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Angel Witch live 2010
|Origin||London, England, UK|
|Genres||Heavy metal, doom metal|
|Years active||1978–1981, 1982, 1984–1998, 2003–2005, 2008–present|
|Labels||EMI, Bronze, Killerwatt, Metal Blade, Rise Above, Crook'd|
|Associated acts||Exodus, Heathen, Lȧȧz Rockit, Blind Fury, Tytan|
Angel Witch are a British heavy metal band which formed in London, England in 1977 as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement. They are well known for having inspired Lars Ulrich to form Metallica.
The band was formed, originally under the name of Lucifer, and was initially composed of guitarist and vocalist Kevin Heybourne, guitarist Rob Downing, drummer Steve Jones, and bassist Barry Clements. Lucifer split and Steve Jones joined up with Bruce Dickinson to form Speed. The remnants of Lucifer became Angel Witch, with the exceptions of Barry, who was replaced by Kevin Riddles, and Steve Jones, who was replaced by Dave Hogg. 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 canceled, 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 British top charts. 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) meant they were listed as the 'least successful chart act of all time' in the Guinness book of records. This same feat was repeated by fellow NWOBHM group Grand Prix with their Keep On Believing 7" in 1983.
In 1980, Bronze Records picked up the band and they soon proceeded to record and release their debut album, self-titled Angel Witch. This album is considered one of the most notable from the new wave of British heavy metal, 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 was brought back 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. This line-up recorded the album Screamin' N' Bleedin'. Dave Hogg was sacked yet again, but not without many snide remarks from the band's fans. He was replaced by Spencer Hollman. With the new drummer they recorded Frontal Assault, which deviated heavily from Angel Witch's previous albums, having many melodic elements.
Dave Tattum was sacked 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.
Heybourne decided that it would be of 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 USA. 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.
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 full-length studio album, entitled "As Above, So Below". It was recorded with Kevin Heybourne in 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.
One-time Angel Witch bassist Jon Torres died on 3 September 2013 of a reported heart failure. He was 51 years old.
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, 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), 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).
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 3 full-length releases.
- Kevin Heybourne – vocals, guitars (1977–1982, 1984–1998, 2000–present)
- Will Palmer – bass (2009–present)
- Jimmy Martin – guitars (2015–present)
- Fredrik Jansson – drums (2016–present)
- Steve Coleman - drums (1977-1978)
- Roger Marsden – vocals (1982)
- Dave Tattum – vocals (1984–1986)
- Rob Downing – guitars (1978)
- The German – guitars (1979)
- Grant Dennison – guitars (1989–1990)
- Doug Piercy – guitars (1990–1992)
- Lee Altus – guitars (1993–1995)
- Chris Fullard – (2009 - 2010)
- Myk Taylor – guitars (1996–1998; died 2003)
- Keith Herzberg – guitars (2000–2002)
- Kevin "Skids" Riddles – bass, keyboards (1978–1981)
- Jerry Cunningham – bass (1982)
- Pete Gordelier – bass (1984–1987)
- Jon Torres – bass (1989–1990; died 2013)
- Richie Wicks – bass (2000–2002)
- Dave Hogg – drums (1978–1980, 1984–1985)
- Dave Dufort – drums (1980–1981)
- Ricky Bruce – drums (1982)
- Spencer Holman – drums (1984–1986)
- Tom Hunting – drums (1990–1993)
- Darren Minter – drums (1994–1998)
- Scott Higham – drums (2000–2002)
- Bill Steer – guitars (2010–2014)
- Andy Prestidge – drums (2009–2015)
- Tom Draper – guitars (2013–2015)
- 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)
- Doctor Phibes (1986)
- Screamin' Assault (1988)
- Resurrection (1998)
- Sinister History (1999)
Extended plays & singles
- "Sweet Danger" [single] (1980)
- Sweet Danger [EP] (1980)
- "Angel Witch" [single] (1980)
- "Loser" [single] (1981)
- "Goodbye" [single] (1985)
- They Wouldn't Dare [EP] (2004)
- Macmillan, Malc (2005). The N.W.O.B.H.M. encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Berlin: I.P. Verlag Jeske/Mader GbR. p. 34. ISBN 3931624161.
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- "Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
- Macmillan, Malc (2005). The N.W.O.B.H.M. encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Berlin: I.P. Verlag Jeske/Mader GbR. p. 35. ISBN 3931624161.
- Jennifer Coleman (16 November 2010). "First Sophie Lancaster Stage Bands Revealed". www.bloodstock.uk.com. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Veteran San Francisco Bay Area Metal Musician JON TORRES Dies". www.blabbermouth.net. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Headliners and new stages: the DESERTFEST LONDON 2015 bill is almost complete! – The Heavy Chronicles". theheavychronicles.com. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "Lineup 2018 Summer Dying Loud". summerdyingloud.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "American Carnage [#64] – Feb 2010 | Decibel Magazine". 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
- "Emerald Working On Song For Upcoming ANGEL WITCH Tribute Album". www.bravewords.com. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Angel Witch - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives". www.metal-archives.com. Retrieved 2018-03-22.