Friday, September 26, 2008


Old Metal

Through most of the 1980's Witch were a fixture of the LA metal/hard scene and were known for their hard hitting songs and wild live show. They opened for the likes of WASP, Grim Reaper, Loudness, Exciter and others. Plus acts such as Slayer, Lizzy Borden, Poison and Stryper all opened for Witch at one time or another. The only thing that escaped this band was unfortunately a record deal as they had interest over the years from Metal Blade, Atlantic and others, but for one reason or another they never got signed. However they did self-release an EP and a twelve inch single plus they recorded a few other songs for demos and other purposes. So all of those plus more are presented in this package which includes twenty tracks in all. The first five tracks are "The Hex is on" EP from 1984, but this is actually the version that was on the French version that was on Axe Killer records. The difference between this and the US version that I am used to is that the track order is different and the mix is actually louder and a bit more sharp. The sound here was solid metal not far off from early WASP or Lizzy Borden. Later on in the disc we get "Blond Alert" which was originally intended for "The Hex is on", but was left off and that's a shame because it's very heavy for them and it would have fit nicely with the other songs on the EP. We get the two tracks from the 1987 "Nobody sleeps" twelve inch and the band had changed guitarists by this point. The direction is a little different, "Can't take our rock" reminds me of a cross between Twisted Sister and some of Dio's lighter material while "Victory without pain" is far more melodic, but Peter Wabitt's thick vocals help elevate it a little. "1:45" is a moderately heavy track that was recorded in 1989 for a compilation that was released a year later. The last two studio tracks are "Take me away" and "Hit the road" which were recorded in 1988 and these demos were shopped around to various labels in 88-89. By this point the band was back to their classic line-up and although these tracks are not as heavy as the earlier material they might actually be tighter. The other nine tracks on the album are live songs recorded between 1983 and 1984. The quality on these songs vary from extremely rough to okay. The earliest tracks are really raw and difficult hear while the last three live tracks which are all "The Hex is on" material probably fare the best. These live tracks do afford fans the chance to hear some originals that they didn't do on their albums as well a pair of cover songs including Black Sabbath's The Mob Rules. The booklet includes a brief band history, photos, background on the songs and reproductions of some vintage fliers. The live songs are not the best, but the studio tracks are more than enough to satisfy and they show the talent that this band had. It's a shame they didn't get signed and have a chance to do more two decades ago because there is no doubt they had the sound, the look and the personality to get somwehere yet it never happened for them. However we do get this solid collection and the band is together again so who knows they may yet get their chance to do a full length album of original songs.

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