As most will already be fully aware, Angel Witch‘s self-titled 1980 debut has, over the years, become somewhat of a landmark album – not just for NWOBHM aficionados but for lovers of heavy metal in general – and has influenced thrashers, black metallers and those enamoured with the ‘doomier’ side of metal the world over.
Led by mastermind Kevin Heybourne, Angel Witch have always embraced the darkness of metal’s myriad of sub genres – without ever losing sight of ingenious melody – and with its heady mix of menace, speed and grand guignol atmosphere, Angel Of Light is certainly no exception.
A decidedly decadent and mephistophelian follow-up to 2013’s incredibly well received comeback album As Above, So Below, Angel Witch’s 4th album comes at you with almost nihilistic intent. Opener “Don’t Turn Your Back” sets out the band’s uncompromising attitude and unbridled energy right from the outset before “Death From Andromeda” gallops at you with the force of an oncoming cavalry; full-throttle metal delivered by seasoned professionals hellbent on bringing down the crushing power of the heavens themselves.
This level of intensity is maintained throughout and at just 8 tracks, Angel Of Light is tight, focused and indefatigably lean, with the majority of tracks flying by in a blitzkrieg of high drama, occult leanings and an overarching sense of apocalyptic peril.
Token metal ballad “The Night Is Calling” even avoids mawkish sentimentality by again dialling up the threat level. A revitalised ‘lost classic’, which previously existed only as a scarce bootlegged live version, “The Night Is Calling” ultimately provides the albums focal point and its dusting-off proves to a canny decision.
Finishing with Angel Of Light‘s title track, Angel Witch close proceedings with unabashed grandiosity as an onslaught of riffs and demonic grandeur greet the ears and is a fitting end to an album which brandishes its wares confidently and coherently.
This is still a NWOBHM sounding album in essence and it’s clear that with Angel Of Light, this legendary band has retained their renowned mystique and sense of eerie menace. Furthermore, Angel Witch’s recognisably arcane sound is as vital, fresh and relentlessly addictive as ever! 8/10