MARQUEE, LONDON APRIL 1982 DAVID LING
IT IS very unhip in HM circles to admit to liking Angelwitch. The music press completely ignore the band and even to a large proportion of the most of the most die-hard metal addicts the Witch are regarded as objects of derision.
So it was surprising to see the Marquee fuller than usual to welcome the band back from their self imposed exile of the last six months. As most of you will know, the original line-up disbanded in September of last year after three years of constant gigging. Kevin Riddles and Dave Dufort quit to form Tytan and now, after a brief flirtation with Deep Machine, guitarist Kevin Heyboune has reformed the band.
The set is comprised of mainly old material. In fact, only two numbers weren’t included in the old band’s repertoire. ‘Gorgon’ commenced the proceedings and particularly impressive were the new rhythm section of Gerry Cunningham (bass) and Micky Bruce (drums). Tightening up the general feel of the band.
The front five or six rows were going crazy as the set progressed through ‘Confused’ and ‘They Wouldn’t Dare’. A new song, ‘Living In Fear’, was unveiled and showed a fair amount of promise. Another newie followed and was even better. But just as my interest was aroused they blew it and played ‘Evil Games’ – the worst song the band has ever recorded.
From here onwards it was all oldies. ‘Sorcerers’, ‘White Witch’ and ‘Angel Of Death’ closed the set with a flourish. The crowd was going crazy and Kevin Heybourne returned to play a rather tedious guitar solo. Just as I was about to drop off to sleep they burst into a frenzied version of the band’s theme song ‘Angelwitch’, the highspot of the performance. Delivered with a 100% conviction, I’m sure the ceiling started to shake during the singalong section!
Although Angelwitch aren’t likely to change the world or even make it to the big league (the detractors have seen to that) they’re certainly good entertainment. Give them a chance – they’re not as bad as you’ve heard.
KERRANG! ISSUE 102 – September 1985
ANGELWITCH: “Screaming and Bleeding” (Killerwatt KILP4001)
DURING THE halcyon days of the NWOBHM, I was one of the few critics who could find something endearing to say about Angel Witch. I still believe that with proper management and record company support, the three-man demolition line-up of Kevin Heybourne (lead guitar/lead vocals), Dave Hogg (drums) and Kevin ‘Skids Riddles (bass/. vocals) would have been massive in various Metal strongholds.
As it is, history dictated against such success. The band finally split in ‘81 leaving me with a trail of damp memories. However,’ such has been the failure of the various members since then to make any impression that Heybourn and Hogg are now back together, this time with bassist Pete Gordelier and, vocalist Dave Tattum under the revived AW monicker. It’s a mistake of almost incalculable proportions if “Screamin N’ Bleedin” is an example of the new outfit’s (ahem) prowess.
Very little of the traditional ‘Witch style remains intact and attempts to broaden the band’s appeal with a more melodic approach just had me falling off my gravestone, in hysterics. To call the LP incompetent is an understatement tantamount to claiming that Jack The Ripper had a slight problem with wimmen! There’s hardly a saving grace on ‘SNB’; the playing is gumbee-level and appalling, the sound is of Marcel Marceau proportions, the songs are poorly’ structured.., hell, the plastic’s so brittle this wouldn’t even make a good ashtray!
Nah, Angel Witch have done themselves no service with such severely abysmal brickyard mumbo-jumbo. And as for the LP’ sleeve. . . Ian Gibson’s got nothing to fear from Record Company Services!
ANGELWITCH – Royal Standard, Walthamstow
Special guests Angel Witch – a criminally underrated unit – acquitted themselves admirably. Delivering a set of mainly neoclassic NWOBHM material (even including a revitalised ‘Baphomet’), they occasionally slipped into Thrash territory
‘Time To Die’ and ‘Psychopathic’ being prime examples, with the vocals at full screaming stretch.
However, these two songs marred an otherwise tight and powerful performance. Guitarist Kevin Heybourne’s voice is just not strong or raucous enough to complete with the more established vox boxes of the Thrash genre, and with the old AW repertoire still being very much in demand on both European and American shores, it is a pity they should feel the need to compromise themselves.
Once amongst the great innovators of the HM scene, Angel Witch are in danger of being submerged by influences and a host of younger acts.