Rating:
6.0
Angel Witch - As Above, So Below
12 March 2012


01. Dead Sea Scrolls
02. Into The Dark
03. Geburah
04. The Horla
05. Witching Hour
06. Upon This Cord
07. Guillotine
08. Brainwashed


NWOBHM has to be one of the most depressing genres when it comes to looking at metal in a modern light. It's just overflowing with aged bands that really should retire, but still just won't stop putting out shit albums with naught but one member of the original line-up left. Both Tokyo Blade & Tygers Of Pan Tang still exist in some form or another. While this isn't as bad some should-be retirees (hell, how bad can it be with Bill Steer in your line up?), it's still not all that good.

It's an incredible album, actually; Angel Witch have managed to fuck with some time-paradox's and other such sciencey crap to make this album just drag before it even gets going. You'll be sitting there, mildly enjoying these ok, but slightly lazy, facile riffs, when you'll say to yourself "Well, that was fun, but I think we're done here." The only problem being, you're only halfway through the second track, then it hits you; you've got 40 more minutes of this to sit through, and these riffs ain't gettin' any more interesting.

Angel Witch seem to fluctuate a fair amount here; one moment, you'll be hearing some good ol' NWOBHM with integrity, the next, you'll swear you're hearing some amateur Italian power metal band. Songs like "Geburah" give the indication that As Above, So Below might pick things up a bit, but it just remains inconsistent. Lazy and amateurish is the best way to describe this album as a whole, despite having a small number of strong classic-sounding points. Either way, is shouldn't be the work of a band that sort of has 3-and-a-half decades of experience under its belt.

Honestly, people, the only thing going for this album is the name behind it. There's any number of younger bands doing playing this type of classic metal but with considerably more energy and conviction.


Band profile: Angel Witch
Album: As Above, So Below


 



Written on 18.04.2012 by
Doc Godin
Former EIC. Now just a reviewer guy.
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Marcel Hubregtse - 18.04.2012 at 17:55  
Agreed a totally boring album. But then go ask yourself how much really worthy stuff did Angel Witch actually record during the NWOBHM (it's actually an era in time and not a sound )? Just one album, their debut.
Amatsu Mikaboshi - 18.04.2012 at 18:39  
The second paragraph pretty much fulfilled how this was for me; "JUST SPEED THE FUCK UP!" was what I was thinking (same problem I've found ALOT with Megadeth or that last Anthrax).

But NO! The start, halfway and near end all sounded alike. Yet I really wanted to like this more than the other two, well I'll someday have it a second chance.
SamuelSanchezAlvarez - 18.04.2012 at 19:52  
Totally agreed with the review
Edmund Fogg - 18.04.2012 at 20:42  
Album title: Isn't that a Malmsteen song?
Dark Forever - 18.04.2012 at 20:49  
I just can't understand the user ratings for this album. Six 10's, two 9's, six 8's... I mean, wtf? I thought that even a die hard fan of NWOBHM would consider this weak compared to other albums of the genre. This is just plain boring and uninspired...
Troy Killjoy - 18.04.2012 at 20:50  
Written by Edmund Fogg on 18.04.2012 at 20:42
Album title: Isn't that a Malmsteen song?

It's a Hermetic phrase, and I wouldn't be surprised if a Metal-Archives search brought up hundreds of results.

I'm personally more familiar with Behemoth's take.
TrollandDie - 18.04.2012 at 21:37  
What pains me is that Bill Steer of Carcass is part of this.

This is a guy that was such an integral part of grindcore, melodeath and progressive music as a whole. To see him move from all this interesting material to a genre as redundant as NWOBHM is frustrating.

I'm just thinking of all the good extreme material that could have happened in the sixteen years since Swansong.
exus - 18.04.2012 at 23:45  
Aside from a pair of good tracks, the album does drag on a bit too much. It's somewhat progressive which may mean it requires another 2-3 spins to fully appreciate it, but after the initial listen I just didn't feel any urgency in the songs to make you get up and shove your fist in the air or so much as nod your head. I picked it up anyway, mainly because I'm a huge Angel Witch fan and the guys deserve the credit for their debut masterpiece. Also the artwork is pretty awesome.

It's important to note that Bill Steer did not play or contribute to the songwriting on this album. He is a full-time touring member of the band.
RavenKing - 19.04.2012 at 00:47  
"NWOBHM has to be one of the most depressing genres when it comes to looking at metal in a modern light. It's just overflowing with aged bands that really should retire, but still just won't stop putting out shit albums".

Could be easily extended to the entire traditional Heavy Metal genre.
R'Vannith - 19.04.2012 at 11:27  
Written by RavenKing on 19.04.2012 at 00:47

"NWOBHM has to be one of the most depressing genres when it comes to looking at metal in a modern light. It's just overflowing with aged bands that really should retire, but still just won't stop putting out shit albums".

Could be easily extended to the entire traditional Heavy Metal genre.


Slough Feg would like a word with you. But its undeniably true, in with the new out with the old as they say. Can't see why the old dogs can't have their fun though, sometimes they even produce something which reaches a broader audience than those firmly grounded in the 'outdated'.
That said this album is just painful.
deflektor - 19.04.2012 at 12:43  
Personally,i enjoyed it quite a lot,not that it's up on par to their first release but definitely better than the albums that followed. 7.6-7.8/10 for me .

as for the following statement
"NWOBHM has to be one of the most depressing genres when it comes to looking at metal in a modern light. It's just overflowing with aged bands that really should retire, but still just won't stop putting out shit albums".
the only problem being the fact that almost all have retired and from the ones left,most only do live performances and to the ones that still release new material we have the likes of Saxon,Hell,Pagan Altar...

btw if you change some of the words it will be a perfect fit for (traditional) thrash,(norwegian) black metal and other genres
Amatsu Mikaboshi - 09.10.2012 at 00:35  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.04.2012 at 17:55

Agreed a totally boring album. But then go ask yourself how much really worthy stuff did Angel Witch actually record during the NWOBHM (it's actually an era in time and not a sound )? Just one album, their debut.


I've only yesterday decide to re-listen to this and actually... enjoyed considerably more. The vocals are great for such a comeback as strong as the debut voice. The songs actually sounded alot more faster this time to which I can't even remember it being anywhere this technical or fast on first listen. They didn't seem to have as much expectation for my hearing this time, since I did spin the debut just before this again. Happier now and happier for them.
Dead In Hell - 11.07.2013 at 01:44  
You're all nuts. There's nothing wrong with this album. There is so much garbage in this wing of the genre these days, Angel Witch should be commended for the high quality of this release. It makes their contemporaries look like pushovers.

Firstly, the performances are stellar. Not only is Kevin Heybourne's guitar playing still phenomenal, the rhythm section is deft, propulsive, and perfectly fitting for the updated Angel Witch sound. As Above, So Below is easily better than both Screamin n Bleedin and Frontal Assault, two lame releases which have surprisingly high ratings on here. It's far closer to the spirit of their classic debut than any of their other releases, and a more appropriate continuation of their legacy. It's also a cut above other "comeback"/"reunion" albums that have cropped up of late. Even modern bands working in this and related genres are rarely this compelling. While some modern bands have tried to move forward with the trad/nwobhm style, they usually end up trading character for polish. On this album, Angel Witch strikes a rare balance between the old and new, recalling the glory days of their debut while still adding a modern edge to their sonic assault. And the songs are great, thoroughly compelling and highly memorable.

Dead Sea Scrolls, Into the Dark, Witching Hour, Brainwashed... If these don't do anything for you then you just might be a false metal goon. At the very least, you're looking in the wrong place for your music fix. Try a genre you actually like, maybe? As a fan of the band (and not an excruciating hipster pretending to be discerning) As Above, So Below is hugely satisfying.

It's sad that bands like Metallica and Black Sabbath can phone it in entirely and get an honorary 8/10 just for not recording St. Anger part 2, while a lesser name like Angel Witch can release a vastly superior album (Brainwashed - for example - decimates everything on Death Magnetic) and catch nothing but puerile whinging from hyper-critical nerds trying to be confused for someone with taste.
Boxcar Willy - 11.07.2013 at 02:19  
Written by Dead In Hell on 11.07.2013 at 01:44

false metal

You lost when you said this.
R'Vannith - 11.07.2013 at 04:18  
Written by Dead In Hell on 11.07.2013 at 01:44

It's also a cut above other "comeback"/"reunion" albums that have cropped up of late.


This goon and excruciating hipster would recommend Satan's comeback album to you. Sounds far more exciting than this one, different style of revived trad/NWOBHM but one I much prefer.
Marcel Hubregtse - 11.07.2013 at 11:42  
Written by R'Vannith on 11.07.2013 at 04:18

Written by Dead In Hell on 11.07.2013 at 01:44

It's also a cut above other "comeback"/"reunion" albums that have cropped up of late.


This goon and excruciating hipster would recommend Satan's comeback album to you. Sounds far more exciting than this one, different style of revived trad/NWOBHM but one I much prefer.



Yep, Satan's Life Sentence is vastly superior on all fronts.
Relistened As Above, So Below a couple of days ago and it remains a snoozefest with mediocre songs that just meander on and are a totally mid rtempo affair. Only two decent songs are Dead Sea Scorll and Guillotine, but then again Guillotine stems from the early Eighties when they already played that one live regularly but somehow never recorded it.
R'Vannith - 11.07.2013 at 18:29  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 11.07.2013 at 11:42

Written by R'Vannith on 11.07.2013 at 04:18

Written by Dead In Hell on 11.07.2013 at 01:44

It's also a cut above other "comeback"/"reunion" albums that have cropped up of late.


This goon and excruciating hipster would recommend Satan's comeback album to you. Sounds far more exciting than this one, different style of revived trad/NWOBHM but one I much prefer.



Yep, Satan's Life Sentence is vastly superior on all fronts.
Relistened As Above, So Below a couple of days ago and it remains a snoozefest with mediocre songs that just meander on and are a totally mid rtempo affair. Only two decent songs are Dead Sea Scorll and Guillotine, but then again Guillotine stems from the early Eighties when they already played that one live regularly but somehow never recorded it.


There's just no energy here at all, as the good Doc pointed out in the review. It's a snoozefest for me too unfortunately. Satan on the other hand have still got it.
ManiacBlasphemer - 07.01.2014 at 21:52  
Both Satan and Hell as well are still going strong. I was disappointed when I listened As Above, So Belov (damn, Behemoth title) but I kinda of see it in a different light now. With a couple of more listens, I actually enjoy it quite a bit.

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