One of the early NWOBHM bands along with Iron Maiden and
Samson, formed in 1978 in London, England.
Angel Witch (Bronze) 1980
Angel Witch [30th Anniversary Expanded Edition] (Sanctuary) 1980/2010
1. Angel Witch (3:25)
2. Atlantis (3:43)
3. White Witch (4:48)
4. Confused (2:52)
5. Sorceress (4:16
6. Gorgon (4:06)
7. Sweet Danger (3:07)
8. Free Man (4:44)
9. Angel Of Death (4:52)
10. Devil’s Tower (2:27)
11. Sweet Danger [live] (3:13)
12. Angel Of Death [live] (5:13)
13 . Extermination Day [live] (3:40)
14. Angel Witch [live] (3:33)
1. Devil’s Tower [demo] (5:55)
2. White Witch [demo] (5:22)
3. Baphomet [demo] (7:20)
4. Sorceress [demo] (4:27)
5. Extermination Day [demo] (3:59)
6. Flight Nineteen [demo] (6:30)
7. Hades Paradise [demo] (6:11)
8 . Baphomet [Metal For Muthas LP Version] (5:00)
9. Sweet Danger [12" Single A-Side] (3:12)
10. Hades Paradise [12" Single B-Side] (4:39)
11. Flight Nineteen [12" Single B-Side] (5:54)
12. Angel Witch [7" Single Edit] (3:15)
13. Gorgon [7" Single B-Side] (4:06)
14. Loser [7" ‘Loser’ EP B-Side] (2:52)
15. Suffer [7" ‘Loser’ EP B-Side] (3:25)
16. Dr. Phibes [7" ‘Loser’ EP B-Side] (2:57)
1. "Angel Witch" (3:25)
2. "Atlantis" (3:42)
3. "White Witch" (4:48)
4. "Confused" (2:51)
5. "Sorceress" (4:16)
6. "Gorgon" (4:06 )
7. "Sweet Danger" (3:07)
8. "Free Man" (4:44)
9. "Angel of Death" (4:52)
10." Devil's Tower" (2:28)
In the late 1970's a resurgence of British heavy metal was beginning to surface that would eventually be known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). That movement produced some bands that went on to huge success such as Iron Maiden, Saxon, Raven, Venom, and Def Leppard. Several other bands never went on to the same commercial fame, but have a dedicated cult following. Bands such as Blitzkrieg, Tokyo Blade, Diamond Head, Samson, Grim Reaper and Angel Witch. Formed in 1977, the band would record their first demo the very next year and their self-titled debut album would be released by 1980. After this the band recorded a handful of singles and demos, as well as an EP. However, internal fighting within the band caused their demise by the end of 1981. The band would resurface time and time again over the years, but clearly their best years and their best album was their debut.
Angel Witch's debut is generally held as a NWOBHM classic by fans of the movement. I would agree, placing Angel Witch along side classic albums like "Lightning to the Nations", "On Through The Night" and "Strong Arm of the Law". The album opens with the band's eponymous song, which is also the band's most immediately recognizable songs. Besides being heavy as sin, the song has a chorus that is simply unforgettable. "You're an angel witch! / you're an angel witch!" Sure, the lyrics are cheesy, b-grade horror/occult material, but this was pretty consistent with what was going on at the time. Actually, some of the songs seem to be warnings about evil, as much as they are promoting anything evil. As with many of the NWOBHM bands the guitar work is heavily inspired by riff-master Tony Iommi. However, Angel Witch are not a Black Sabbath clone. However, one listen to the riffs in songs like "Confused" and "The Devil's Tower" and it becomes immediately clear that one of the founders of the first wave of British metal were a huge inspiration to these guys. One of my personal favorite songs off the album is "Angel of Death", an upbeat, straight-forward heavy metal rocker with a smoking lead break and some eerie keyboards thrown in for good measure. "Sweet Danger" opens with some sweet Thin Lizzy-ish guitar and bass work that is echoed throughout the song. This sound would actually become the staple of Iron Maiden's sound. As well, "Sorceress" sounds a bit like Maiden's "Remember Tomorrow", which was recorded and released the same year as "Angel Witch".
Despite a modest budget and a 1980's recording, the songs are well produced. Surprisingly every instrument is clearly heard, including the bass guitar. As a matter of fact, the bass lines of Kevin Riddles are not only audible but are a very driving part of the songs themselves, much like Geezer was the driving force behind Sabbath. Kevin Heybourne sings in a mostly clean style but adds some aggressive screams when needed. Angel Witch use a lot of background vocals as well, which helps define their sound.
It's amusing reading blogs and reviews by younger heavy metal fans who like to re-write history. Many will make the claim that bands like Saxon and Angel Witch were "barely even a heavy metal" and are "just hard rock". Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about the history of heavy metal should at least be able to acknowledge that this sound is heavy metal defined. Here's a quick history lesson for those who would deny these bands of their place in heavy metal history. UFO, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, etc. were the first wave of British Heavy Metal. Diamond Head, Raven, Venom, Saxon and Angel Witch were all part of the second wave of British Heavy Metal.
The expanded 30th Anniversary CD edition of Angel Witch comes with a slew of bonus tracks as well as an expansive full-color booklet. The bonus disc is worth the price of re-purchasing this album alone. It's like having a whole second album worth of songs that have a similar feel to the self-titled album. Several of the demo tracks are over six minutes long. A lot of the demo material sounds a bit darker than the actual album, probably due to the lower budget recording.
The bonus tracks are as follows:
Tracks 01-10 - The Original Album
Tracks 11-14 - BBC's Friday Rock Show on March 14, 1980
Tracks 01-07: Various Demo Tracks
Track 08: From The Metal For Muthas Compilation Album
Tracks 09-11: From The "Sweet Danger" 12" EP 1980
Tracks 12-13: From The "Angel Witch" 7" single 1980
Tracks 14-16: From The "Loser" 7" EP 1981
Onslaught recorded a cover of "Confused".