With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

ANGEL WITCH, Enforcer, Age Of Taurus @Institute Library 9/11/12

It must be hard for Angel Witch. In 1980 they were contemporaries – and genuine rivals of – Iron Maiden. Their self-titled debut album was better received than Maiden’s too.

Then they disappeared. Aborted attempts at comebacks saw three albums released in over 20 years before they drafted in guitarist extraordinaire, Bill Steer and released “As Above, So Below” in 2012.The sad truth is, though, that however good “As Above…” is the gig going public hasn’t caught on and there are barely 60 people in attendance tonight.

Indeed there are considerably less than this when London’s Age of Taurus hit the stage to bring the so-called “Live Evil Tour” to an opening. All of which is a tremendous shame as quite frankly the band are brilliant.

Displaying the type of stoner rock grooves to put them in the Orange Goblin bracket, Taurus’s is a stunningly powerful sound. Songs like “Desperate Souls Of Tortured Times,” “Sinking City” and set closer “The Bull And The Bear” are all built on huge riffs and are all uniformly excellent. Their debut album is out next year and we urge you to check them out.

Set against this power, Sweden’s Enforcer are, well, a little bit weedy. No matter, though as the Earache signed band are not here to compete, merely to have a good time with their NWOBHM style grooves. By no means a joke like the godawful shit of Steel Panther, but the likes of “Midnight Bite” aren’t to be taken too seriously either. The title track of most recent album “Diamonds” and best song “Katana” remind us that heavy metal can be about fun too.

That Angel Witch chose to begin with new song “Dead Sea Scrolls” is telling. They are not here to indulge in mere history, they still have something relevant to say. Now with just one original member (singer/guitarist Kevin Heybourne) in the ranks, they clearly want to look to the future.

There is, though, a heavy bias towards the debut album in the 75 minute set and when songs like “White Witch” and “Atlantis” are being played you really do get a sense of how special and revered that this band could – and perhaps should – have been.

The addition of Steer to the 2012 version is masterstroke. He has proved with Firewind and Gentlemen’s Pistols that he has a gift for 70s sounding metal and so it proves again. It would be easy perhaps for the band to go through the motions given the lack of crowd and some bitterness at the way their career has gone, but not a bit of it. Instead they give a fine performance.

If the one thing it lacked was some real connection between the stage and the crowd even that is redeemed by the end as the song gave the group its name is delightedly chanted around the room.
Angel Witch might have missed the boat in terms of making themselves household names, but it looks like they are happy enough in the role of NWOBHM metal’s largely unheralded gem.

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