Angel Witch - As Above, So Below
Rise Above
NWOBHM
8 songs (50:29)
Release year: 2012
Rise Above
Reviewed by Stefan
Major event

Considering the facts (first album since 1986, Kevin Heybourne as the only remaining member of any 80’s line-ups and an obvious, if minor, shift in musical priorities), one should not expect Angel Witch’s fourth album, As Above So Below, to be anything but a brand new start from a brand new band or meet with a disappointing experience while playing it.

That said, As Above So Below is a damn good surprise, a true good old school Heavy Metal blow with just what’s needed of modernity and newly acquired elements (the best production Angel Witch has ever had, a little something doomesque adding a melancholic touch to most songs, the discreet but so efficiently texturing keyboard parts) to keep the listener interested throughout the 50 minutes of the album, to update an old creature's sound without changing everything. Of course, Kevin Heybourne’s vocals have aged quite a bit and he seldom recaptures the sheer energy he once displayed but, clever as he is, he evidently chose to concentrate on mid-ranged vocals where he feels more secure with his 2012’s abilities. In all honesty, one has to say that, though the singing is beyond reproach, Kevin’s vocal range can be a tad monotonous in the long run and that the addition of a younger, wider-ranged vocalist would have certainly benefited an otherwise classy album. Because, guess what?, the songs are great! From the opening epic mid-tempo (Dead Sea Scrolls), Heybourne shows he can still craft damn good tunes, something we could have had doubts about considering how long he’s been away from the scene. No, Kevin still has it as displayed on the Deep-Purplian Into the Dark, some back-to-the-roots trademark AW kind of songs (Gebura, Witching Hour) or a very nice epic doom faux-ballad (The Horla). Almost every time, he hits the target’s heart which is not really surprising when, memory duly processed, one realizes a good half of the material in fact is a clever and well-crafted recycling of old favorites or obscure leftovers.

Whatever, this will not spoil the pleasure of seeing Angel With, the most underappreciated band in the whole glorious NWOBHM, finally getting back to business with, ô joy!, an album worthy of its legend even he doesn’t even come close to the grandeur of the band’s legendary debut. And it’s good to see that old geezer Heybourbe and his two new companions slapping our asses so efficiently.

A welcomed return… Let’s hope it won’t be a one shot.

Killing Songs :
Dead Sea Scrolls, Into the Dark, Gebura, The Horla, Witching Hour
Stefan quoted 81 / 100
Olivier quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Angel Witch that we have reviewed:
Angel Witch - Angel Witch reviewed by Olivier and quoted CLASSIC
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