Angel Witch - Angel of Light

Angel Witch Angel of Light cover
Angel Witch
Angel of Light
Metal Blade Records
When Angel Witch got back into the fray, it was sincerely hoped that they’d have a more steady output than their sporadic 80s output and the even more sparse later day output, that consisted mostly of demos, compilations and live outings. It wasn’t quite meant to be though as it took Kevin Heybourne and his current chums (incl. a guitarist swap some years ago) a good seven years to scratch the itch, for another album, with just a charity release of their demos in-between. Anyhow, “Angel of Light” seems able to recapture the band’s 80s mojo, much better than “As Above, So Below” did.
Opener “Don’t Turn Your Back” was a single and is quite reminiscent of something that could have been in the debut, but is more likely to have been plucked from one of the later slightly more hard rock inspired 80’s efforts, with Dave Tattum. A melodic, riffy affair, with Heybourne’s whiney borderline vocal feeling a bit weathered, but managing to capture the essence quite capably, still.
“Death from Andromeda” is a decidedly doomier and even a tad epic, but at heart it’s still a galloping tune, that could easily have been a debut number. It was also a single and it even received a weird, 60s sci-fi sort of video clip. A true “space oddity”.
“We’re Damned” might be a little repetitive, but it doubles down on doom, gloom and epic splendor, so it does achieve what it sets out to do, quite well, plus it’s solo, is quite inspired.
“The Night is Calling” is even more edgy, the most straightforward heavy metal song, up to this point and despite, being quite lengthy it manages to not overstay it’s welcome.
“Condemned” keeps the same plodding mid-tempo and initially it feels kind of boring, but it all changes. When some Maiden-y cadences sweep in and also when the chorus and the solo come on, to actually great effect.
“Window of Despair” starts with a very energetic gallop and maintains it strong presence by a pretty massive riff, but I suppose it would fall in the middle as far as songs are concerned if it weren’t for an inspired solo.
“I Am Infamy” is dark, heavy and borderline doomy, but it picks up enough speed to also have to drop that label midway, still it sounds pretty Sabbathy, but with a more steady rhythm… heavy…
Last but not least, the eponymous, “Angel of Light”, is a song that concerns itself with Lucifer and it’s intricate, riffing while heavy and foreboding is also laced, with enough melody. It would have been a pretty good song if included on the debut… fact of the matter – word of mouth is that a couple of songs on the album are based on old unfinished ideas… who knows.
I suppose, I could say that I wouldn’t mind the production being a little more modern; I mean it’s made to sound a little too vintage to the point where it feels rough, and Kev’s vocals are a little back in the mix, when they could have been a dB or so higher, but who knows… he’s voice shows some wear and tear due to age, but it’s still gets the job done. At any rare, as Angelwitch albums are a kind of rare treat, this one, feels like a delicious one, if what you’re after is epic, melodic and traditional British heavy metal! Cool!