AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
Released March 27, 2012 (Metal Blade)
01. Dead Sea Scrolls
02. Into The Dark
04. The Horla
05. Witching Hour
06. Upon This Cord
Kevin Heybourne – vocals and guitar
Bill Steer – guitar
Will Palmer – bass
Andrew Prestiedge – drums
Produced by Jaime Gomez Arellano.
‘Witch Hunters’ rejoice — Angel Witch is back and as loud as ever. Bringing their creative take on NWBHM, Angel Witch has released the best heavy metal album of 2012 so far. It’s true that 26 years is a long drought to go without adding anything new to your catalogue, and it’s also true that when bands try to make a comeback onto the ‘scene’ they usually suffer from symptoms such as sounding forced, un-creative, over-inflated, and laughably dated — think Foreigner perhaps? But I am very proud to say good ole Angel Witch does not suffer from any of these symptoms, quite the contrary — the ‘Witch’ reverses time and takes the listener on a road trip back to a time of leather pants and denim jackets.
As Above, So Below works so well in the first place because the ‘Witch’ refuses to try too much, too fast. This symptom of overexertion is most prevalent in comeback albums from bands such as Fastway and UFO, who try to make up for all the years they skimped with rehashed sound bites of a lost era. Angel Witch, however, doesn’t cram too much into As Above, So Below. The album includes eight epic metal songs in classic tradition and each individual track stands on its own to be judged because of its over 5-minute runtime. Angel Witch takes their time on this album and do not let 26 years slow them down one bit. Even though some tracks had been demos from their ’80s back catalogue, the band revise and structure the songs so ornately that the listener would never be able to tell which songs were the demos. Only a band as seasoned as Angel Witch would be able to pull that off.
And the unsung guitar hero known as Kevin Heybourne is back to grace us with his astoundingly good guitar picking, dark lyrics, and emotional vocals which fill all Angel Witch albums. Heybourne surrounds himself with new musicians this time around in the form of Will Palmer on bass, Bill Steer on guitar, and Andrew Prestidge on the skins. Possibly the most amazing aspect of As Above, So Below is just how well these guys mesh together to form a cohesive whole of classic metal goodness. By now, I probably shouldn’t have to tell you how good the eight songs really are — I believe that should be an adventure you take by yourself once you purchase this fine work. All I want to say is “Brainwashed” is possibly the greatest Angel Witch song in existence and should be forever played in a live setting.
So what are you waiting for? Pick up As Above, So Below this very moment and see for yourself how a comeback album should sound, how heavy metal should sound… and how 2012 should sound. Refuse to be “Brainwashed” any longer my friends.
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Reviewed by Ryan Krol for Sleaze Roxx, March 2012