Angel Witch are a British heavy metal band which formed in London, England in 1976 as part of the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) movement.[1]

Angel Witch
Band performing on stage in 2010
Angel Witch live 2010
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresHeavy metal
Years active1976–present
Labels
WebsiteOfficial website
Members
  • Kevin Heybourne
  • Will Palmer
  • Jimmy Martin
  • Fredrik Jansson
Past members
 
  • Steve Coleman
  • Rob Downing
  • Barry Clements
  • Steve Jones
  • Kevin Riddles
  • Dave Hogg
  • Dave Dufort
  • Ricky Bruce
  • Jerry Cunningham
  • Roger Marsden
  • Peter Gordelier
  • Dave Tattum
  • Spencer Hollman
  • Jon Torres
  • Grant Dennison
  • Tom Hunting
  • Doug Piercy
  • Lee Altus
  • Darren Minter
  • Chris Fullard
  • Myk Taylor
  • Richie Wicks
  • Scott Highham
  • Keith Herzberg
  • Andrew Prestidge
  • Bill Steer
  • Tom Draper

BiographyEdit

The band formed, originally under the name of Lucifer, of guitarist and vocalist Kevin Heybourne, guitarist Rob Downing, drummer Steve Jones, and bassist Barry Clements. Lucifer split and Steve Jones joined Bruce Dickinson to form Speed. The remnants of Lucifer became Angel Witch, with the exceptions of Clements, who was replaced by Kevin Riddles, and Steve Jones, who was replaced by Steve Coleman. The following year Rob Downing left the band.

Angel Witch's first song to achieve mainstream popularity was "Baphomet", which was included on a compilation titled Metal for Muthas. This song drew a fair amount of attention to the band, and they eventually signed a recording deal with EMI. However, the deal was soon cancelled, due to manager Ken Heybourne refusing to hand Angel Witch over to professional management, and performance of their first single released under the EMI label in 1980, which was entitled "Sweet Danger" and lasted a single week on the UK Singles Chart.[2] This was their only UK chart listing and despite being quite an achievement for a NWOBHM group, spending a single week at No. 75 (the lowest position in the charts)[3] meant they were listed as the 'least successful chart act of all time' in the Guinness Book of Hit Records. This same feat was repeated by fellow NWOBHM group Grand Prix with their Keep On Believing 7" in 1983.[4]

In 1980, Bronze Records picked up the band and they soon proceeded to record and release their debut album, self-titled Angel Witch.[2] This album is considered one of the most notable from the new wave of British heavy metal,[by whom?] but subsequent to the album's release, the band's structure began to fall apart. The sacking of Dave Hogg, and Kevin Riddles leaving the band to join Tytan, and despite Heybourne's attempts to continue Angel Witch with other musicians, the end of the band was declared and he joined Deep Machine.

Angel Witch returned to activity on 1982, when Heybourne and two musicians from Deep Machine - namely vocalist Roger Marsden and drummer Ricky Bruce - left to assemble a new Angel Witch line-up together with bassist Jerry Cunningham. This line-up lasted a very short time, as Marsden's voice did not fit the style of the band very well. He was fired from the band and Heybourne assumed the vocals once more.

By 1983, the band had ceased its activities, and Heybourne moved to Blind Fury. In 1984, Angel Witch was once more brought to life, this time with the help of bassist Peter Gordelier (ex-Marquis De Sade), singer Dave Tattum and with Dave Hogg returning to the drums.[2] This line-up recorded the album Screamin' N' Bleedin'.[2] Dave Hogg was sacked yet again. He was replaced by Spencer Hollman.[2] With the new drummer they recorded Frontal Assault,[2] which deviated heavily from Angel Witch's previous albums, having many melodic elements.

Dave Tattum was released the same year and for a few years Angel Witch played as a trio on sporadic live performances. In 1989, they recorded a new live album, entitled simply Live.[2]

Heybourne decided that it was in the band's best interest to move to the United States, but the other members had no way of accomplishing that, having stable lives on their home country. Thus, an American incarnation of Angel Witch was born. It was composed of Heybourne, bassist Jon Torres (Lȧȧz Rockit, Ulysses Siren), drummer Tom Hunting (Exodus) and guitarist Doug Piercy (Heathen, Anvil Chorus). This line-up functioned quite well, and soon the band had booked a fair number of shows throughout the US. However, it was found that Heybourne had some pending issues regarding immigration, and he was arrested one day before the first concert of the band. Without Heybourne, Angel Witch was soon dissolved.

After the release of the Resurrection compilation in 2000, the band intended to play together once more, but after a series of internal conflicts, Heybourne assembled yet another line-up, with new members.

They were on the bill for the traditional Orange Goblin Christmas show at The Camden Underworld, London, on Saturday 20 December 2008.

In 2009, their eponymous song "Angel Witch" was featured on the soundtrack of the action-adventure videogame, Brütal Legend.

In 2011, Angel Witch entered in the studio to record their fourth studio album, entitled As Above, So Below. It was recorded with Kevin Heybourne on guitar and vocals, Will Palmer on the bass guitar, Bill Steer on the guitar, and Andrew Prestidge on the drums. They also returned to playing live, with a second stage headline slot at Bloodstock Open Air in 2011.[5]

One-time Angel Witch bassist Jon Torres died on 3 September 2013 of a reported heart failure. He was 51 years old.[6]

The band continues to tour and play festivals.[7][8]

On 30 August 2019, the band released a new single, 'Don't Turn Your Back', which subsequently debuted at number 17 on the Kerrang! Rock Chart before rising to 14 in its second and final week.[9]

LegacyEdit

Angel Witch have been claimed as an influence by many notable metal musicians, including Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) who graced the February 2010 cover of Decibel magazine wearing an Angel Witch shirt,[10] Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost), and Chuck Schuldiner (Death). Bands that have covered Angel Witch songs in concert or on record include Trouble ("Confused" live), Six Feet Under ("Confused" on Graveyard Classics), Blood Curse ("Angel Witch" on their debut album "Sorceress"), Onslaught ("Confused" on In Search of Sanity), Skull Fist ("Angel Witch" live), Battle Ram ("Angel Witch" on the Smash the Gates EP), S.A.Slayer ("Dr. Phibes" & "Angel Witch" live) and Exodus ("Angel of Death" on Blood In, Blood Out as bonus track), Amazing Maze, which is a one off album by Italian Power Metal band Labyrinth under a different name ("Angel Witch").

In 2007, German label Unbroken Records issued a Tribute to Angel Witch compilation album featuring 15 underground metal acts covering songs from the band's early singles and first three full-length releases.[11]

MembersEdit

Current members

  • Kevin Heybourne – lead guitar, lead vocals (1976–1981, 1982–1983, 1984–1990, 1997–1998, 2000–2001, 2002–2003, 2008–present)
  • Will Palmer – bass (2008–present)
  • Jimmy Martin – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2015–present)
  • Fredrik Jansson – drums (2016–present)

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Live albumsEdit

  • Angel Witch Live (1990)
  • 2000: Live at the LA2 (2000)
  • Angel of Death: Live at East Anglia Rock Festival (2006)
  • Burn the White Witch - Live in London (2009)

CompilationsEdit

  • Doctor Phibes (1986)
  • Screamin' Assault (1988)
  • Resurrection (1998)
  • Sinister History (1999)

Extended plays and singlesEdit

  • "Sweet Danger" [single] (1980)
  • Sweet Danger [EP] (1980)
  • "Angel Witch" [single] (1980)
  • "Loser" [single] (1981)
  • "Goodbye" [single] (1985)
  • They Wouldn't Dare [EP] (2004)
  • "Don't Turn Your Back" (single) (2019)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Macmillan, Malc (2005). The N.W.O.B.H.M. encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Berlin: I.P. Verlag Jeske/Mader GbR. p. 34. ISBN 3931624161.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 29. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  3. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  4. ^ Macmillan, Malc (2005). The N.W.O.B.H.M. encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Berlin: I.P. Verlag Jeske/Mader GbR. p. 35. ISBN 3931624161.
  5. ^ Jennifer Coleman (16 November 2010). "First Sophie Lancaster Stage Bands Revealed". Bloodstock.uk.com. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Veteran San Francisco Bay Area Metal Musician JON TORRES Dies". Blabbermouth.net. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Headliners and new stages: the DESERTFEST LONDON 2015 bill is almost complete! – The Heavy Chronicles". theheavychronicles.com. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Lineup 2018 Summer Dying Loud". summerdyingloud.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  9. ^ Kerrang! Rock Chart, Kerrang!, 4 September 2019, page 15.
  10. ^ "American Carnage [#64] – Feb 2010 | Decibel Magazine". 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 18 July 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Emerald Working On Song For Upcoming ANGEL WITCH Tribute Album". Bravewords.com. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Angel of Light by Angel Witch on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 6 November 2019.

External linksEdit