Angel Of Light

Angel Witch are a heavy metal band from the UK formed by Kevin Heybourne in 1976, originally known as Lucifer, changing their name to Angel Witch two years later, and releasing their self titled debut album in 1980. A landmark album in the history of heavy metal, Angel Witch were instrumental in setting the NWOBHM evolution on the road to the glorious genre it is today. The band has been dogged with line-up changes and break-ups, but still managed to release two more albums 'Screamin 'N' Bleedin' (1985) and 'Frontal Assault' (1986) before a lengthy period of hiatus. Over the years, various incarnations of the band have toured and performed at festivals all around the world, and in 2012 the bands fourth album 'As Above, So Below' was released. After four decades, Angel Witch are still held in high regard as a major influence on many metal musicians, most notably Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Tom G Warrior (Celtic Frost) and Dave Mustaine (Megadeth).    
2019 brings forth a new chapter in Angel Witch history, as the band release their fifth studio album 'Angel Of Light'. With its cover depicting a desolate scene of destruction and a bright orangey red sky, it does bear a striking resemblance to their eponymous debut album... Featuring eight brand new songs across forty eight, extremely heavy minutes, the album begins with (the first single) 'Don't Turn Your Back'. Hitting like a 44 tonne lorry, 'Don't Turn Your Back' pulsates with a constant battering rhythm that just oozes the classic style of traditional heavy metal. And why wouldn't it - Angel Witch are British, and did more than most to create the iconic NWOBHM sound. Energy levels take an upward direction with 'Death From Andromeda' showcasing the buzz sounding guitars that make the NWOBHM so recognisable. Maintaining the albums early, very heavy feel, 'Death From Andromeda' trots its way to a conclusion.    
'Angel Witch' the album, was one of the very first albums I bought, even before an Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Black Sabbath one. The pace of the album was furious and the infectious nature of the music had me hooked - songs like 'Atlantis', 'Confused', and 'Sweet Danger' had me drooling with excitement... And they still do today - even after an incredible forty years! But I digress, back to the matter in hand, the current album. 'We Are Damned' takes on an eerie, almost haunting feel as it initially foot stomps heavily, becoming a much melodic offering as it stretches its legs. And that chorus - a chant style sing a long of the tallest order. Clocking in at over seven minutes in length 'The Night Is Calling' is the longest song on offer and is an atmospheric epic of cinematic proportions. The doom style riffing gives for a very heavy, dark and sinister feel - with some listeners cowering in fear at the bombastic and booming doom metal avalanche. An avalanche that continues with 'Condemned' - for the first half minute anyway. 'Condemned' picks up tempo and energy, slamming listeners into walls with its sadistic aggression. This style of heavy, heavy metal is rare, and when it's coming at you with the ferocity it is, boy is it exciting.    
To have had the opportunity to review one of my earliest heavy metal idols is the stuff of dreams. 'Angel Of Light' (the album) may not have the pace or the raw brutality of the bands debut, which is regarded as one of the most important releases in the history of the NWOBHM, but it has got heaviness, and lots of it. Along with infectious and addictive songs - its also performed by a legendary band that has monumentally iconic status... Up tempo and foraging a savage path 'Window Of Despair' rumbles along, pounding a brutal beat that infects the senses with an overwhelming feeling of exhilaration. The heart begins to race, the pulse quickens and adrenaline flows faster as 'Window Of Despair' thunders toward its end. The thunder gets much heavier as 'I Am Infamy' takes you on a trip back to the early eighties. It's taken until the seventh song for Angel Witch to sound like they did in 1980. Oh what a glorious flashback, that galloping rhythm and just a hint of their "old" aggressiveness, although there is plenty of "new" aggression here, as the album reaches its climax with the title song 'Angel Of Light'. Energetic, bombastic and booming, 'Angel Of Light' is a barn storming crescendo of thunder, a mighty majestic and savage swagger of brutality. The heaviness that has been a constant throughout this album has been supremely addictive, and it has been my absolute pleasure to listen to, and review, an album from a legendary band, who are also my earliest heavy metal idols.    
Overall, a superb album of traditional heavy metal from a band held in high regard for shaping one of the most important eras in the history of heavy metal - the NWOBHM.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV