998, Metal Blade, 3984-14169-2


LINEUP: Doug Adams - vocals * Kurt Phillips - guitar * Todd Pilon - bass * Steve Batky - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Day Of The Saxons * 02 Riders Of Doom * 03 Cry Wolf * 04 Beg For Mercy * 05 Penance For Past Sins

I must be missing something here. Witchkiller release a lone five track EP in 1984 and somehow are regarded as according to one website 'classic Canadian heavy metal legends'. Not so fast there! This is as basic and no frills as heavy metal could get circa 1984 and just by glancing at the album cover you get an automatic sense of what this band represented in the heyday of classic metal, standard NWOBHM clones. Witchkiller naturally do play it fast and heavy but like so many other Metal Blade and Roadrunner acts of that era they were simply second rate compared to the bands they sought to emulate, that being Iron Maiden above all else. According to Kurt Phillips the bands lack of output was due to a premature split because of tension in their ranks. Even he must be amazed that what should be a forgotten obscurity is still being talked about today then.

The Songs
For the life of me there is little to get excited about here. Realistically this albums reputation exists solely on the basis of their image. It screams 'heavy metal' so loudly it overshadows an ordinary set of songs. The title tracks runs through an assortment of recycled Samson and Judas Priest riffs and I recall seeing this EP advertised in the booklets of old 80's cassettes and thinking any album titled 'Day Of The Saxons' must be worth a spin. It's safe to suggest Saxon themselves were miles ahead of this mundane rape and pillage excursion. 'Riders Of Doom' is pure Maiden, vaguely amateurish, the riffs galloping but hardly compelling. There are obligatory acoustic sections that lead into melting faster sections, but it's one dimensional in its single riff format. 'Cry Wolf' is what Maiden may have sounded like in 1979-80, one of the problems typically associated with bands like this. Maiden had left their early sound far behind by 1984 so this is dated immediately, even though its intentions are pure. 'Beg For Mercy' could be any NWOBHM pretender, take your pick, but it at least it contains a nice surging passage, the only convincing stretch of heaviness. The aggression of 'Penance For Past Sins' takes the direction of mid seventies Priest and updates it with grittier guitars but you go back to early Raven for example and it destroys this with ease.

In Summary
Since their demise Witchkiller clawed their way in metal lore, which to me is one of the biggest mysteries in metal history. This is so purely ordinary that it really isn't worth the reissue Metal Blade gave it not long ago. In the what ever happened to them stakes, Adams and Pilon were also seen that year in a completely different outfit, fellow Canadians Reckless, joining Steve Madden in a melodic metal capacity. Phillips claims vocalist Adams also went on to form a Pyrotechnic company which is one of the leaders in its industry while little is known about Batky. Phillips himself formed a similar metal act named Warhag that furthered his NWOBHM fetish. Still for the most hardcore of true metalheads reading this, don't believe everything you hear regarding Witchkiller, its bog standard and hardly worth investigating.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 17 2008 07:04:36
If this is ordinary, then the 'Heart Of Steel' album by Reckless in which Adams and Pilon turn up on is equally ordinary. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's awful!! thumbs down
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