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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Angel Witch - 1980 Angel Witch
Angel Witch - 1980 Angel Witch

ARTIST: Angel Witch
ALBUM: Angel Witch
LABEL: Bronze
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2005, Castle Music, CMOCD1157 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Kevin Heybourne - lead guitar, vocals * Kevin Riddles - bass, background vocals * Dave Hogg - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Angel Witch * 02 Atlantis * 03 White Witch * 04 Confused * 05 Sorcerers * 06 Gorgon * 07 Sweet Danger * 08 Free Man * 09 Angel Of Death * 10 Devil's Tower


A cornerstone of the denim-clad NWOBHM movement and certainly one of my favourites of the air guitar era, the Angel Witch debut was the culmination of three years of seriously hard work. Formed by main man and guitarist Kevin Heybourne in 1977 originally as Lucifer; the then foursome gigged extensively throughout London and developed a significant following with local head-bangers. Recording an impressive demo didn't escape the notice of DJ Neal Kay and EMI who included Angel Witch on the groundbreaking compilation 'Metal for Muthas'. After dropping their second guitarist, a well-received 'Friday Rock Show' appearance followed by an EMI released EP, solidified Angel Witch's status as one of England's premier metal bands. With major gigs supporting Krokus, April Wine and their heroes Black Sabbath, the future was bright.

The Songs
Signing with Bronze Records in 1980, the resulting self-titled long player was stacked with the songs that reinforced their live reputation and as a formidable power trio Angel Witch was surprisingly versatile although not nearly as evil as the cover, demonic imagery and moniker suggests. More '70s Black Sabbath than Venom, the crowd-pleasing title track while heavy, has a strong arena rock anthem element while the fast paced riff-fests of 'Atlantis', Sweet Danger' and 'Angel Of Death' are tempered by more moderate cuts like 'White Witch', the Sabbathy 'Sorcerers' and the epic 'Free Man'. In a year that brought us the punk-ish Iron Maiden debut as well as opening salvos from Def Leppard, Girlschool and Tygers Of Pan Tang, the first Angel Witch is possibly the genres most resilient and defining moment.

In Summary
Regrettably it wasn't to last. Drummer Dave Hogg left the band, replaced by Dave Dufort formerly of veteran progressive rockers East Of Eden and Swedish/Anglo outfit EF Band. A short tour with Max Webster was unsuccessful in drawing much attention as the new line-up attempted more melodic, less heavy repertoire. This translated to fewer gigs and Bronze were taking notes, ultimately dropping the option for a second album. Floundering for several years, future Angel Witch releases with ever-changing and at times complicated line-ups were far less attractive although 2012 has seen the return of their traditional NWOBHM sound with the stupendous 'As Above, So Below'.

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#1 | sabace on September 24 2012 10:41:41
I love this lp - my first contact with ANGELWITCH was the track ' flight nighteen' on a the sweet danger 12 single! not everyone's cup of tea!
#2 | Jez on September 26 2012 00:36:23
I remember this one getting slated in Sounds back in the day, but I always thought it was a really good album . 'Sweet Danger' 'Gorgon' 'Angel Of Death' 'Devlls Tower' and the title track being standouts especially. The 30th anniversary edition is the way to go, with no more than 2 cd's featuring the original album plus he excellent single 'Loser' along with a host of live, demos an 12' version incl the original Metal For Muthas version of 'Baphomet' and a Friday Rock Show Session.
#3 | Nick C on September 26 2012 13:20:16
I saw them support someone (U.F.O.?) back in the day and they were pretty good, had to laugh when Kev Riddles threw his bass in the air and it caught him on the way down.
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