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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Witchfynde - 1980 Stagefright
Witchfynde - 1980 Stagefright

ARTIST: Witchfynde
ALBUM: Stagefright
LABEL: Rondolet
SERIAL: About 2
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2005, Lemon, CDLEM61


LINEUP: Steve Bridges - vocals * Montalo - guitars * Pete Surgey - bass * Gra Scoresby - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stagefright * 02 Doing The Right Thing * 03 Would Not Be Seen Dead In Heaven * 04 Wake Up Screaming * 05 Big Deal * 06 Moon Magic * 07 In The Stars * 08 Trick Or Treat * 09 Madeleine

Break out the black candles and dust off the chalk drawn pentagram; here's one of the scariest bands to come out of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal movement. Alright, I'm embellishing more than a little here. Despite their liberal use of dark imagery Witchfynde in the NWOBHM pantheon were not nearly as spooky as Pagan Altar, Hell or even Venom when it came to occult-driven metal and it's hard to say if it was all just a gimmick to sell records or the boys really and truly dabbled in the black arts although less of the former and more of the latter are my guess. Their debut 'Give 'em Hell' with its cartoonish goats-head album art drew a lot of attention at the time, selling quite well among the denim and leather crowd which eventually landed the band a support slot on Def Leppard's 1980 UK tour.

The Songs
In hindsight an odd pairing but apparently their few weeks with the Sheffield boys had a big influence on Witchfynde. Following up with 'Stagefright' later the same year and with a new bass player in tow; the sound became much more commercial, toning down the devilish concepts in favor of pop rock. With superior production the heavy doom-laden title track is shadowy enough to please fans of the debut while the slow-tempo 'Doing The Right' clearly marks the band's new direction. A risky move perhaps but 'Would Not Be Seen Dead in Heaven' which bares more than a passing resemblance to Dark Star and is catcher than sin; lyrically still very much reflects the band's taste for the dark side. 'Big Deal' continues the poppy trend although in my opinion pride of place goes to 'In The Stars'- a classic slice of NWOBHM that was released as a single and included an alternate and quite impressive version of 'Wake Up Screaming'. Housed in typical indie looking black, red and white picture sleeve; its collectable and worth looking out for.

In Summary
Following 'Stagefright' the band found themselves without a vocalist and eventually with Rondelet's ongoing financial issues - without a label. Two lead singers and three years later Witchfynde released the slightly heavier 'Cloak & Dagger' followed by 'Lords Of Sin' which sported one of the creepiest album covers I've ever seen. Wow, it was hard to miss that one in the import racks although from here the Witchfynde story comes to end. Interest in the band and the growing collectability of all things NWOBHM lead to a 1996 'Best Of' package and 2005 reissues of the group's first three LP's on the Cherry Red subsidiary Lemon Records.

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#1 | tompa on February 06 2013 21:55:00
One of the better NWOBHM bands, IMO. A bit of melody and thought in their music.
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