In the early 1980's Angel Witch were hailed as one of the leaders of the then booming NWOBHM movement, but sadly the band never really had the success of other acts like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard, or Diamond Head, and their self-titled album pretty much remains their one true & lasting contribution to the genre. Fast forward 30 years, and the band are alive and well, with original guitarist & vocalist Kevin Heybourne back behind the microphone for the first time in many years, and a new album As Above So Below out on Metal Blade Records.
The first thing you notice on As Above So Below is that the production is very much like their debut. My guess is that the band consciously set out to do this, as some of the songs here were written back in the early 80's and only now just seeing the light of day, so giving them all that same feel takes the listener back to that era quite nicely. Right off the bat with "Dead Sea Scrolls" you know that the band is back in fine form, as tasty riffs, pounding rhythms, and spooky keys set the stage for what is to come. "Into the Dark", with it's heavy riffs and slightly strained vocals is a perfect NWOBHM piece, and the thunder of "Gebura" and the deep melancholia of "The Horia" are like stepping into a time machine back to 1982, while "The Witching Hour", despite its near demo production quality, has some galloping riffs that are hard to ignore. Heybourne's tasty harmony guitar lines are all over "Upon This Cord", and "Guillotine" is a crunchy rocker that reminds so much of the bands early material, complete with some great UFO and Thin Lizzy references. "Brainwashed" also will take you back in time, as booming bass & guitar riffs steeped in 1982 take a hold of you and refuse to let go, while powerful lead vocals soar to the heavens.
As Above So Below could very well be THE comeback of 2012. Welcome back Angel Witch, and for all those who missed the heyday of the NWOBHM movement, this is what it's all about.
1. Dead Sea Scrolls
2. Into the Dark
4. The Horla
5. Witching Hour
6. Upon This Cord