сряда, 14 март 2012 г.

ANGEL WITCH - "As Above, So Below" Review

Legendary British heavy metallers Angel Witch have risen from the grave (once again) with their first studio album since 1998’s Resurrection. This new album, entitled As Above, So Below, is undeniable proof that a classic NWOBHM sound can survive and even thrive in today’s metal environment. The eight-song ass-kicker contains four previously unreleased Angel Witch tracks from the ’80s, as well as four all new songs—and the real testament here to Angel Witch’s consistent quality is how well these eight songs gel, despite being written a quarter-of-a-century apart.

The reformed Angel Witch consists of founding member Kevin Heybourne (vocals and lead guitar), along with Andrew Prestidge on drums and Will Palmer on bass. Veteran guitarist Bill Steer is appearing live with the band, but did not record with them on this album.

As Above, So Below is rife with the galloping riffs and epic lyrics we’ve come to expect of the band. It has a real “classic” feel to it. And yet these tracks don’t come across as dated or irrelevant in the least, despite half of them being written decades ago. A lot of that can be attributed to the top-notch songwriting and the crisp, balanced mix. It’s an airy, open album, with the instruments given plenty of space to breathe. What we have here is an album equally at home in 1986 or 2012, and that’s a rare treat.

If there are weak points in As Above, So Below, they lie in new tracks like “Geburah,” “Brainwashed,” and “Upon This Cord.” These fresh offerings by Angel Witch are by no means lacking—there really isn’t a lousy track to be found on this album. But after a few listens, I found myself drawn more to older tracks like “Dead Sea Scrolls” and “Witching Hour.” Although I must admit that my favorite track might be “The Horla,” with its extended instrumental section slathered with delicious layers of guitars and some tasty cymbal-work courtesy of drummer Prestidge.

As Above, So Below is about as solid as metal albums come nowadays, and it’s honestly cool to hear some unreleased tracks that aren’t blatant throwaways. I’m genuinely surprised that these songs never found their way onto albums before now, come to think of it. As Above, So Below has quickly earned a place in my musical rotation, right beside 1980’s Angel Witch and 1986’s Frontal Assault, and I only hope that Heybourne can keep this incarnation of Angel Witch together long enough for us to see them perform this stuff live stateside. If you’re a fan of Angel Witch or NWOBHM in general, this kickass throwback album is a definite must-listen.

Review from metalinjection.net

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