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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
ANGEL WITCH/GRAND MAGUS/IN SOLITUDE
The Garage, London
Angel Witch were one of the forerunners of the NWOBHM scene and released their eponymous debut in 1980. Although Angel Witch divided opinion the debut has since became an occult cult classic for many doom Metal enthusiasts and some thirty years later original member Kevin Heybourne returns with a well knowledgeable younger hungry band ready to put the name back to where it belongs. The new album, 'As Above, So Below' lives up to the legendary status that the name deserves.
They certainly had their work cut out tonight with two support acts from Sweden taking a breather from the Amon Amarth tour to play especially for this one off show. In Solitude had an early Mercyful Fate sound mixed with the fast elements of Black Sabbath. The PA was almost as dead as the fox around Pelle Ahman's neck but for those early through the doors were treated to a fine darky and doomy set.
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Grand Magus are a power Metallic trio who could've easily been headliners in their own right as they had the whole of the Garage behind them playing such great titles such as 'Like The Oar That Strikes The Water' with good crowd interaction and 'Hammer Of The North', Viking Metal at it's best, the ante was upped for the rejuvenated Angel Witch.
Any pre-show nerves were soon banished as Angel Witch launched into 'Dead Sea Scrolls' the opening track from the new opus 'As Above, So Below', one of three new songs played tonight that were originally demoed three decades ago but brought back to life by this energised band that played with enthusiasm and vigour.
Kevin Heybourne comfortably plays great duel guitar work with live band member Bill Steer. The rhythm section of bassist Will Palmer and drummer Andy Prestidge are solid as a cauldron.
'White Witch', 'Atlantis' and 'Baphomet' have never sounded better and a great instrumental workout of the old B-Side 'Dr Phibes' works well. The rarely performed 'Free Man' is a highlight sounding like a cross between Sabbath and Skynyrd which segues into the menacing 'Angel Of Death'.
Ending with the eponymous anthem 'Angel Witch' we walked out onto the streets that were full of Highbury like football hooligans with cries of "You're an Angel Witch, you're an Angel Witch".
The injection and passion of the new members has lifted Angel Witch to a much higher level than that of the many other NWOBHM ghosts that are left behind playing in bar sized venues.
Watching tonight's packed out show it was easy to see where bands like Megadeth progressed from. The music of Angel Witch is as relevant now as it was thirty years ago.
This was Metal for muthas alright. A glorious night of Metal bridging the generation gap.
We Were Never Here
The World, The Flesh, The Devil
To Her Darkness
On Burning Paths
Like When The Oar Strikes The Water
Silver Into Steel
I, The Jury
Hammer Of The North
Dead Sea Scrolls
Into The Dark
Angel Of Death