Published on November 27th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Angel Witch: Angel Of Light (Metal Blade, 2019)
It’s been seven long years since we last heard from NWOBHM legends Angel Witch. That’s not entirely surprising given the long-running British band averages roughly one album per decade, but 2012’s As Above, So Below was an especially good album and definitely left fans wanting more. Founding guitarist/vocalist Kevin Heybourne and company (he’s joined here by bassist Will Palmer, guitarist Jimmy Martin and Drummer Fredrik Jansson) finally delivered a new Angel Witch album to help close out 2019.
Angel Witch’s latest effort, just their fifth full-length album in 40+ years, is titled Angel Of Light. Even with a seven-year gap between this album and its predecessor, Angel Of Light carries forward the overall sound and vibe that made As Above, So Below so remarkable. It has enough of that classic Angel Witch energy and darkness to check the NWOBHM box, but it’s such a heavy and epic album that it’s hard to call this anything other than doom metal at times. Another way Angel Of Light is similar to the previous album is the non-nonsense approach. There are just eight songs totaling 48 minutes. The band doesn’t pad the album and they don’t waste time. Thick riffs and heavy, doomy rhythms dominate from start to finish.
Angel Of Light doesn’t feel quite as somber and epic as As Above, So Below, but it’s close. Leadoff song “Don’t Turn Your Back” hits like a brick and immediately recalls the classic Angel Witch debut, while “We Are Damned,” “Condemned” and “Window Of Despair” anchor the album in doomlike splendor. Closing it out are the blistering “I Am Infamy” (another old schooler) and the epic title track which has a brilliant balance of speed and heaviness.
It’s always such a great thing to see these long-running metal bands come back with albums that rival their classic works, and Angel Of Light certainly does that. This is an album that will absolutely satisfy fans of Angel Witch’s early sound (as well as peers like Witchfinder General and Witchfynde), and it is also highly recommended for fans of heavy bands like Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Sorcerer and Atlantean Kodex.
Summary: Another masterpiece from the NWOBHM legends