Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest review of As Above, So Below by Angel Witch written by The Left Hand Creation bassist Rob Holden

I would just like to take the time to introduce a guest reviewer that is helping me out by bringing you a more in depth look at some of the albums I will be reviewing. Rob Holden is the bassist of Oshawa, Ontario based metal band Left Hand Creation. They combine all types of metal and make it their own with brutal riffs and gut wrenching vocals. You can like their page here and you should show some support for local bands!

1. Dead Sea Scrolls
2. Into the Dark
3. Geburah
4. The Horla
5. Witching Hour
6. Upon This Cord
7. Guillotine
8. Brainwashed

"As Above, So Below” is Angel Witch’s fourth studio album, 26 long years after their last studio effort “Frontal Assault”. With the Band starting as early as 1977, Angel Witch became one of the front-runners of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal alongside bands like Iron Maiden; however, due to complications within the band, Angel Witch was forced to go on a semi-permanent hiatus. Original Member, Kevin Heybourne (Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter), picked up the charred remains and reformed the band with Will Palmer on Bass, Andrew Prestige on Drums, and added Bill Steer of Carcass on live guitar duties for additional godliness. 

According to a recent press release, 4 of the 8 tracks on “As Above, So Below” were written in their earlier era’s; including “Dead Sea Scrolls” and “Witching Hour” written back in 1983, as well as “Guillotine” and “Into The Dark” which were written even earlier on in their career. 

The first track, “Dead Sea Scrolls”, is a very groove oriented galloper, with an interesting intro that starts off at a mid-pace and slows and slows, until breaking into the main triplet riff of the song (and very classic  to Early Heavy Metal). Vocal Styling’s are certainly an important aspect of the music, as the guitar riffs are repetitive, but never lose your attention. Remember, this is metal from an era where catchiness was more important than progression. “Into The Dark “ is a classic guitar player’s song, with simple hooks and catchy grooves. Kevin Heybourne’s solo in this song is nothing short of spectacular and more than relevant and well placed. “Geburah”, the third track, was written nearly 30 years after the last two tracks, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell. It has all the makings of a classic heavy metal tune. “The Horla” slows things down and plays on the border of being named a terrific, but sappy ballad. In fact, the only thing keeping it from being a ballad is the last 2 minutes, in which Angel Witch throw down a thrashier outro than Metallica’s “Am I Evil”. Placed perfectly, because the “Witching Hour” (next track) is also a thrashy masterpiece. “Upon This Chord” is a great tune, but is not spectacularly different from the rest of the album, and “Guillotine” is nothing short of an incredible “motorcycle rock” tune. “Brainwashed” is the last track on the album, and is my favorite. This song gets my blood flowing (as a headbanger) more so than any other track on the album, and I think is a perfect outro to the heavy metal masterpiece that is “As Above, So Below”.

The strengths on this album are quite obviously the guitar work and vocal stylings of Kevin Heybourne, as well as the classic heavy metal songwriting in which we have the opportunity to relive through “As Above, So Below”. For fans of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, this album is a must have. For fans of classic heavy metal, it is not the album of the year, but it is definitely worth picking up.

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