Last night I went to the 2017 Decibel Tour (Kreator, Obituary, Midnight, Horrendous, and in Denver, Blood Incantation) and in between bands all night they were playing old NWOBHM. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, the classics, some would say. The crowd was really getting into it and it became like NWOBHM karaoke as “Run to the Hills” played right before Kreator took the stage. It reminded me that I have a whole pile of NWOBHM albums that I’ve always meant to explore but just haven’t. So here’s one of them.
Angel Witch. I know, this is probably a classic album, but I’ve never heard it before so it fits with the blog’s theme, which is discovering music, so calm down. Not being totally familiar with a lot of NWOBHM outside the main bands mentioned above, and a few next tier bands, I’m not sure how Angel Witch compares with the rest but this album is fucking all sorts of awesome. I can see now why it’s considered a classic.
To my surprise, it’s not as “metal” as I was expecting it to be. I mean, yeah, it’s metal for the time, but not on like a Judas Priest, Maiden level, which is actually refreshing. It’s nice to be able to hear a band that is considered classic, over 30 years old, and still sound refreshing and unique. I love the more rock n’ roll centric swagger that’s going on here and the more uplifting vibe. Even more somber songs like “Free Man” (which fucking rules) has a dynamic power to it keeping it from being to ballad-y or dreary. Could be that killer solo too. But there is a level of darkness as well. Heavy darkness. I’m not sure how many metal bands prior to this (aside from Sabbath) really delved into these sorts of sinister themes (witches, satan, death). It’s an interesting juxtaposition between that rock swing and the darker metal aspects.
It’s also interesting to hear these bands out of context, years later and hear the riffs stolen from them or the influence they’ve had on other bands. I swear there’s a riff in one of these songs that Danzig stole and turned into a career.
But yeah, this is fucking NWOBHM mastery. I’m sorry it took me so long to hear this. Don’t make the same mistake as me!